The idea that what we don’t know won’t hurt us goes back at least to the 16th century when English writer George Pettie said: “So long as I know it not, it hurteth mee not.” Of course, he didn’t foresee the age of social media.
Though ignorance may sometimes be bliss, it’s the wrong approach to take toward your company’s online reputation. A pointed criticism, justified or not, from a disenchanted customer or client can not only damage your firm’s reputation and sales, but it can harm your recruiting success as well. So, while taking steps to get good online reviews or comments and mitigate bad ones is a challenge, it’s worth the effort.
Here at TriStarr (a Lancaster, PA recruitment agency), our experience is that company reviews can definitely have an impact on recruiting and hiring. For example, we had a candidate who was well qualified for an open position with a client but withdrew from consideration after reading less-than-flattering online comments about the company. Unfortunately, online reviews may not be truly representative of your company, in part, because unhappy people are more motivated to post reviews than happy ones. But fair or not, you have to deal with the aftermath.
So, what can you do to monitor and manage your company’s online reputation? That will depend, to some degree, on the size of your company. But whether your firm is large enough to have its own web communications team or consists of just three employees, there are steps you can take with a little forethought and effort.
- Do an online search of your company’s name. What results do you see in the first few pages?
- Subscribe to a web-monitoring service that alerts you when your company is mentioned online. (Some, like Google Alerts, are free.)
- Regularly check what people are saying on your Facebook page or Twitter account. Acknowledge both positive and negative comments promptly, and apologize and take corrective action as needed.
- Identify and monitor websites where your company might be reviewed.
- Encourage satisfied customers to post comments to social media about their positive experience. (But be careful—a sudden influx of positive reviews will set the algorithm police on high alert.)
- Build and maintain positive relationships and communications with customers in person, by phone and email, and on social media.
By accepting that personal opinions expressed through social media are here to stay, you can begin planning how to manage them positively and even use them to your advantage. If you have a devoted following of customers and employees, you are more likely to read positive comments about your company—and that can lead to candidates being more interested in positions with your firm.
The team of professionals at our recruiting/temp staffing agency and HR consulting service truly enjoys what it does for our clients: finding the best candidates in their fields and hiring the most qualified temporary employees. That’s why we are willing to compare our performance record with any competitor’s. In fact, we back our recruiting with our Good People Guarantee. If a TriStarr client isn’t pleased with a professional we have recruited, our guarantee takes effect. Our recruiters (aka headhunters) will replace the person with another candidate at no cost or provide an agreed-upon, prorated refund.
We can confidently make that pledge because, even though good people can be hard to find, our skills and processes lead us to the “right-fit” candidate almost every time.