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How do prospective employees assess the reputation of your company?

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by Jennifer Bridges  @JenBridgesRD

Photo of candidates waiting for a job interview

Online reputation is a rather modern concept, but its young age doesn’t reduce its importance. And the concept doesn’t just refer to people either; it’s gotten so powerful that it affects companies, brands, campaigns, celebrities, and so on.

Just like online reviews have reshaped the way consumers purchase products and relate to brands, online reputation has reshaped the way people conduct business. After all, who would want to be associated with a company that looks bad online?

Moreover, a negative online reputation can affect a company’s ability to attract and keep talent. For instance, most job candidates will research a business to prepare themselves for their first interview. However, while they are researching, they are also learning about the company’s reputation.

But where do they get their information from and how do they decide if your company is a place they’d want to work?

#1 Through the media

According to a recent survey, 76% of professionals do an online search of a company’s name before the even consider a job opportunity. So, what will they learn when they google your company?

There are several possible scenarios here:

  • Nothing exciting: This might be the case if your company is brand new or if you haven’t received much media coverage.
  • Good news: The media may be looking for sensational news, but they also write about the positives. So, if your business is involved in the community, supports various causes, and more, then this is a point in your favor.
  • Bad news: A negative reputation is difficult to ditch. Therefore, if your company is known to delay payments or overwork its employees, this information may surface in a Google search.
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Of course, it is possible for a company to have both good and bad stories in the media. For example, there have been several scandals about Amazon in the news (like the recent article about its overworked employees), but this doesn’t mean people will overlook the company’s positive aspects.

Tip: Make sure to create an admirable online image by being involved in the local community, supporting and respecting the rights of your employees, and maintaining a good relationship with the media.

According to Foundr, open and transparent communication is a strong asset in this day and age, so make sure to use it as much as possible.

#2 Through your website and social media

Your company website and social media accounts are the first places potential employees, business partners, and other types of collaborators go to learn about your company. Here, they can read about your mission, values, recent press releases, and more.

However, your website can also reveal other things about your company. For example, if the site is not responsive and looks out of date, potential candidates might see this as a red flag. A modern template with a sleek-looking design, on the other hand, shows people you aren’t afraid of change and are ready to embrace new technologies.

Tip: Use a website creation platform that allows you to keep your site fresh looking, without having to invest too much time and money. WordPress is a good one to choose because its many plugins make it highly customizable.

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When it comes to social media, it’s important to communicate in a friendly yet professional manner. Getting into online fights doesn’t help your reputation, and social media is not the place to get even with your competitors. You’ll just come off as petty and arrogant, which is definitely not the impression you want to make!

#3 Through online reviews

There are several employer review websites where employees can share their experiences with various companies. Because reviewers on these sites remain anonymous, both former and current employees can safely post their opinions.

Consequently, any frictions or tensions within the company are bound to come out online. And this can hurt your employer brand in the long term because around 83% of people who are actively looking for a job take employer reviews into consideration.

Tip: Start by implementing a friendly company policy that allows employees to voice their concerns and feel heard and understood. This will enable you to address any internal strife in a professional manner and reduce the chances of individuals complaining on review sites.

However, if your company is already receiving from bad reviews from former employees, be sure to a reply to these reviews and show you care about your employees and are working on improving the situation. When doing so, it’s important to be sincere and transparent about how you will go about fixing the problem. People appreciate good intentions, but they also want to see results!

In conclusion

It goes without saying that a good online reputation is your best asset in the digital age. However, if your reputation is currently a bit murky, there are things you can do to improve your situation.

By following the tips we mentioned in this article, you can construct a more positive online image. While this will come in handy if you are having trouble attracting highly trained professionals to your team, it will also protect your valuable brand against damage from future reputation crises.

This article was contributed by guest author Stewart Dunlop from Foundr Magazine.