Insights for Your Future – kununu Uses Employee and Applicant Reviews to Provide Job Seekers with Clear Employment Expectations

Insights for Your Future – kununu Uses Employee and Applicant Reviews to Provide Job Seekers with Clear Employment Expectations
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Adam West
By: Adam West
Posted: April 20, 2018
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In a Nutshell: When searching for a job, it’s tough to anticipate what a company’s hiring process and culture will be like. Designed to bridge this information gap, kununu minimizes the guesswork by providing a platform for past and present employees to share their thoughts on more than 300,000 companies. With exceptionally detailed and balanced company pages, kununu reviews include 18 different categories and allow reviewers to add text responses. On the flip side, companies can claim their kununu pages to respond to reviews and interact with prospective employees. These open lines of communication help job seekers gain better insights into organizations and find companies that best meet their personal needs.

Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard wrote, “It is perfectly true, as the philosophers say, that life must be understood backwards. But they forget the other proposition, that it must be lived forwards.”

What Kierkegaard thought of life in the late 19th century is true of the job market in the mid-21st. When applying and interviewing for positions, we often only see what a company wants prospective employees to see; only after being hired do we get an accurate perspective on the company’s culture and operations.

That’s precisely the situation Martin and Mark Poreda encountered when they started new jobs at different organizations. Within a few weeks, each realized that the companies they were working for were not at all what they’d expected. But instead of despairing, the Poreda brothers were inspired by their experiences.

“They decided together that they were going to create a platform that helps job seekers really have a more transparent journey to trying to find their next — or the best — job possible,” said Moritz Kothe, CEO of kununu, which the Poreda brothers founded in 2007.

kununu Logo

The idea behind kununu is simple: if you had the benefit of firsthand experience, you could be more discerning when seeking a job. The site allows people with that firsthand experience to share their opinions and concerns with people considering applying to or working for a given company. This way, job seekers will have more insight and be able to make the best possible employment decision.

Founded in Vienna, Austria, kununu came to the United States in 2016. “In that two-year period, we have almost 600,000 reviews on around 300,000 different organizations,” Kothe said. “Overall, globally, we have 2.5 million reviews.”

This sort of breadth and scope makes kununu a helpful resource for acquiring real-world insight into a company before applying or accepting a position with it.

Transparency Helps Job Seekers Discover Opportunities

Foremost, kununu is open and accessible to all job seekers.

“You don’t have to leave a review in order to see content. You don’t have to log in,” Kothe said. “It’s all open and essentially there for anyone to search.”

Users can create an account and follow specific organizations, but neither is necessary for them to view information and reviews.

On a company’s kununu page, job seekers can see its average rating (from one to five stars) based on employee reviews, and they can see what percentage of reviewers recommend working at a company. The company may provide an overview piece for its page, expressing its voice and vision to prospective employees.

“They can share what they think is important to a candidate, what they’re really looking for in someone to work for their organization,” Kothe said. “They have the opportunity to open up as a company.”

Users can filter companies by star rating, benefits offered, geographic location, and 43 industry categories. This makes it easy for job seekers to find a company in their field, get a feel for its attitude and business culture, and see how it compares to others. But, most importantly, users can read reviews from employees — past and present — and learn about the company from the inside.

Employee and Applicant Reviews Offer Deeper Perspective

The employee reviews you’ll find on kununu are different from those on other company review sites. Employees are asked to rate organizations on 18 distinct dimensions, including company culture, gender equality, and work-life balance, giving kununu reviews an uncommon level of detail.

Portrait of Moritz Kothe, CEO of kununu

Moritz Kothe, CEO of kununu, told us the platform gives employees and employers an additional layer of transparency during the hiring process.

“We really think that these 18 come together to make what would be an optimal work environment for someone,” Kothe said.

Employees can add a text response to their review, supplementing their formal ratings with a more qualitative evaluation. The scope kununu enables allows employees to provide comprehensive and balanced critiques. They can often reveal an organization’s shortcomings, but they also ensure that its strengths are emphasized.

Going beyond the traditional employee review, kununu lets applicants review a company they’ve interviewed with, shedding light on hiring processes. Obviously, these are more limited than employee reviews, since an applicant can’t assess things like workplace environment or support from management; applicant reviews have a different emphasis entirely.

“It really focuses on your experience going through the process,” Kothe said. “Who did you talk to? What kind of questions did you answer?”

If an applicant becomes an employee, they can add that information to kununu. Each company’s page shows what percentage of applicant reviewers were hired. Later, after they have some time and experience with the organization, they can add a full employee review. The platform takes care to cull certain types of suspicious reviews, such as those that give a company low ratings across the board and provide no explanation for doing so.

“Those immediately get flagged, and it’s actually manually reviewed on our backend, by someone in our organization,” Kothe said. “And then we decide whether it ultimately gets published or not.”

Unless a review is extremely negative, derogatory, or offensive, it will become a permanent entry on the company’s page. These evaluations give future job seekers a full spectrum of valid opinions of a potential employer.

Open Communication Lets Organizations Respond to Reviews and Engage Prospects

While kununu is helpful to job seekers, it is far from a one-way street.

“We have a program where the appropriate person at an organization can go on kununu and claim their company profile,” Kothe said. “That means they have access to respond to reviews, answer questions and be alerted to new reviews published.”

This is the first step to becoming one of kununu’s Open Companies, which are identified by a badge on the company page. It signifies the company encourages employees to submit reviews, responds to their comments, and offers workplace transparency.

“They can show they’re listening and that they’re going to try and make improvements by implementing suggestions made via the reviewers,” Kothe said.

Encouraging open communication, kununu recently introduced a Questions tab. This feature lets job seekers make anonymous inquiries when, for example, they’re unsure who in the company to address, or if they feel uncomfortable asking a question via email or as part of an interview.

“It’s a different way for them to be open about the true questions they have, and they get answers from the organization that way, as well,” Kothe said. “That’s why we really try to get as many companies to be Open Companies with us. We want to give them access to answer and understand what’s really top-of-mind for the job seekers.”

These open lines of communication help job seekers gain a better understanding of the companies they’re interested in working for. And, just as importantly, it helps those companies gain valuable insight into applicant’s and employee’s thoughts, helping everyone enjoy a more satisfactory work environment.

A New Angle on Employment Decisions

The outside perspective kununu provides is a valuable asset to any company.

“We did a study with another organization that looks at internal surveys,” Kothe said. “Let’s say a company gets a four-star rating on an internal survey. That survey, externally, is going to be half a star or more lower than what that internal rating was.”

Kothe said this is because even current employees are more critical on external than internal reviews.

“Companies really need to understand that, just because they have really close to a five-star rating internally, doesn’t mean that everybody sees it that way,” he said.

This external feedback can be extremely helpful to organizations striving to attract talent. Reviews and ratings forewarn job seekers of an organization’s shortcomings, but it also helps those organizations recognize the areas where they can improve.

By opening the lines of productive communication, kununu helps people find the jobs they really want, and it promotes a more positive and mindful overall employment ecology.