Equilar Reviews in San Francisco, CA

Updated July 9, 2014
Updated July 9, 2014
41 Reviews
2.8
41 Reviews
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Equilar CEO David Chun
David Chun
25 Ratings

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  1. 5 people found this helpful  

    Great place to get your first "real world" experience

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Research Analyst Intern  in  Redwood City, CA
    Former Employee - Research Analyst Intern in Redwood City, CA

    I worked at Equilar as an intern for less than a year

    Pros

    Equilar really does a great job of exposing their new hires to all types of tools. Prior to working at Equilar I had hardly any exposure to Excel and absolutely no experience with SQL. In just a few months they were able to train me and give me a great base from which to expand my knowledge with these programs.

    The people that work there are really cool! Lots of young-grads that are straight out of college and looking to hang out and have a good time.

    Their rotation program is a great opportunity for people in research is a good way to give young people exposure to all aspects of the company. Once the busy season is over (March-April) they give analysts the chance to "rotate" into different departments i.e engineering, sales, product management, which seems to be a pretty unique opportunity.

    Works tend to be steady and analysts are generally not expected to work more than 8 hours per day. The one exception to this is during proxy season, which can be brutal and times and often requires research to stay 10+ hours a day (March-April).

    Cons

    One of the biggest problems that I had here was that the managers who manage the majority of research people are only a few years older than those analysts and have little to no experience in people management. They do not do a good job of conveying their messages to their employees and are constantly goofing around with each other while other people are hard at work. There is no type of positive-reinforcement, only negative. In the short-time I worked there the good work I was doing was rarely acknowledged and only the negative aspects of my productivity were being discussed with me.

    Time-sheets. This is a clock-in/clock-out system for research analysts who just started; meaning that if you show up five minutes late you HAVE to stay five-minutes later and it's just annoying to deal with a system.

    The pay is poor here. I left here and immediately saw a 50% increase in my salary and there are no time-sheets!

    Bottom line - get in get your experience and get out. This place breeds mediocrity but is a nice place to come in and earn a fancy title and some quality experience to put on your resume.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Get more experienced managers. People who are messing around at work all the time should not be charged with running the most important part of your organization. They seem to be more into themselves and their clique than they are with making sure their employees are doing their work .

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  2. 10 people found this helpful  

    Blind Leading the Blind

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

    I worked at Equilar full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    I joined the Research team as my first job out of college and moved around several different departments during my time at Equilar. My negative view of the company stems from dealing with incompetent and arrogant senior management but I do believer there are some positive aspects to Equilar for a new college grad (not an experienced professional). For me the pros really boil down to 2 points:

    1.) Great people outside of senior management
    Equilar has mastered the science of recruiting really smart UC grads to work for their Research department. This was especially true during the recession years when the job market was tough for college grads and people were looking for any sort of experience with the title "Analyst" in it. Since the company is relatively small everyone knows each other and it's easy to make friends. For a lot of the entry-level people it's the closest thing to being back in college and Equilar has been good about throwing fun events (team buildings, picnics, softball league, holiday parties) to give employees more opportunities to bond.

    2.) Mobility within the company.
    Equilar is constantly bleeding out disgruntled employees and doesn't want to pay market wages to hire talent from the outside. This creates opportunities for internal promotions where people can move around different departments and acquire new skills. Although it's not always the ideal learning environment since the experienced employees don't really know what they are doing either (hence blind leading the blind), it does create some interesting opportunities that a recent college grad might not have had at other companies. For me personally this has been the most important aspect of working at Equilar, as the skills I acquired while working with engineering are what got me my ultimate dream job at a real company.

    The bottom line is if you recently graduated college and having a hard time finding a job then you might want to consider Equilar. Be smart about your time with the company and take advantage of opportunities to move out of Research and learn something new. Once you have enough experience hop on the first train out of Insanityville and go work for a real company that you wouldn't be ashamed to tell you friends about.

    Cons

    Senior Management:
    CEO - I will give some credit to the CEO for building a lean and profitable company that pays him millions of dollars every year. I will also give him some credit for being completely immune to how 99% of his employees feel about him. Otherwise he is delusional and completely clueless about technology, products and leadership. He is constantly trying to start "techie" projects that no one at the company has the skills to execute and have nothing to do with the core competency of the company (Equilar is not a technology company, it hires Research Analysts to manually mine data). Technology and product are not a in the DNA of the company because the CEO hates what the Silicon Valley represents while also desperately trying to fit into it. He only hires managers that will drink the Kool-Aid that he serves them, which creates an atrocious culture for employees that report to those managers.

    VPs- All the VPs are just hanging on to the company because the CEO sold them on a dream that the company will be someday magically sold for a lot of money that will make everyone rich. Therefore they are going along with everything that he wants while adding 0 value to the actual growth of the company.

    Time Cards - This is one thing I hated most about Equilar. This is NOT a timecard where at the end of the week you can just add up all the hours you worked and submit it. This is a REAL-TIME time card. This is "if you came 5 minutes late to work then you better stay an extra 5 minutes to make up the time" time card. This creates unnecessary inequality between those who have to use the time card and those who don't. It also destroys intrinsic motivation in employees by making their work transactional.

    Management inexperience - This ties into blind leading the blind. Since the company doesn't pay market wages it can't afford to hire good talent with the right experience. Engineers who don't know how to code, marketing people who create outdated informercial-like campaigns, engineering manager who doesn't understand anything and another manager who got fired for sexual harassment after being warned multiple times.

    Research - The backbone of the company and is really the only reason why it's successful. These guys get treated like dirt for doing all the hard work while all the credit goes to the people mentioned above. Safe to say this is not a company based on meritocracy.

    Rumors - There are no secrets at the company. As much as management tries to hide what's really going on, everyone know and talks about everything that happens. Everyone knows why someone quit or got fired. And while it is entertaining, it becomes very emotionally draining as you realize that your work for a bunch of idiots.

    Pay - it's low.

    Snacks - There used to be free delicious Costco trail mix in the main area and candy in every meeting room. However management sensed that people are enjoying those kinds of perks, so they replaced the trail mix with a paid vending machine and the good candy with generic hotel mints. That's progressive management!

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Stop going to useless meetings all day long and actually get involved in fixing the company's operations and products.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  3. 6 people found this helpful  

    Churn and burn

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Product Manager  in  Redwood City, CA
    Current Employee - Product Manager in Redwood City, CA

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

    Pros

    Co-workers: Unusually young employee base (80% plus of the folks here are a few years out of college). Fun environment to start in right out of college and I have some great friends here!

    Work: Low stress in general, unless you are a research analyst. You can move to different departments pretty easily and try out different roles (something you probably can't do at larger companies).

    Company events: We get to go on wine trips, picnics, department outings, and other fun events. Most of my outside work friends get pretty jealous.

    Reputation: We have a good reputation in the market, and a big presence in media.

    Cons

    Co-workers: It is difficult to learn and develop your career when your peers are all in your age group, and middle management is typically a couple of years older than you. Lack of experience hurts in the long run.

    Location: Redwood City is not a nice place... it is very run down, with lots of shady people around the city and train station. I wish we were safer and cleaner location.

    Work: I feel that you're treated like a child here. Internet browsing is monitored and the CEO will reprimand you if you're caught on non-work related sites. CEO also tracks when you enter and leave the office (cameras all over the place), so don't take long lunches unless you want a talking to. You're only given 2 sick days a year and you will get harassed if you take them. Why give them in the first place?

    Compensation: Not competitive at all. This is the Bay area guys, and you can't pull wool over our eyes. A 401K match, gym, train card and PTO is industry standard. Stock options and the dividend distribution are not that attractive, but you will be frowned at and questioned by your boss if you don't buy into the Kool Aid.

    Talent: Doesn't matter if we are able to hire good talent, since we lose them almost as fast as we can bring them in. I've almost been here 2 years and have seen so many people leave this company for reasons that probably could have been avoided. You can't keep re-training people each time. You also can't learn if you cycle through seniors and managers so often.

    Senior management: No confidence in the leadership here. Without naming names I haven't been very impressed with the management here. I don't want to sound cliche, but I feel we are running around like a chicken without a head. Except for maybe 2 or 3 individuals, don't expect to get any support, direction, or professionalism from the management team here. Professionalism is the key word though. Some of the things I've heard thrown around here border homophobic at best, and come off as sexual harassment at worst!

    Culture: Accepts mediocrity but does not reward performers. How are we supposed to get ahead when we can't retain our top talent, and then place people in a role where they have no business being in?

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Take a good hard self-assessment.
    Let go of the dead-weight.
    Reward your stars.
    Get professional.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
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  5. 14 people found this helpful  

    Only accept this job if you have NO other options, but DO NOT stop looking for a better job!

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Research Analyst  in  Redwood City, CA
    Current Employee - Research Analyst in Redwood City, CA

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

    Pros

    First off, let me say that I have read every review on this site multiple times. I tried my hardest to give Equilar a fair, balanced, honest review per Glassdoor’s Community Guidelines. In the end, every negative thing said about this company REALLY is true. I will try and expand on some of those items so that you can make an informed decision that is right for you. All of the positives listed below have corresponding negatives in the 'Cons' section:

    1. Provides a job that you can spin a number of positive ways on your resume and when you interview for your next job a few weeks/months later.

    2. Generally the people you work with are pretty cool, nice people.

    3. You will have the ability to put “manager” on your business school application, or generally to advance quickly and/or move to a better position in a different department .

    4. This could be the perfect fit for you!

    5. You might make a lot of money. Although salaries are low, if you stick it out for 5’ish years, and you buy all the stock you are allowed to buy with the "state-of-the-art profit-sharing program," (phrase taken directly from Equilar's website), and the share price projections that the CEO makes are even close to being true, you will probably be making a fair amount of money for somebody 5 years out of college with only a bachelors degree.

    6. The company fulfills a VERY niche market. Although they have several indirect competitors, nobody out there does exactly the same thing because it is not that lucrative, and consequently it is unlikely revenues/profits will decline.

    7. You will have a respectable job title for your resume: “Research Analyst”.

    8. All things considered, decent wages for the job that you are doing.

    Cons

    1. Only accept this job if your situation dictates that you need to accept this particular job. Once you accept this job, continue sending out resumes and eventually you will get another offer. You will have to answer the question of why you are leaving so soon, but just tell the truth in a positive way: “I have learned a lot at Equilar, but I am looking for something that is a little more [fill in the blank], which is why I am so excited about [fill in the blank].”

    2. Although most people are nice, in the past, the Research department has been plagued with HORRENDOUS managers. I foresee this improving in the future, but it is embarrassing to the company and to the upper management in the company that people like this were ever allowed to hold a managerial position.

    3. If you want to go to business school and you are willing to sell your soul to put the title of “Manager” on your application, you can get there in 2 years in the Research department so long as you are willing to put up with an unbelievable amount of crap. Basically, because people leave so frequently you can advance quickly at Equilar and move into other departments or positions that interest you more, but you have to be willing to hate your life for a very long time to get there.

    4. If you have little motivation and want an easy, unchallenging job, this is a PERFECT fit for you. But don’t tell them that, or they won’t hire you.

    5. When you first start at the company, the CEO will give you a presentation on how much money you could make at Equilar, especially if the company is eventually sold at a high valuation. The presentation is full of VERY generous assumptions, but admittedly, there is a sliver of truth in it. With a modest salary and some generous stock dividends, you could make a decent amount of money. Then again, I have learned from this job that the following quote is absolutely true: “Money is NOT everything.”

    6. That said, if we ever did get a direct competitor, the company would fail so fast it would make your head spin. The company is extremely focused on the short term and is not interested in investing in FAR better, long term solutions.

    7. Do not be deceived by the job title! Make no mistake about it, this is a data entry job. Every single day you do essentially the same boring data collection, all day long. If you put up with it for a year or so, they will let you do something slightly more interesting, but that is a long time to hate waking up every morning.

    8. It is true that salaries in this company are low across the board, especially for Silicon Valley, which has a high cost of living and higher salaries. That said, considering how menial the work of a “Research Analyst” is, it is actually fairly well paying. You do not need to go to college to do this job--they should be paying people minimum wage.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Keep doing what you are doing. Despite all these negative reviews, the company continues to make money, and the CEO takes home millions each year because of the “Unique Profit-Sharing Program.” Why bother changing anything just to make your employees happy?

    The truth is that as much as we complain, your business is built around highly expendable employees. The longer you keep employees around, the more you have to pay them and the more equity in the company you have to give them. It makes more sense to only keep the VERY few that are willing to put up with the crappy job and work environment.

    Do not worry about getting talented individuals and retaining them… you do not need/want smart people with good ideas to make the company better, you need just-smart-enough drones that will do the job you give them and get you to the point where you can sell the company and get rich.

    I honestly think you have got the right business model; I just do not like it myself.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  6. 12 people found this helpful  

    Research is an unhappy place to be.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Research Analyst  in  Redwood City, CA
    Former Employee - Research Analyst in Redwood City, CA

    I worked at Equilar

    Pros

    - Can transition into other departments within the company if you feel there is a better fit.
    - Management is generally accessible.

    Cons

    - Despite being a compensation firm, compensation is much lower than market rate even with promotions.
    - Constantly being pulled into projects left and right -- achieving your goals usually mean staying 50-60 hours a week.
    - Work environment is stifling. Every physical action is monitored with security cameras and web activity is constantly monitored.
    - Large overturn rate, employees are highly undervalued and feel replaceable.
    - CEO is obsessed with micromanaging and revenue gains. You are basically working to make the CEO rich.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    - Have more trust in your employees and compensate them appropriately for their efforts.
    - Stop taking advantage of your top performing employees. Managing doesn't mean pushing their limits constantly.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO
  7. 8 people found this helpful  

    Research Analyst II

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Research Analyst II  in  Redwood City, CA
    Current Employee - Research Analyst II in Redwood City, CA

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

    Pros

    Equilar hires very smart people out of college.

    Cons

    Routine work. Essentially a data entry job. Not sure how it will help me in build my resume. Cannot use smart phone at work. Every activity is monitored. No one likes the CEO. Dont believe the good reviews. They might be doctored.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Trust your employees.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  8.  

    cool company--great experience

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Software Engineer  in  Redwood City, CA
    Former Employee - Software Engineer in Redwood City, CA

    I worked at Equilar

    Pros

    opportunities to work with and learn from other really smart and talented engineers, supportive managers, cool technology, team spirit throughout company, cool office

    Cons

    long hours and intense work, much is expected of you, some people burn out on that while others thrive on it like I did

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    the company does emphasize professional growth and development, but it would be nice to have more formal training programs to foster that development

    Recommends
    Approves of CEO
  9. 2 people found this helpful  

    good place to get experience

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee  in  Redwood City, CA
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Redwood City, CA

    I have been working at Equilar

    Pros

    It's a good place to learn your professional skill. People you work with are nice and talent. Not need to do a lot of over time.

    Cons

    Compared with other tech companies in the valley. Equilar is definitely under paying its employees. It also treats employees in different department differently in terms of benefit.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    keep up the good work and value your high performing employees.

    Approves of CEO
  10. 12 people found this helpful  

    Not what it seems.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee  in  Redwood City, CA
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Redwood City, CA

    I have been working at Equilar

    Pros

    Good product in the marketplace
    Respected in their industry
    Profitable so they are not going to offer some stability
    Co-workers are pretty cool

    Cons

    CEO lacks respect for his employees.
    Most people seem to have a "Dave the CEO story" about him doing something unprofessional towards them.
    Leadership seems to think saving a few dollars is worth hurting employee morale.
    Well known fact that management scours spy ware and video to see what you are up to.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Focus on making this company an employer of choice.
    Just because you provide a job to someone doesn't automatically create loyalty...it is a two way street.
    A good management structure appreciates the little people and doesn't dump blame on them.
    Just be honest and stop trying to spin everything as positive.
    Take a look at what other researchers and analysts make in Silicon Valley....compare that compensation to what you offer.
    I could go on but I don't think anyone who could make a difference cares or they are too afraid to confront the CEO. Since saving your own bacon is the priority here.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO
  11. 17 people found this helpful  

    Could be nice place to work if any direction was provided.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Sales  in  Redwood City, CA
    Former Employee - Sales in Redwood City, CA

    I worked at Equilar

    Pros

    The employees are great. Very smart and hardworking. Most are straight out of college with a few seasoned professionals here and there.

    Cons

    The company is run by fear mongering. Company is reactive. Sales has absolutely no freedom. Everything you do is ultra micromanaged. I was once text messaging someone on a break and I was locked in a conference room discussing what " I did wrong" for 30 minutes Emails are checked constantly on spyware. Everyone understands the plan - put in a year or two, get your experience and go to a real company where upper management acts like grown ups.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Face the facts: Equilar has a terrible reputation. What are you going to do about it?

    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO

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