8 Questions with Tim Besse Co-Founder of Glassdoor.com

April 3rd, 2009 by lewis

Tim Besse is the co-founder and VP of Product and Marketing with Glassdoor.com. He’s originally from Ohio and earned his bachelor’s degree from the Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve University. Prior to Glassdoor.com, he worked with Expedia where he helped launch early stage businesses, including Expedia’s telesales and private label businesses as well as its online luxury offering, Classic Custom Vacations. However, his most recent role at Expedia was the director of product management and online marketing for Expedia’s Asia Pacific division. I chatted with Tim about Glassdoor.com’s success.
Tim, thanks for joining us today! What is Glassdoor, and how is it different from Salary.com and PayScale?
We like to think of Glassdoor as the TripAdvisor or Yelp of jobs and workplaces that uses employee-generated content to provide a free inside look at companies from those who know best – employees. We are the only site that offers free access to in-depth and real-time employee opinions about companies along with details of their pay, benefits and work environment, including CEO approval ratings, not just salary. Unlike other sites that charge for this information, our “give to get” model is totally free – the only requirement is that first-time visitors to the site have to contribute to the community through an anonymous posting on their current job and employer (or recent one) before getting access to all the information provided by others. 
How have companies responded to the employee ratings and salary data posted on Glassdoor’s website?
Companies have been very receptive – Glassdoor is as valuable for companies as it is for employees. Our focus is on providing transparency for employees, but the wealth of information is great for employers as well. For example, Glassdoor provides real-time feedback, so employers can supplement costly annual surveys with a review of Glassdoor at what employees really think. This can help quickly identify and exploit areas of strength and address areas in need of improvement. Our reviews are designed to be constructive, not rants, and many include actionable advice for senior management that provides great perspective on the inner workings of a company.
We also help companies see how they stack up against competitors. Glassdoor lets employers and recruiters instantly see how a company’s compensation and ratings stack up against the competition. This is valuable information – employers can adjust areas as needed and focus on the differentiators that matter most to employees and recruits.
Om Malik recently featured Glassdoor data that showed the “Top 10 Tech Companies That Pay Engineers the Most.” What other interesting insights have you found from the Glassdoor data?
There are multiple layers to our survey, so we have a wide variety of information on salary and compensation, CEO and company details. Some interesting things we have seen in analyzing recent data is that female engineers make significantly less money than their male counterparts – especially as the years of experience increase. We have also been able to determine which industries are still hiring in this economy – and which ones are still giving salary increases – and even which companies pay their interns the most.
We also recently announced 50 best companies to work for, which was based on CEO and company ratings from actual employees of that company.
When I think about Flickr, Facebook, and Twitter, its users have come up with creative ways to use the core software.  Has the Glassdoor community created anything unique with Glassdoor’s underlying functionality or data?
Our mission is to become the world’s most trusted source for helping people make informed decisions about their work. We really are unique in the type of content that’s available and the functionality of the site, which we designed to help people engage with one another to improve discussions in and around the workplace.
How does Glassdoor plan on making money?
We have a media model and have started incorporating display and search ads through Google AdSense.
You’ve had a long, successful career at Expedia.  What’s the biggest difference working at Glassdoor vs. Expedia?
The biggest difference is the workplace culture of a start-up. Expedia is a big corporate culture with thousands of employee’s, whereas Glassdoor is a small team of about 15 employees. Each of us carries an immense amount of responsibility, and we all share a great amount of satisfaction when things go right. 
If you had to launch Glassdoor all over again, what would you do differently?
I wouldn’t change a thing. I am inspired all the time by the feedback and community engagement within the site. It’s a really exciting time for Glassdoor, and I feel fortunate to have the opportunity to help other people by giving them the tools and resources to make more informed decisions that impact the workplace and their careers.
Do you have any tips on today’s job seekers?
One thing we recommend for job seekers is to do their research. It is so important in this job climate to go into an interview well prepared with info on the company, including any challenges identified by other employees. It is also smart to have a realistic salary goal in mind; being well prepared will help set you apart from other job seekers.

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