Call me crazy, but when I first came across this site and started browsing through it, I swear I heard a deep announcer’s voice in the background saying: “In the world of cyberspace, noone can hide…” is one of the growing number of websites (another popular one is designed to “level the playing field” and give job candidates the chance to read about companies, and their cultures, before deciding to work for them.  It allows people to anonymously post comments regarding their experience working for any given company, in addition to rating their current or past employers in various areas such as pay, respect, work/life balance, career growth potential, and co-worker competence.  Are these ratings scientifically valid?  Obviously not.  Are they likely to be more negative than positive?  No question about it, given that most people visit these types of sites to complain, not to throw compliments around and pat companies on the back.  And yet, Jobvent’s data shouldn’t be taken lightly, since they appear to do a good job at removing any company reviews that appear blindly hateful or where the person submitting the review does not justify their ratings in any way.

At present, Jobvent appears to have at least several hundred reviews related to employers in the Puget Sound area, and one of the things I like about this site, compared to others, is that you can easily sort the reviews by the city and state where each company is located.  Additionally, it’s nice that all of the content of the site is easy to access and free of charge.  You don’t have to submit any reviews yourself in order to read what others have to say, unlike, where you can only access a limited amount of content as a casual visitor. This makes it easy to use the tool as a routine part of your pre-interview or pre-negotiation research, where it can be extremely valuable in avoiding hidden land mines and making sure that you ask all the right due diligence questions before accepting an offer.

As for the overall role of these types of sites in today’s marketplace?  Barring some cataclysmic change, they’re here to stay, and job seekers should embrace them as one more way to investigate an employer before deciding to sign on the bottom line.  Used properly, and taken with a grain of salt, they can help people avoid organizations that might not be doing business on the up-and-up or where a particular corporate culture might not be an appropriate fit.  It also seems only fair that candidates should have access to these kinds of tools, too, given how much information companies are able to demand about the background of a potential employee before hiring them.