How to Coach Candidates when Your Client has Negative Online Reviews

462048891Job review sites have become a mainstay in the recruiting industry and recruiters are constantly challenged by how to manage a company that incurs negative feedback. Understandably so, companies are not happy when their company page is littered with disgruntled employees’ feedback — and to help these brands navigate managing bad reviews, one of the most popular of these sites, Glassdoor, created a FAQ page. Candidates don’t want to see negative feedback on companies where they want to work either. After all, with the number of online resources out there, it’s safe to assume that jobseekers conduct cursory research on the companies that they are interested in or are actively bring recruited by. Recruiters, then, must be prepared to coach candidates on evaluating an opportunity when the reviews are less than ideal.

One thing to keep in mind is that while job review websites give candidates valuable insight, they are just one small piece of a larger company picture. Ideally, this preliminary research is done at start of the decision-making process for most candidates, allowing recruiters the opportunity to provide additional context and counsel into what the working environment will be like. This, in fact, is what makes a recruiter so valuable: understanding who the best candidates are and providing specific insights into industries, companies and jobs to help place these candidates where they want to go.

Aside from a close friend who may have worked in a similar position at the company, candidates rely on recruiters as unique resources to help further guide their decisions. Of course, recruiters must balance their commitment to their clients, but it’s in a recruiter’s best interest to be transparent about a position, even if that means advising that a company may not be a fit for someone. Recruiters are ultimately trying to make a match that benefits everyone involved, and if a candidate feels they received poor or misleading advice from a recruiter, they are unlikely to use them again and may even give them a negative review of their own.

As a result, recruiters must make an effort to know the good and bad about a company. In fact, it’s necessary at this point given that information on companies is available to everyone with a few clicks into a search engine. You can’t hide from job site reviews — whether they’re good or bad — and recruiters are expected to be able to address candidates’ concerns.

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Therefore, recruiters must monitor the same job sites candidates are on and understand the experiences of the candidates they’ve placed. Most recruiters are working within a specific industry and market where they have intimate knowledge of the local landscape for both people and companies. Staffing is an industry where relationships have always mattered, and it goes well beyond the successful placement of a candidate. It requires follow-up with the company and candidate to get feedback and learn why it is or isn’t working. In turn, recruiters can then amass insider knowledge into company culture, senior management, work-life balance, how employees feel about their pay as it relates to the work and so on, becoming an invaluable resource to candidates and someone who can offer a full picture of what a company is actually like.

Something else to keep in mind is that most candidates looking at online reviews are seeking entry- to mid-level positions, as these are the most prevalent jobs reviewed on such sites. Recruiters must understand where candidates are in their careers and counsel them accordingly.

There’s a lot of information out there on every company, and as a recruiter you must know how to navigate it on both the client and candidate side. Most clients come to terms with negative reviews and have processes on how to counter these critiques on job sites. A recruiter’s responsibility is first and foremost to serve as a resource to candidates to provide a well-rounded, honest view of the company. The end goal: informed candidates who make the best decision after they receive guidance from various sources, not just negative online reviews.

MORE: The Benefits of Promoting Positive Company Culture

Jason Reagan

Jason Reagan
Jason Reagan is regional VP of the IT practice, Addison Group.

Jason Reagan
Jason Reagan is regional VP of the IT practice, Addison Group.

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