Employer Reviews – When They Matter & How to Manage Them

Employer reviews are everywhere. Glassdoor, Comparably, Indeed, CareerBliss – and new ones pop up regularly. Some reviews are great endorsements, others ... not so much. But how much do they really matter?

Illustration of a hand holding a mobile phone with multiple varying reviews.
Published: 5.7.2019

Overall, yes, online reviews are important. Only 1 in 5 candidates would apply to a 1-star rated company, according to recent research, and only 1 in 3 would apply to a 2-star rated company. According to Harvard Business Review, a company with a poor employer brand pays an average of $4,723 more per hire. For a company with 10,000 employees, that’s up to $7.6 million per year in additional wages.

In technology recruiting, online employer reviews are especially important. Candidates read them, and ask about them in interviews. Tech recruiting is one of the most challenging areas to hire, and negative reviews or a low employer rating make a tough challenge even tougher.

Most candidates are aware that the majority of negative reviews are written by disgruntled former or current employees and take them with a grain of salt. Where it becomes a concern is when a pattern emerges. If you’re seeing your company taken to task over and over on a single issue, it’s time to dig into the underlying issue and make some changes – and let people know what you’re doing to address it.

Tips to Manage Your Reputation on Employer Review Sites

Just as you manage your careers website and your social recruiting, it’s important to manage your presence on the major online review sites. Most provide some mechanism for “claiming” your company and adding at least some level of content, and most will also allow you to respond to reviews. Some require employers to pay to participate at any level, and you’ll have to consider the potential return on your investment.

Engage. Claim your company’s presence, post content, and respond to reviews. Just as on social media, be selective about what you respond to and how. In a recent competitive review for an employer branding client, we found one company that responded to every single review with one of two responses: one for positive reviews, and one for negative, using the exact same wording. It came across as rote and inauthentic, and probably did more harm than good for the company’s employer brand.

Encourage. Encourage your current employees to share their (hopefully positive) experiences: let them know that there are some negative reviews out there, and that you’re hoping to generate some positive ones that reflect what it’s really like to work at your company. If there are specific things you’re hoping to cover, let them know that as well. Incorporate your perspective on employer review sites into your social media policy, too.

Don’t Force It. Whatever you do, do NOT mandate that your employees write reviews, because that will certainly backfire. The reviews come across as inauthentic, and at worst, resentful employees will either note that they’re being forced to write a review, like the one shown below. Or, even worse, they may write a negative review.

Example of a mandated employee review:

Screen grab of an employee review that says "only doing this because it is required. I'm only typing this to take up space and find this really unnecessary blah blah blah blah blah blah."

While you can’t prevent negative reviews, you can reduce their impact on your employer brand. Just engage in the conversation and be authentic. The more you do, the better your results will be.

Need help defining or managing your employer brand, or managing your online reputation?

We can help. Contact us, and let’s talk about your brand and online reputation.

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