Would you work with a company whose employer brand is described as: “Deceptive, unethical, poorly managed, no sense of direction”?

Most people wouldn’t, and many enterprise leaders would be terrified to hear their business described this way. But that line is a real company review on Glassdoor, and there are many more just like it.

Glassdoor cautions: “A company’s employment brand is no longer owned by its HR or marketing team — it’s now owned by the employees, job seekers, and former employees.” Glassdoor, Indeed, and the like are public forums where current employees, former employees, or even interviewees can post about their experience with your company, for better or for worse. These reviews are a key part of your online presence, and it’s playing an integral role in your recruiting effectiveness.

What Is Your Employer Brand?

Employer branding refers to the way organizations differentiate themselves from competitors in the market for employees. What is your company’s reputation among your workers? How is it as a place to work? Do your employees feel cared for? Taken care of? Would they recommend you to their friends? These are all important questions that contribute to your employer brand.

According to LinkedIn research, more than three-quarters of people seeking jobs look into the company’s employer brand before applying. This means that most of the candidates you interact with will already have an image of your company, especially candidates with the most employment options. They’re also likely to leave a review after interviewing or interacting with your company during the hiring process. How does your online presence impact business? Here are three ways:

It impacts the quality and quantity of applicants.

Positive reviews will draw applicants to your business, simplifying your hiring efforts and helping to attract top talent. Negative reviews will do just the opposite: drive away candidates who are seeking better job opportunities and work environments.

It influences customer perception.

Prospective customers are also looking at your online presence to assess company values. So while a positive online brand will encourage customer loyalty, negative reviews are likely to disrupt their trust in your company.

It affects current and future employee satisfaction.

Even if a current employee has a mostly positive outlook on their experience, those negative reviews or discussions about them in the workplace can be detrimental to productivity, focus, and retention. Negative impressions of how you hire their coworkers (and how it impacts the quality of their coworkers) can decrease work performance by up to 30%. So the quicker they are addressed and remedied, the better.

We can all agree that the impact of your employer brand is significant. But the overall hurdle most leadership teams face is how to address and improve their candidate experience and, therefore, their reviews online. Here are three ways to approach your employer brand online to attract top talent.

#1: Evaluate Your Online Presence

Do Your Research

Now is the time to uncover the online reviews, review your online presence, and discover what’s being said for better or for worse. Luckily, Glassdoor reports that the majority of their reviews are actually positive. Going through this process could be an insightful way to discover your strengths as a hiring company, and you’ll be better prepared to lean into them when working to attract top talent.

Assess What Aligns with your Brand and What Doesn’t

What does your online presence say about your employer brand? Is it the message you hope to convey, or is it skewed slightly? This process could only entail a minor pivot to align with your brand goals, or it could involve a more thoughtful conversation internally. Either way, the importance of this step can’t be overstated.

Example: If candidates state that leadership tend to micro-manage, but you actually allow your team creative freedom or flexibility, consider highlighting that specifically in your conversations with candidates.

#2: Respond with Intention

Thank the Thoughtful Reviewer

Be gracious to those who took the time to leave positive feedback. This perpetuates your positive employer brand and encourages others to leave positive feedback as well.

Note the Legitimate Critiques and Suggestions

Respond humbly and thank the reviewer for the message. Make a point to mention how you’ll look into their concerns or suggestions and then follow through.

Demonstrate Tact When Facing Negative Reviews

Negative reviews happen, but candidates will put more stock in a company’s response than the review alone. The three critical steps to facing a negative review:

  • Thank the reviewer earnestly for their feedback.
  • State how seriously you take their concerns and suggestions.
  • Make the offer to continue the dialogue through a private medium.

Example: “Thank you for taking the time to leave a review. We take all feedback very seriously and would like to learn more about your experience. If you’d like to continue the conversation, feel free to contact me directly at [insert company email here].”

#3: Create a Culture of Responsive Communication

Start laying the groundwork to avoid candidate complaints by improving your candidate experience.  When seeking to create positive candidate experiences, communication is key.

Keep Candidates Informed Every Step of the Way

Unfortunately, too many recruiters and employers treat the hiring process as a one-way street, requiring prompt answers and updates from candidates without offering the same thing in return.

Services like candidate texting and automated intelligent messaging make providing candidates with real-time, helpful feedback easier. Communicating details of the next steps they need to take or just acknowledging when their application has been received and reviewed leaves fewer unanswered questions and room for competition to sneak in.

Let Your Candidates Know What to Expect

Hand-in-hand with keeping candidates in the loop during the hiring process, it’s equally important to let candidates know what to expect if they are hired. That means offering them a clear and detailed glimpse of their new role’s responsibilities and your company’s unique culture.

More than 88% of surveyed job seekers said they believe that good company culture is essential to business success. Demonstrate what makes your company culture stand out, and you will be ahead of the game.

Maintain Relationships with Candidates

When does your candidate experience end? After you decide not to hire them, right? Wrong. Just because a candidate isn’t right for the position you currently need to fill doesn’t mean they won’t be right for a different role in the future.

A good way to improve candidate experience is to keep in touch with all high-quality candidates, not just the ones you hire. Instead of starting over from scratch, you may already have dozens of prime candidates sitting in your recruitment pipeline.

Continue Into Onboarding

Communication shouldn’t stop once the candidate has accepted an offer. To ensure a smooth onboarding process, ask yourself the following question:

  • Is your onboarding experience seamlessly connected to your hiring experience?
  • Are all of your new hire forms digital so that new hires don’t have to fill out forms by hand?
  • Do you have an onboarding portal that prioritizes all of a new hire’s tasks?
  • Does your onboarding portal work on mobile?
  • Do you offer pre-boarding? In other words, is your onboarding portal available to candidates before they start, so they can get a head start on the process?

Here are some final takeaways:

Focus on the Little Things

It’s the small interactions and personal touches that make candidates feel valued, respected, and appreciated. And those are the things they’ll remember long after the recruitment process is over.

Keep Your Promises

If you say you’re going to do something, make sure you do it — whether it’s sending a follow-up note after an interview or providing feedback in a timely manner.

Be Human

Job seekers are people, too, so treat them as such. Show empathy and understanding, and be genuine in your interactions.

Go Deeper on How to Attract Candidates with a Solid Employer Brand

Download our latest eBook and find out how you can build a better candidate experience with a step-by-step approach for enhancing your employer brand. Get valuable insights into auditing your employer brand and see how you can improve quality of hire with a better candidate experience.