Can Customer Reviews Affect Recruiting for Your Business?

Irene Malatesta
Irene Malatesta  |  November 2, 2018

Recruiting the right talent is one of the biggest challenges your business will face, no matter what your stage of growth.

Almost 73 percent of companies are having a hard time finding the talent they need, and over 40 percent worry that they will never find the right people. In addition, around 58 percent of small-to-medium businesses (also known as SMBs) are trying to hire, while 52 percent say that they cannot find qualified applicants.

To make matters worse, the amount of time it takes to fill positions has gone up in recent years, and the lack of talent can impact your bottom line. According to CEB, leaving a position open will cost you roughly $500 every day until the role is filled. Of course, that amount can go up, depending on the type of role you’re trying to fill.

One problem is that the best people are not looking for work. Many job candidates are only looking for work passively, meaning they aren’t very invested in the job search and will only move if they find a really perfect fit for their careers. Those candidates may be highly desirable, but may also be the toughest to hire.

In short, it is a candidate-driven job market, and that requires a special approach.

Dealing with a candidate-driven market

When candidates are calling the shots, it's your responsibility to make your company as attractive as possible. If you don’t have a nationally-recognized brand that job-seekers flock to, your online reputation matters a lot.

Having a negative reputation could make it even more difficult for you to find the talent your company needs to be successful. A majority of job seekers are interested in a company’s reputation, and many will be swayed by online comments – both positive and negative.

"When making a decision on where to apply for a job, 84 percent of job seekers say the reputation of a company as an employer is important," reports Talent Now.

"Over 14 percent of candidates stated that the most important marketing material influencing their decision to apply was a company's values, more than awards like Best Places to Work Lists (12.7 percent) or corporate social responsibility (13.8 percent)."

In fact, 50 percent of people looking for work said they would turn down an offer from a company that has a bad reputation, even if they were being offered a pay increase for the position.

However, fewer than half of all businesses monitor their company reviews.

How customer reviews affect recruiting

SMBs should consider that candidates are looking at everything: social media and online reviews matter to job candidates.

Why candidates care about customer reviews

The very best candidates care about customer reviews because they care about how well a business is perceived and is serving customers.

And those reviews are not limited to reviews of your products and services. Candidates also look at candidate reviews of your company.

According to a survey from Workplace Trends, "Nearly 60 percent of job seekers have had a poor candidate experience. Of those job seekers, 72 percent report having shared that experience online on an employer review site (such as Glassdoor), on a social networking site, or directly with a colleague or friend."

Employee reviews matter too. According to SocialTalent, 54 percent of job applicants read reviews that employees have left, and 46 percent of candidates will read employee reviews before ever responding to a job listing.

How SMBs can present their best selves to candidates

Small businesses without the benefit of big-name recognition have an even harder time with online representation. That's why everything written online is so important.

To present your best self to interested candidates, keep track of your online reviews and make sure your pages on job-seeking websites are clearly written and up-to-date. If you can, designate someone on your team to keep an eye on those sites and respond to any new reviews that require responses.

It’s a good idea to have a documented strategy and plan in place for handling things like questions or negative comments that come up in online reviews. Advance planning ensures that your responses will be thoughtful and consistent, making a positive impression on anyone reading.

Glassdoor offers a series of articles and examples to help guide your efforts. The company has found that responding to employee and candidate complaints helps build trust with potential applicants because it demonstrates authenticity and caring.

You can also focus on branding. Glassdoor reports that companies that put time and energy into branding are three times as likely to make quality hires than organizations that do not make the same investment.

How SMBs can use reviews to highlight their business to candidates

SMBs can highlight their defining characteristics in their reviews to help attract top candidates.

Small businesses have several advantages over larger companies. While SMBs may not be able to offer the same name recognition, perks, or benefits that big corporations can, they offer certain pluses that are unique to smaller businesses.

Many SMBs treat employees like family, have flat company structures, and nurture close working relationships. Reviews from employees can highlight these facts. Working at a small business is also often more varied than working at a larger company because jobs are less compartmentalized. That's an advantage that you could highlight in a review.

Additively, SMBs often offer schedule flexibility – something that many candidates value. Alternate work schedules (i.e. remote work arrangements or flexible start and departure times) could be on the table.

Another plus is, given that the gender pay gap is a real problem among business of all sizes, if you’re able to make a commitment to being an equal pay employer, that could be a competitive advantage.

Does your business offer any of these features or benefits? Featuring facts like these can help attract candidates that value them.

Bottom line

The combination of these factors is what Gallup calls your Employee Value Proposition (EVP). It explains what advantages the employee could experience in working for your company over another.

Find the talent your team needs by looking at the online reviews your customers, candidates, and employees leave, and respond to them. Maybe even ask those people to leave reviews highlighting the things that make your company different.

By promoting your company through online reviews, you can attract the talent that will help your business get ahead.

Ready to take the next steps to bring in the best talent? Learn the top recruiting strategies in 2018.

Irene Malatesta
Author

Irene Malatesta

Irene is a business content strategist at Fundbox, working with entrepreneurs and mission-driven businesses to bring their stories to life. Fundbox is dedicated to helping small businesses grow by democratizing access to credit.