Reverse reference: what others say about your potential employer

I have a friend who  changed jobs four times last year. You might think that there must be something wrong with her. Did she get fired? No. Why did she leave then? Because she couldn’t find her match.

Applying for jobs is a bit like online dating. You go on a site where you can see a long list of ‘potential matches’. Some you swipe past immediately, others catch your eye. And then there might be one or two that look appealing, so you  click ‘apply’.

Stop here.

Before you spend at least a couple of hours going through the process, have you actually considered if THIS IS YOUR MATCH?

Yes, you say. Of course. I checked out the website, looked up their Facebook profile. The graduates in the pictures seem to enjoy working there, and the office looks really cool.

But do you actually know what these graduates REALLY THINK about working there?

That’s where reverse reference checking comes in handy. Why?

Because what others say about working for the organisation (and by this I don’t mean a fancy promo video on the employer’s website) might be a better reflection of the workplace than elaborate recruitment campaigns many graduate employers roll out during grad recruitment season. It’s not to say that these campaigns are not true, but we all know that their goal is to…promote their workplace to future employees.

What you get from reverse reference checking is an opportunity to get a SELECTION OF OPINIONS.

Okay, you say, but where do I find them?

GradAustralia Inside Buzz -although this is an Australian-based resource, lots of organisations listed there also offer graduate employment in New Zealand. The information is collected via surveys sent out to graduate employees and claims to present ‘an honest opinion of what they really think about their employer’.

Glassdoor – by far the most well-known employee review website, with over 800 companies listed in New Zealand. Here you will find plenty of comments about some of the most popular graduate employers like Intergen, Xero, Spark, Orion Health, Fonterra, ANZ,  KPMG, Datacom, EY…the list goes on. The reviews are broken into ‘pros’ and ‘cons’ so you get to see both sides of the coin. Requires sign up to see detail but it’s free.

Indeed – allows you to see employer reviews with vacancy listings. Not as comprehensive as the previous two, but a good way to get another opinion on an employer.

Rate My Company – a New Zealand specific site with a number of local and national employer reviews. – Offers ratings with optional comments, and is entirely anonymous.


Or go completely old-school and ask around. New Zealand is a small place, and there will likely be a friend of a friend who has worked for that employer who seems to be the ‘perfect match’ for you…

Join the conversation! 2 Comments

  1. Thanks for the link to my site – I just wanted to point out you can leave comments as well on the site, it is not compulsory however. A great article!



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Career advice, Graduate jobs, Job application, Looking for work, Miscellaneous