Equilar Reviews

Updated August 18, 2015
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2.7
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Equilar CEO David Chun
David Chun
32 Ratings

Pros
  • Small company with high turnover leads to constant chance to try new things (in 7 reviews)

  • You can transfer to completely different departments in as little as three months time from your start date (in 5 reviews)

Cons
  • Lack of experience doesn't mean employees shouldn't be involved (in 3 reviews)

  • Although most people are nice, in the past, the Research department has been plagued with HORRENDOUS managers (in 3 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

53 Employee Reviews

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  1. Intern

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    Pros

    There was a lot of opportunity for learning and growing

    Cons

    There was a lot of competition with other associates.


  2. Helpful (2)

    Unforgettable

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Equilar full-time

    Pros

    -It was a fantastic first job, and gave me the skills, experience, and business acumen needed for the next step in my career. I grew so much in my time here. -The people, at least in research, are excellent. Easy to make connections, friendships. Everyone is helpful, wants to see you own something. Indescribable culture in the research department that I don't think I'll quite see elsewhere. -Honestly, the last year or so has been filled with so many stories I could write a reality show about it. Extremely entertaining to experience, especially with the quality people.

    Cons

    -A general negative attitude from senior management towards the bread and butter of the company in research. Constant stories of disrespect, especially in the last year where Mr. Chun has focused on nurturing adventurous new products. Outward smiling and nice words from management are often patronizing, especially when those in research hear what is said behind their backs and see actions taken that are disrespectful and distrusting. -Over-involved CEO. Mr. Chun's lack of trust towards those in the company is alarming. Constantly involved in decisions he is not informed enough to handle. Attempting to inform him is seen as defiance. He is set in his ways and beliefs. He could do well to trust those that have been in the battle and done the analysis, instead of following his gut instincts. This is a fundamental problem with the company, showing itself in nearly every department. -The company has been in a period of flux for about a year. Multiple decisions and communications have been bungled. Mr. Chun has made many hasty decisions with harsh consequences that affected culture and employee satisfaction. As a result, turnover has been high and research suffered a strenuous proxy season that could have been easily avoided with some foresight and trust from management. -Compensation is poor and the market is not ideal for Mr. Chun's wishes of hiring talented folks at this desired pay scale. For a first job, the pay is decent, but you may be left craving more soon after. The company constantly cuts corners and finds ways to throw you the least amount of money. Don't expect much outside of base pay, although benefits are good enough. Bonuses will be communicated but often not presented, or delayed long enough for it not to matter. The stock incentive program (recently overhauled) is an embarrassment, as it amounted to the price of "a nice dinner" over the course of my Equilar career. If they never gave me these stock units, I would have been happier because the current system is poorly thought out and has no incentive value. -Many scapegoating scenarios. People are frightened to rock the boat because of horror stories over Equilar's history. This creates "Yes men" and occasionally the wrong people to be valued by Mr. Chun. People are blamed for things that are not their fault and the writing is on the wall for these folks. Never would Mr. Chun personally take blame or acknowledge any faults.

    Advice to Management

    Invest in people. Good engineers/analysts are hard to come by so value the good ones and keep them. It's not 2008/09 anymore, you have to pay talent and treat them well to hire them and keep them. This is why you are hemorrhaging talent and having trouble hiring. If you want to pay at a discount, be prepared to hire less talent and deal with turnover and culture issues. This company has flaws, and it's time that they were acknowledged and dealt with by a real leader. I do not believe Mr. Chun is that man.


  3. Helpful (6)

    First Job? Learn and Move On.

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Redwood City, CA
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Redwood City, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Equilar full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    I would give a 2.5/5, but to be nice, I'll round up. - For a first job out of college, you will learn a lot here. They do a good job of training and developing their new research analysts and you can expect to learn the basic skills of an analyst that can be transferred to another analyst role at another company (SQL, Excel, presentation, projects, etc.). - Career opportunities are also great as you are able to participate in a rotation program that lets you spend half your time in-between different departments and have a chance to transfer to that department if it's the right fit. - Benefits are great. 401k with matching, health, dental, vision. They provide you with a Caltrain pass if you don't drive, but if you do drive, they can only TRY to get you a parking spot as spaces are limited in the public parking structure as well as the company lot.

    Cons

    - Work hours are rough during proxy season, especially when you're understaffed. They expect you to stay at least 10 hours a day (sometimes longer) for about a 2-3 month period and you'll have to work weekends too. And if you're hourly, that's great, you get OT pay, but if you're salary, you are literally what they call SOL. - Compensation/salaries are low and definitely anywhere near benchmark. Funny thing is, this is a compensation bench-marking company. - No stability in upper management makes it look like there's no stability in the company and unstable direction. - Definitely not the type of company you expect to stay at for more than couple years at most. If you're here more than 3 years, I'll advise you that you should start looking elsewhere.

    Advice to Management

    - Hire more people. You're hiring very smart people, but you're making them do more than one job at a time and therefore the quality of work may lack. - Pay your employees as Salaries Non-Exempt, meaning they are salaried but still eligible for OT pay so that you don't have people complaining about the horrible hours during proxy season. They can work normal 40 hour weeks off-season, but when and if needed, they are still eligible for OT pay with manager approval. - Weekly one-on-one meetings with your manager can be seen as micro-management. That probably doesn't work for everyone that you hire, you should give them the option of weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, or ad-hoc. - Get a bigger office or at least a second office. Trying to cram everyone in a small little "Lair" (break room/lounge area) for company meetings does not make people want to attend nor pay attention to what you have to say. - I know Asians are known to be cheap, but you can't be cheap with your employees. If you keep saying money is not an issue for the company, why are you holding back on treating your employees fairly (compensation, perks, gifts, trips, etc.)?


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  5. Meh

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Research Analyst in Redwood City, CA
    Former Employee - Research Analyst in Redwood City, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Equilar full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Lots of young people, great place to get your foot out the door from college.

    Cons

    Menial tasks, not a lot of real skills learned, Terrible management, micro managing

    Advice to Management

    WOrk on giving more positive feedback and figure out more training to help analysts grow.


  6. Helpful (4)

    Come for the experience, Stay for the people, Leave due to management

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Equilar full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    • Great, smart UC grads outside of management – belief here is that the state school grads don’t stack up with the UC candidates. Most hiring decisions are based on school and GPA, does not allow for much diversity. • Ability to do very high level work in a short amount of time – with the incredibly high turnover, instead of hiring a person with appropriate skills and experience, you will get a chance to take over and lead products, write thought content, train new employees. Gives you the chance to come in, do high-level work in a short amount of time, and run as fast as you can afterward.

    Cons

    Strap in for this, it’s a long list. • CEO doesn’t care about anyone. Seriously not a single person. The whole exec team, except for one, had been replaced in a short amount of time. Instead of taking responsibility for the business not growing, the CEO just replaced everyone and called them “mediocre” in a monthly company meeting. All the execs are not “yes men”. A lot of not viable “business strategies” were being development since no one is there to say no to him anymore. • The Company does maybe a couple million in sales, but the CEO thinks he can make the company a billion dollar company. However there was no marketing team. Anyone who was in the marketing rotation – first year research analyst- who wanted to learn more about marketing, ended up doing the marketing work. • Compensation – don’t even talk about it. Research Analyst interns make $15 and no overtime unless it is approved, meaning no overtime. The Research analysts make $21 an hour with no bonus. RA II make $48,000 – standard rate – with 5% bonus. Senior analyst make about $55,000. The managers and senior leadership refuse to believe the market rate. Oh and the CEO has to approve all comp, he apparently doesn’t trust anyone else to make comp decisions. • Managers – almost all first time managers, 2-3 years out of college, micro-managers, and sit around while everyone is working hard to complete all “red” work by the end of the day. Barely have any training. All managers will consistently tell you different things. • Positive Reinforcement – what is that? Not in company culture. • HR – CEO does not let them do their job. No discretion or respect for interviewees. They let people with no training in interviews interview people. BAD IDEA. A bunch of illegal questions get asked during interviews. Judge non-UC people. Only care about GPA. They also implemented a “video interview” process since apparently its not worth 15 mins to do a phone interview. • Promotions – You are asked to move departments without any talk about compensation. They expect you not to ask and they won’t give you anything. Too bad you sign a contract that says you can’t sue them but must go through arbitration and pay for it. Since they hire college grads with no other work experience, they do not realize that is illegal. When you ask someone to move departments or to a considerably new role, you have to give them an offer and have them sign new dos. DO NOT LET THEM TALK YOU INTO A NEW ROLE WITHOUT TALKING ABOUT COMP FIRST. You will get screwed, bad. If you are interviewing here even after reading all the reviews, all I would say is during your interview ask about: 1) employee retention/turnover 2) education/training and employee development – including new manager’s 3) overall management style - autonomy vs micromanagement? – ask about time cards and overtime 4) how will your performance be measured? – how do you move towards a promotion 5) is a defined career path/track in place? – if they talk about the “tracks” ask about the training 6) company culture, atmosphere & environment – ask about how employees are valued

    Advice to Management

    Listen to your employees! Maybe if you did that once in a while all your employees wouldn't jump ship.


  7. Helpful (4)

    No Opportunities but a lot of headaches

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Research in Redwood City, CA
    Current Employee - Research in Redwood City, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Equilar full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Company operates in a very niche market and is profitable. However, they have been losing their cutting edge on the existing products and not getting traction with the new products.

    Cons

    Mediocracy at its best. Mid management is a bunch of people that have 'grown'/self-trained into their jobs and believe they are good at it. Most likely they are there because no other company would touch them. Senior management has had a lot of turnover in the last year. New management, although probably means well, is buying themselves time hoping for a miracle sale. Entry level - ton of smart people that are being used as data entry - most of them are there either to get something on their resume or waiting until grad school. You can learn very little marketable skills there and will be stuck in a boring dead end job. The company has been trying to build new products without understanding of there is a need for such a product (a clue - if a market does not have a product, it does not mean you have to build it. Maybe there is no need for such a product). On top of that, there is no technical expertise to even build new products, so what gets built is not useful at all and needs to be re-built immediately. High employee turnover. The only people left are those that no one else would hire

    Advice to Management

    Treat your employees as humans and not as time cards. Stop micromanaging Invest in technology Ask yourself - why are my best people leaving? And then ask yourself 'why the people who I think are great (and it's only CEO that thinks they are great) still there'?


  8. Helpful (9)

    Undervalued employees

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at Equilar full-time

    Pros

    Great people outside of senior management.

    Cons

    If you're reading this review because you're wondering if you should apply for or accept an offer from Equilar, the short answer is, Don't. Equilar has mastered the art of hiring great talent from great schools and giving them poor compensation. For a company that does compensation benchmarking, it's ironic that they pay far below the market level. Not to mention that a promotion here means a title change, not a salary increase. And for non-manager employees, you have to pay for your own parking too, since Equilar isn't willing to reimburse you for that. Management is terrible here as well. They are really strict about time cards and there is no flexibility with work hours-- if you need to take off 30 minutes early for any reason, managers will question you why and advise you not to, even if you are paid hourly. They are great at micromanaging and some are only 2-3 years out of college and thus provide little opportunity for mentorship. The CEO treats all his employees-- from interns to executives-- like they're dispensable, and he's not afraid to disrespect them in front of their peers. The turnover rate at Equilar is at an all time high. The entire executive team, except the CEO himself, has been replaced since 5 executives were terminated over the past year. Moreover, since so many analysts have left the company for better opportunities, this year's proxy season has been the worst one yet. 12 hour work days every day and 3 working weekends (and more to come probably), yet Equilar still refuses to give any incentives or real pay raises.


  9. Helpful (2)

    Dot-com vibe with a recent emphasis on renewal

    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    Pros

    I was admittedly dubious after reading some of the other reviews here. Having joined after those reviews were written, I believe the company is on a path toward reinvention and renewal in products and perhaps some of the day-to-day culture. Ultimately, as a small/medium private entity, there's a little bit of everything on a small/medium scale: rec area and games for the younger employees, kitchen area, etc. The infrastructure is fairly modern. The organization offers slightly above-average benefits, health, transportation, 401k. The environment is supportive and individuals recognized for their work. The CEO seemed like a genuine, earnest person, highly passionate about the company and also highly fastidious, which might feel intrustive for some individuals, though for analytical problem-solvers, the engagement and feedback could be welcome.

    Cons

    Though benefits are slightly above-average, base pay may be somewhat below by Silicon Valley standards. Company operates in a niche industry, executive compensation, so the over-arching mission may have a limited appeal for some.

    Advice to Management

    The path you've chosen for renewal seems positive.


  10. Helpful (5)

    Small company with good benefits

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Technical Lead in Redwood City, CA
    Current Employee - Technical Lead in Redwood City, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Equilar full-time (More than 8 years)

    Pros

    I worked for Equilar longer (8 years) than anywhere I've been around a long time. I've seen it grow from tiny to huge. There are some great and very smart people here. Small company so got to work on multiple projects which helped me to learn a lot. Exiting work and always learned something new in terms of technology or process. Management has their ears open, huge opportunities for people with skills, time when major changes are happening. Not only is the health insurance is good but there are lots of other benefits like tuition reimbursement, 401-k match, profit distribution, incentive bonus and perks like team events, company picnic, Free Cal-train yearly pass, onsite-gym and many more.

    Cons

    I live in South bay so commute is killing. I wish I get a chance to work from home once a week and save my commute time.


  11. Helpful (5)

    Many Opportunities and Many Headaches

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at Equilar full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    If you start out in Research, you can end up just about anywhere in the company. From your first day, you're doing primarily data entry. This gets mind-numbingly dull pretty quickly. But the trick is to have a good attitude, be hard working, be patient, and be curious, and doors will open for you. A lot of negativity towards research comes from a lack of perspective. Fresh college grads have never worked a full time entry level job. Of course it's going to suck. But you have to start picking up skills and build your career instead of complaining. Another positive is having time to explore new skills. Programs like LGL, OPI, and rotation give you time and money to do something other than data entry. You have a whole office filled with people to draw inspiration from if you don't know where to start.

    Cons

    Morale is at an all time low. Many employees are upset about the recent changes that happened to the company. A lot of people are still questioning why these changes happened and strongly disagree with the new direction. Things aren't built properly here. Everything is rushed, and we never go back to fix the corners that we cut. I would be less concerned if the first implementations were anywhere near half decent. We're hardly a tech company, so management doesn't understand the importance of our insurmountable technical debt. As a result, it always gets pushed off. Low pay attracts low talent, and we have to deal with it every day. What's worse is that we don't let go of bad people. Good talent realizes they have the experience to find a better job and leave as soon as they can.

    Advice to Management

    Pay closer attention to middle management hired externally. Are they really that effective? I've seen first year analysts with more domain knowledge than some managers. Look for more than just babysitters and yes men. They should be able to learn, too. Don't put all your eggs in one basket (you know exactly what I'm talking about).



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