Employer Branding

Does America Need Another Employer Review Site?

When most HR teams think about employer reviews, one certain website springs to mind.

However in Germany, there is another site that dominates the market. This site is now launching in America. We’ve had a chat with Moritz Koethe of kununu to find out more.

Everyone knows of Glassdoor, why do we need kununu?

I don’t know where that fact derives from, because all the knowledge that I have is that people start job searches using Google. Typically what people do is, whenever they look for a job or whenever they look to find insights on certain companies, they would always use Google, and then in certain countries of this world, people will end up using Glassdoor and then accessing their site. But there are tons of other sources to find insights on what it’s like to work at certain places. You can ask your friends, you can ask friends that might know somebody that works there. But even when you use Google, you will find our content, you will find Glassdoor’s content, and the content of other review platforms.

If you then compare our service to a service like Glassdoor, one thing that’s very unique about us is that we really try to help people understand what it’s like to work there. We get reviews and ask 18 questions on certain employers or any employers, whereas other review sites only ask 5 questions and try to describe workplaces along 5 dimensions. Plus you can’t really access the content, you have to log in with your Facebook credentials

From a user perspective, our USP is that we are really genuine about helping them, and that we really care, and that’s what every user will find when looking at our service.

kununu was acquired by XING in 2013, what prompted you to launch in the US now?

XING is 100%-focused on the DACH region, so Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. When you look at kununu, and when you look at all the people out there that are trying to live a better work life, and trying to fight for a better workplace, and make better job decisions, we felt that there’s nobody really solving that problem for job seekers, and that’s anywhere in the world. Then we looked at what are the natural first steps to go abroad? And given that we can’t leverage XING as a partner in the U.S., we teamed up with Monster Worldwide, the job board. We found that the U.S. entity has a joint venture with Monster, and are expanding here hand-in-hand with them.

Do you have a system in place for verifying reviews?

No, we don’t have a system like this in place, what we do know is that people really care about being anonymous when leaving reviews. So, whilst employers are upset, and people that are looking for workplace insights really would love to know who left the reviews, we find that people really want to be anonymous when leaving true workplace insights. However, we have ideas on how we can work towards finding an even better balance between verifying some users, whilst leaving the opportunity for others to not be verified.

We have a lot of companies that approach us and try to force us to take down certain perspectives that people left on certain employers. We don’t put anything live that’s personally offending. So, whenever somebody would write about a person and write something that is offending, that wouldn’t go live. But we really feel that every opinion is valid, and we don’t take anything down just because we are being approached to take something down because somebody feels that’s not appropriate or accurate.

What company has the highest score on kununu?

I don’t know it from the top, our use case is typically for companies or for job seekers to really research what it’s like at certain employers, and I wouldn’t want to focus on a score that’s top there. The use case is for job seekers to understand what it’s like to work there, and the overall score is not the most important part. What’s important is for every individual to understand what it’s like, and the pros and cons, and it’s not about what’s top-and-flop. We try to deliver workplace insights that matter. So, I’m not willing to answer that question because it’s not how I look at kununu.

It’s a war for talent out there, but if you see it that way, and if you only fight for high scores, then you don’t understand the concept of transparency. That’s just the wrong way of looking at it.

By Jörgen Sundberg

Founder of Undercover Recruiter & CEO of Link Humans, home of The Employer Brand Index.