Cobalt Reviews

Updated September 13, 2014
Updated September 13, 2014
285 Reviews
3.7
285 Reviews
Rating Trends

Recommend to a friend
Approve of CEO
Cobalt President and CEO John W. P. Holt
John W. P. Holt
219 Ratings

Review Highlights

Pros
  • Work-life balance is here is you are willing to sacrifice any career advancement (in 45 reviews)

  • They allow some positions to work from home on a part time of full time basis (in 23 reviews)


Cons
  • Preference is given to employees who have no work/life balance (in 8 reviews)

  • Low pay, clueless upper management, many people in jobs above their ability level (in 13 reviews)

More Highlights

Employee Reviews

Sort: Popular Rating Date
  1. 1 person found this helpful  

    Overall, Cobalt is a good place to work.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Account Manager
    Current Employee - Account Manager

    I have been working at Cobalt full-time for more than 5 years

    Pros

    Very smart product team steering the company in a positive direction.
    New focus on customer satisfaction is great.
    ADP has provided resources for global opportunities.

    Cons

    Now part of ADP, cultural shift to larger organization.
    Most of the opportunities are mid level, less senior.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Many people in Seattle understand parts of the auto business, but few have a comprehensive understanding. Invest in the people that do.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  2. 1 person found this helpful  

    It’s a big red flag if the company is desperate enough for talent that it needs to resort to YouTube recruiting ads

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee  in  Seattle, WA
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Seattle, WA

    I worked at Cobalt as a contractor for less than a year

    Pros

    Nice location and view in the International District. Open offices with lots of natural light. Relaxed dress code. Can get paid reasonably well without being that talented.

    Cons

    Cobalt constantly compares itself to a “startup” in its recruiting material, but the company is anything but. True tech startups have a culture of excellence: given that they have only a couple of dozen people in their workforce, they can’t afford to have “type B” or “type C” people. Unfortunately, from my very first week working at Cobalt, I noticed a culture of “type B” people who seemed to be more interesting in just showing up and getting paid instead of going above and beyond and work to fix some of the glaring issues (of which there are many) in both the company’s software products and culture.

    Working at Cobalt felt like I was in a high school class that nobody wanted to take, but had to because of requirements. “Spaghetti code”, skipping testing because “nobody explicitly told us to do so”, and mediocre design are the norm there. The company seemed to be a job of last resort for a significant amount of people there.
    In addition, there is a serious level of dysfunction within the company: I noticed an adversarial relationship between the sales, development, and design teams here. The sales team manages to pull off miracles and renew contracts with major car brands despite poor satisfaction among the actual car dealers who use the core websites product.

    What’s worse is that some people did care about Cobalt’s products and did try to change the company a few years ago, but unresponsive management and a rigid culture of “it looks too complicated so it won’t be done” caused most of these people to leave. After just a few months, I grew sick of dealing with other employees whose positions were way above their talent levels and management that would just blame those who raised legitimate concerns about the company culture instead of addressing the issues that led to those complaints. After I left the company, I heard that others on my team did as well, citing similar complaints.

    One of the company’s core products is pretty much a content management system (think something like WordPress) for car dealerships. Forget why the company is reinventing the wheel by implementing the umpteenth CMS out there: it’s doing it rather poorly. The quality of the websites themselves isn’t that great: try going to the websites of Burien Chevrolet or Lexus of Seattle (am I entering a Lexus dealer website or that of some shady used car dealer?). From a developer’s perspective, the CMS is a nightmare: ever hear of four different versions of jQuery and four different image slideshow libraries being used on the same site? How about having to wait 20-30 minutes to load the entire stack on your underpowered laptop just to start development (and being told that the flurry of exceptions that are being logged is normal)?

    For those who take pride in what they do and want to develop their skills (instead of hacking away at third-party jQuery plugins all day long), avoid this company at all costs. This company’s Glassdoor overview page name drops “Google” and “Facebook”—but from the office politics preventing significant change from occurring to the complete lack of workplace perks (even Intel across the plaza offers free soda, and they’re even more corporate!), working here is nothing like working for those companies.

    (A little extra about the working conditions: a lot of the contractors (including myself) were assigned to work on a fold out desk that looked like it came from Home Depot. I was given just a laptop–no external monitor, no keyboard, no mouse. It boggles me that a so-called “tech company” would allow employees to work all day hunched over a tiny laptop screen in the first place.)

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Work on reducing the culture of mediocrity that pervades the workplace and recruiting better talent (and not having them flee after a year or two).

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  3.  

    Work life balance

    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Cobalt

    Pros

    My work group asks for high quality of work, not high hours of work.

    Cons

    There's not enough time, as usual, for any project to do research.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
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  5.  

    Fast paced

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Account Advocate  in  Detroit, MI
    Current Employee - Account Advocate in Detroit, MI

    I have been working at Cobalt full-time

    Pros

    Flexible work schedule
    Great employees and co-workers who enjoy their job

    Cons

    Pay is hourly and not salary based

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  6.  

    Great place to work and learn.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Cobalt

    Pros

    I get to work with some of the brightest minds in Seattle on some interesting, complex, and unexplored problems. The office is in a fantastic location, with easy access to transit.

    Cons

    There is an unfortunate lack of free parking near the office, but it's on a light rail and Amtrak station. The neighborhood needs a good place to get a salad that isn't Specialty's.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  7.  

    Great company, but little opportunity for some to build skills or advance

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Employee  in  Seattle, WA
    Current Employee - Employee in Seattle, WA

    I have been working at Cobalt full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    Great company culture!
    Coworkers are very friendly and awesome to work with!
    Interesting and exciting products are constantly being developed by engineering, business intelligence and design teams.
    Good location for dining options.

    Cons

    Depending on your job, there can be very little opportunity to develop skills and advance your career.
    Depending on your job the work can be repetitive and process driven.
    Depending on your job the pay can be poor.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Try to keep everyone engaged and provide everyone with an opportunity to shine and develop skills.

    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  8.  

    I've had worse jobs.

    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Cobalt

    Pros

    Bagels on Monday
    Flexibility with hours
    Desk sharing opportunities
    Can work remotely

    Cons

    Advancement opportunities are limited
    Raises are small
    Benefits are so-so
    Workload is too big
    Bureaucracy
    Red tape

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Increase salaries to at least the median income for the positions and improve advancement opportunities.

  9.  

    Great place to gain experience and turn it into a better job with a different company.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Account Advocate  in  Seattle, WA
    Current Employee - Account Advocate in Seattle, WA

    I have been working at Cobalt full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    Lots of great people to work with.

    Cons

    Company strongly backs working your way up to new positions, but doesn't increase your pay.

    Doesn't Recommend
    No opinion of CEO
  10.  

    Ups and Downs

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Cobalt full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    Great location, some really good benefits. Lots of bright and fun people.

    Cons

    Lack of vision, direction from management. Project management is not alway good. Many times expectations are fuzzy. Not very much time off. Quick to point fingers or blame someone if something does not go as expected.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Understand your employees and their strengths. Many times people are "bucketed" into projects not suited for them. I see many talented people that should manage groups and many managers that do not have a very wide range of skills.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
  11. 1 person found this helpful  

    Building the plane in the air

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee  in  Detroit, MI
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Detroit, MI

    I have been working at Cobalt full-time for less than a year

    Pros

    Cool co-workers, team outtings, abilty to work from home 2 days a month, bonuses if you can qualify for them.

    Cons

    Projects are always last minute and stressful, little room for advancement, meeting quotas constantly, constant additional work being added to your work load.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Acknowledge that your employees have a lot of work on their plate and work with them if they're having problems meeting their quotas. We can't do 10 things at once and keep quality up where it needs to be. I predict there will be a lot of turnover coming up in the near future because of the lack of opportunities. You hired really qualified and motivated people who want to get ahead and there has to be some incentive for them to stay and grow with the company.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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