How to Manage Your Employer Brand When Shit Hits the Fan

Last week, I wrote about online scams involving people who are contacting unsuspecting job seekers. If you haven’t read it yet, please check it out. These scams are real and yes, people are falling for them.

Essentially in these types of scams, there are three parties involved: the scammer who is out for something (data or money), the job seeker who potentially has the most to lose, and the company whose jobs are being inappropriately used. So, when you are in the legit company’s shoes … what can you do?


While Human Resources plays a critical role in managing these types of situations, I would recommend extending the conversation. Bring your PR, Internal Audit and Legal teams up to speed. They will likely be helpful during further investigations and can serve as advisers to expertly handling next steps.

But don’t keep the conversation internal. In today’s uber-connected, online world—having an external communication plan is strongly advised.


Over the years, we’ve all heard that “transparency” and “authenticity” are important when it comes to employment branding. What does that mean exactly when you are in PR crisis management mode?

As HR leaders, we have to actively manage our online reputations and own our employment brands. When others egregiously defile the candidate experience — using our good names — we have to step in and do what’s right.

  1. Notify Partners: If the scam is allegedly coming from a partner site, reach out to your account executive. How can the job board assist and leverage their resources to put the kibosh on the scam?
  2. Use Social Media: Post alerts via your social media accounts. Write about it via your corporate blog. Let your communities know that something is amiss, and that you are aware and working on a solution.
  3. Update Career Site: Does your career site have an FAQ page? Can you have your IT team post a message on the home page? Give job seekers information via your web properties.
  4. Flag the Postings: On Craigslist, for example, you can flag postings as inappropriate. Ask each member of your HR team to flag the illegitimate postings in effort to have them removed.

Above all, you’ve got to stay on top of the scam. If you don’t, it could be a sign to scammers that your company is oblivious, as well as an open target.


Set up Google Alerts to stay on top of what’s being said about your company online. Assign someone on your HR team to monitor and/or moderate online forums. Scan the major job boards to ensure that all current postings are valid. And, go to Craigslist and search for jobs using your company’s name as a keyword.

Hopefully nothing out of the ordinary pops up. However, if it does, I certainly hope these tips help you sort out the issue.

Has your company’s name been involved in a job scam? What did you do to make it right?

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Shannon Smedstad

Shannon Smedstad has nearly 20 years of recruitment, employer branding, and communications experience. Currently, she serves as the Principal Employer Brand Strategist at exaqueo. Previously, she held employer branding and recruiting leadership roles at CEB and GEICO. She’s a work at home mom raising two awesome girls who also enjoys reading, running, leading a Girl Scout troop, and her morning coffee. You can connect with Shannon on LinkedIn and Twitter.


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