How to fill a position at a company with a bad reputation: 5 tips for recruiters

As a recruiter, do you cringe when you see a job order from a particular hiring manger or company come across your computer screen? Perhaps the company or manager has a bad reputation. The company might offer low pay, poor benefits, or have a negative work environment. But you have to take deep breath, push away thoughts of the position being impossible to fill, and focus on the positives. You must create a strategy to overcome the challenges of the client’s difficult reputation. Recruiting is not easy. If it was, everyone would do it.

With unemployment hovering above 8 percent, some companies believe that job seekers will jump at any employment opportunity. Think again. The war for talent is going on in several industries, and being a Fortune 100 company or a leader in technology is not always enough. Having a strong brand is good, but if a potential candidate has had a negative experience with the company, he or she might not be willing to take your offer.

Here are five tips for recruiting for a company with a negative reputation.

  1. Do your homework. Candidates rely on multiple venues to research companies and their reputation. Websites like and Google Places allow people to write personal reviews on companies, interview processes, and all types of experiences. You cannot erase what is on the Internet, so do your homework. When I receive a job order, I research all of the aspects of the role and the company to help build a strategy.

  2. Research the competition. Ask candidates about their experiences of interviewing at other companies. Use this information to create responses that help overcome candidate fears of a bad reputation.

  3. Ask the right questions. During the intake meeting, ask the hiring manager about his or her perception of the candidate experience. Ask the hiring manager, “What is great about this company?” and “Why would someone want to work here?” Knowing the answers to these questions could help you sell the job to a skeptical candidate.

  4. Provide advice. Make recommendations on how the hiring manager can improve the candidate experience.

  5. Be honest. Do not mislead, misrepresent, or create a perfect scenario just to fill the role. Remember that you can obtain a bad reputation just as easily as hiring managers or companies can. Your reputation can (and will) follow you for years in the industry. If you mislead a candidate, word can get out. Then you will have the same issue that you are trying to overcome by filling your toughest client’s job orders.

As a recruiter, it is your job to accurately sell an opportunity. In most cases, the company or hiring manager is not as bad as what is on the Internet. Either way, following these steps can help you fill those difficult positions.

This post was written by former Seamless Workforce contributor Donna Vespe.


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