Are Online Sites Giving Applicants a Distorted View of Your Company?

Posted by Tom Jones on May 8, 2012 10:41:00 AM

You’ve carefully vetted a job applicant - background check, Internet search, reference check – and are finally confident enough to make an offer.  You call the applicant, who politely responds , “No thanks.”

Online ReputationTurns out that while you were checking out the applicant, the applicant was checking out your company by reviewing Web sites that give former and current employees free rein to evaluate and criticize an employer without accountability.

The number of Web sites enabling an applicant to look inside the working conditions and culture of your company has exploded. These socially networked sites provide information on salaries, job security, career potential and other topics that may create a distorted view of your company if you’re not paying attention.

When did you last check your company’s online reputation? If you have experienced significant turnover or major changes in policies, working conditions or benefits, it may be time to do so. Now is also the time to incorporate an online reputation review into your hiring process and business reputation audit.

Where do you begin? Here are some popular Web sites used by employees/applicants to communicate with one another about your company. Plug in the name of your company and see what appears.

  • - “An inside look at jobs and companies.” Topics discussed include companies, salaries, detailed company reviews posted anonymously by employees, and jobs.
  •  - Bills itself as a place individuals can get an inside look at jobs and companies. Welcomes users with the tag line “we want you to have all the information you need to make the best career decisions.”  
  • - Apart from the employee-based company reviews and analysis of company cultures,  the site includes up-to-date information on salaries, from entry level to industry averages.
  • - Allows professionals to share their experiences regarding current and past employers, discussing topics such as salary and company culture.

What should you do if you encounter negative reviews?  Your reputation is at stake and your ability to hire in the future may be at risk.

Flooding Web sites with glowing comments about your company will spark doubts about your credibility and possibly get your comments flagged and accounts disabled – all of which compounds doubts about the workplace. Trying to find the culpable posters will lead to more damaging reviews.

Responding to this issue requires more a thoughtful strategy:

  1. Review the online content to determine if any of it is true. If it is, take action to address the issue(s).
  2. Consider asking select current employees to post their comments, at intervals, on the Web sites.
  3. Advocate on your own behalf. If your company has won awards or received recognition as a workplace, get that information onto these Web sites.
  4. Reach out to your satisfied customers and ask them to post feedback on your company.

Speak with your IT department about installing software that will allow you to track Web searches of your company. Once you are notified, keep abreast of what people are saying so that you can prevent problems from developing in the future.

Have you encountered other sites used by employees or job applicants? If so, please share them in the comments section below.

Topics: Recruiting, Technology, Human Resources

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