In times of Facebook, Instagram, and Co. we are used to evaluate products, people, or content overall quickly and without much effort. A simple click on the “Like”-button – poof, everyone can see that I agree with the content presented.

Employer evaluation portals are useful to us

Thanks to Yelp or Google ratings, going to the doctor or restaurant becomes a test procedure and I put check marks or crosses on my expectation list. In the end I make a verdict: 5 stars for “Everything great!”, 1 star for “catastrophe” – 0 stars cannot be awarded, how gracious! But let’s be honest, even 3 stars are only mediocrity and nobody is satisfied with mediocrity.

The urge to evaluate has also arrived in the working world. Employer evaluation portals such as Glassdoor, and Kununu are firmly established components of the Candidate Experience. They offer space for (ex-)employees and candidates to publicly share their collected impressions of a company.

Of course, TÜV Rheinland is also subject to these assessments. And that’s a good thing, because we gain important information from these contributions. The anonymity of the Internet encourages critics to speak openly and honestly about their experiences and provide feedback. This constructive criticism can be of great benefit to TÜV Rheinland, for example in uncovering grievances and initiating improvement measures. Positive evaluations are a good way of making applicants aware of the benefits offered by their own company. Like the super-high-end coffee machine, which could compete with Starbucks. This is something you like to read and hear.

Kununu & Co. – Curse and blessing

One thing is clear – negative evaluations hurt and in the worst case lead to a negative image. Or even worse, to a shitstorm. This makes it all the more important to react to these evaluations in a thoughtful and constructive manner. Comments are not only important from a company’s point of view. For potential applicants, employer evaluation portals in addition to the company homepage continue to be one of the most important sources of information about the company, its culture, employees, and values. Kununu and Co. can strongly influence the perception of the company and lead to or even prevent motivation for applications.

Mirror of the Candidate Journey

For me as a recruiter, applicant evaluations are particularly important. Because they reflect the experiences during the Candidate Journey. I am pleased when I read evaluations such as “Best support” or “Pleasant, informative conversation”. If this comment comes from an author who received a rejection, I am particularly pleased. It shows that a good interview and a comfortable atmosphere are possible and important even when companies and applicants do not match.

If I read negative comments regarding application processes, I consider them as objectively as possible and not emotionally. This is not always easy, because negative experiences occupy us recruiters. After all, we want to live up to our role as hosts. It is important to us that all applicants feel welcome. Therefore, it is essential to understand what led to the dissatisfaction in order to find the right starting points and to develop measures based on them.

Negative application process – a case in point

It often happens that posts unfortunately have little informative value. From short comments such as “No appreciation for applicants” I conclude that the application process did not proceed according to the candidate’s expectations. But what went wrong? Why were the expectations not met? Were questions asked that did not fit the career path? Did one of the participants prefer to use his or her smartphone instead of attending the interview? What happened or what was missing so that no appreciation was experienced?

Such information is crucial but is not mentioned in most posts. It is therefore difficult to determine the right measures to take. We then begin to reflect on how things went, but we can only speculate about what the reason was. Sometimes we don’t see the wood for the trees – things that I take for granted or that are not perceived as disturbing are experienced by others as bad. A simple example:

I know the department and the managers. So I also know the humour of the individual and can recognise when a statement is meant humorously. New applicants do not know the managers and therefore often cannot distinguish between humour and serious statements. This can lead to an ironic statement being perceived negatively or even as an affront by the manager. Consequently, no appreciation is experienced and a negative contribution is posted on one of the numerous employer evaluation portals.

Missing the point of employer evaluation portals

If we now think back to the interested, potential applicant, who informs himself via Kununu and Co., these empty contributions are fatal. If a post contains only a “Hands off!”-message, interested people do not know why they should leave their “hands off”. Readers should be able to decide for themselves, by means of concrete examples, whether the chosen company and the aspects mentioned in the posts meet their expectations or whether they cannot tolerate the criticised points. Unfortunately, this weighing up is not possible due to statements of little content. In the worst case it is prevented that a prospective customer applies and thus gains his own experience.

This should definitely not be the purpose of employer evaluation portals.

Dialogue on company evaluations is welcome

Kununu offers employers the opportunity to respond specifically to individual comments. This function is especially valuable when meaningless comments have been written.

My colleague Andy Fuchs uses this commentary function to try to enter into dialogue with authors of a negative post. The emphasis is on ” trying”, because although Andy gives the authors his email address (and not a mailing list), no one has yet responded. Unfortunately, there is no interest in explaining in more detail why someone would assume that “the CV has not been read properly”. This is a great pity, because our offer to talk about experiences during the application process is not an empty phrase. We are serious about this and would like to evaluate why this experience happened. This is the only way we can analyse and improve our processes as they are experienced in reality.
Hence my request: Join us in the exchange! Talk to us about your experiences!

There is also no reason why you should not contact your recruiter by phone or email at the end of an interview to discuss your impressions, whether positive or negative. That is what we are here for and we gratefully accept your comments.

We would like to welcome everyone and treat them with appreciation so that you have the opportunity to get to know us and TÜV Rheinland. We want to get to know our candidates at eye level and learn more about the people behind the application.


Franziska Scharpel

Franziska Scharpel


Franziska Scharpel is a recruiter specialized in the IT sector. From cybersecurity experts and consultants for cybersecurity services to specialists for functional safety and operational technology. Software developers and IT project managers also belong to Franziska’s target group. Every morning, the TÜV Tower, which is only two kilometres away, shines a light on the Cologne-based woman. At the same time, she studies business psychology alongside her job. As a real summer person, she is drawn to the Rhine outside in good weather with a psychological thriller book or to the garden for a barbecue with friends and family.

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