This is the third in a series of TalentRISE tips to help businesses secure an edge over competitors by evolving their HR and recruitment practices in the digital era. 

Key Takeaways

  • Online reviews can hurt, but also HELP, your recruitment efforts
  • Tools can help you monitor what prospects and candidates are saying about your interview process and your company
  • Three ways to be sure you’re getting reviews that are fair and accurate and serve to engage top talent candidates

Managing Your Company’s Online Recruitment Reputation

Warren Buffett said, “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it.”

In reality, the timeframe required to ruin a company’s reputation as a future employer may actually take far less than five minutes. Here’s what often happens: an applicant for a job takes the afternoon off from her current employer to come in for a face-to-face interview, is kept waiting for 45 minutes by the hiring manager without explanation and then, when they finally meet, the hiring manager is rude and asks inappropriate questions. The first thing the applicant does upon exiting the building? Post a negative review about their interview experience on Glassdoor.

With Glassdoor, Indeed and other similar employer rating sites becoming more prevalent, your company needs to know the good, the bad and even – yes – the ugly about what’s being said about your organization and your hiring practices. In today’s world, where many of us won’t make a restaurant reservation without initially checking Yelp, it’s unrealistic to expect that anyone would commit to a job without reading reviews first. That’s why you need to be aware of what is said about you, strive to correct untruths or inaccuracies, work to proactively fix any real issues and solicit positive reviews.

Step #1: Know What’s Being Said About You

You can’t react – or influence – what is being written about your company online unless you monitor the sites that are posting reviews of your company. So here are a few tools, some quite recently developed, that will scan what is said about you in the marketplace:

  • Google Alerts: Free and designed for overarching monitoring of any topic. You can set Google Alerts to use its algorithmic wizardry to search for certain phrases, such as “Acme job search experience”. It may take you a few tries, using different search terms, to get to the information you need. For more, go here.
  • Mozaic Track: Much more targeted, this tool relies on AI (artificial intelligence) to uncover candidates that are a better match for your organization in the first place.
  • Review Trackers: A fee-based plan starting at less than $60/month includes email alerts when a negative review is posted and a suite of analytical tool.
  • Sprout SocialHootsuite and Bufferalso offer great tools, similar to Review Trackers, with varying tech bells-and-whistles. For an overview of these, go here.

Step #2: Reacting to Negative Reviews

The first rule of responding to negative reviews is actually to respond to them. According to Glassdoor (which offers useful tips on how to do this) 62% of job seekers say their perception of a company improves after seeing an employer respond to a review. Don’t make this task the sole responsibility of your HR team. In many ways, having someone outside of HR respond to a negative comment is much more authentic and will therefore help build your brand. Think of it this way: if salespeople are griping about changing quotas online, shouldn’t your sales leader be the one to explain the reasons why and also counter any misperceptions? Likewise, if any reviews have the potential to seriously damage your reputation, consider having your CEO weigh in.  

Step #3: Strengthening Your Reputation

While negative online reviews tend to overshadow positive reviews, the flip side is that you can indeed build a great reputation online as an employer of choice. Here are 3 tips to help you do just that:

  • Always be truthful and authentic
  • Encourage all current and former employees and candidates to share their experiences, whether about company culture, benefits and/or the interview process itself. Just be sure, however, that the subscription you sign-up for will not re-sell reviewers’ info to competitors or to advertisers who target your employees with competitor job ads to lure them away. Always check the fine print!
  • Ask employees within specialized functions – such as programmers – to post info about your company within industry-specific communities, including social media groups

Do these strategies really work?

The answer, according to Kristy Nittskoff, senior consultant at TalentRISE, is “yes”. To illustrate, she describes a situation where a foodservice company’s online brand as an employer was inaccurately and unfairly rated low because the online reviews were predominantly posted by hourly workers and contractors in operations who were complaining about work conditions. Frequent comments about cold temperatures in the plant and having to stand for too long were driving down overall ratings because few employees outside of the plant were posting about the growth of the company, opportunities, benefits, etc. To fix this, Kristy advised the organization to ask all employees to post about their experiences. Within 5 months, a clearer picture of life at the company emerged and ratings zoomed, from 1.9 to 4.1 stars on Glassdoor.

In closing

Think about this issue like this: would you rather eat at a restaurant with a 2 star rating or a 5 star rating on Yelp? Likewise, are you more inclined to book an Airbnb stay with a “superhost” or an ordinarily-rated host? Undoubtedly, like the rest of us, you will be influenced by the review…which closes the case on why your organization needs to devote resources to making sure you get the most positive reviews possible. Your ability to hire the best really depends on it.

Need more info? Contact Carl Kutsmode, Partner, TalentRISE.