Social media recruiting tips: Combating negative feedback

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Posted by Jessica Bacher

March 20, 2013

The rise of social media has had a great impact on recruiting in both positive and negative ways. One of the things most companies struggle with today is navigating the changing social media landscape and the amount of information (and sometimes misinformation) that is available online.

For example, there are an increasing number of social media sites designed for employees to post reviews of their jobs, companies and their bosses. In addition, many jobseekers today search online for reviews on employers, much like searching online for consumer product reviews.

So how does a company handle this constantly evolving social media landscape? Should social media sites be used in the hiring process?  Should employees be given access to the sites while at work? How do employers address disgruntled employees attempting to use social media to spread inaccurate, negative or inflammatory information?

These are all good questions and there are no perfect answers for every situation, however, here are a few suggestions for handling negative feedback on your company or recruiting processes:

    • Purchase a Profile – Job-venting sites seem to encourage bad reviews and the ability of employees to post anonymously makes them feel more secure that their image won’t be tarnished. You can help combat this by putting accurate information on these sites, although it may cost you some money to do so. For example, glassdoor.com provides an “Enhanced Employer Profile”, featuring a comprehensive description of your company.  This gives the employer the opportunity to provide credible, positive content that offsets misinformation and shortcomings that others are sharing online.

    • Lobby for Support – Manycompanies encourage their happy employees to write positive reviews to bolster their company rating. However, this solicitation must be carefully planned and genuine or the potential for the effort to backfire, internally and online, is relatively high.

    • Embrace Criticism – Whenonline critics repeat similar complaints, it may mean that there is some underlying truth to what they’re complaining about.  It also gives glassdoor.com visitors more reason to believe these complaints.  The quickest way for a company to stop online rants is to fix the related problems.

    • Create Consistent, Non-Confrontational Responses – Another tactic is to create custom responses for your recruiting and sourcing team to use when they encounter this type of feedback from a candidate. This way your messaging is uniform and consistent; having a recruiter or employee caught off guard will usually result in an off the cuff remark that will serve up negativity back into the market.

    • Respond to Negative Feedback if Appropriate – Addressing negative feedback is the sometimes the best way a company can avoid further negative reviews. According to HarrisPollOnline.com and IceMiller LLP, customers who receive a response from a company after writing negative feedback have a 34% chance to delete that comment and a 33% chance to post positive feedback in its place. You may have the same opportunity with employee feedback in some cases.

Social media has a lot to offer recruiters and companies looking for talent. However, the speed of communication and the number of ways to engage and provide feedback can be daunting, especially when it changes almost daily. Your first defense is a good offense with sound business and recruiting practices (like calling candidates back, having a clear applicant process, etc). But when you do receive negative feedback, the key is having a plan to respond appropriately.

This post was written by Jessica Bacher. With extensive experience as a recruiting operations manager, Jessica has provided strategic planning and consultation to leading health care, call center, retail, telecommunications and government clients worldwide, and has led complex initiatives for Fortune 500 organizations. In 2010 and 2011, the Electronic Recruiting Exchange, the largest recruiting intelligence community, recognized her branding and digital solutions work, and Jessica was awarded the Creative Excellence Award for her work in employment branding for Latin America. Learn more about Jessica.

Topics: Social Media

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