How to Handle Negative Reviews on Employer Review Sites

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It’s easy to dismiss negative reviews on employer review sites as sour grapes from disgruntled former or current employees or candidates who didn’t land the job (especially those anonymous reviews). However, dismissing employee reviews is the last thing you want to do if a positive candidate experience is important to your brand. And it absolutely is.

I’ve previously shared a list of 15+ Employee Review Sites Employers Need to Watch and Monitor, and want to address the “should we respond or not?” question here.

Should You or Should You Not Respond to Negative Employee Reviews

First, should you respond? Absolutely—to both positive and negative reviews. The important point here is communication and improvement, not to discount the negative reviews with a snarky response (big “no-no”). You want to show employees and candidates that your company is listening, acting on, and addressing the reviews. You don’t have to change an entire process based on one negative review, but you can talk about changes you have made.

Reviews like these should be seen as welcome opportunities for feedback to learn, grow, and change. Not everyone feels this way, however, it’s important to educate executives on the whys behind choosing to respond to reviews. The why? A better candidate experience.

According to Talent Tech Labs’ trends report on candidate engagement, 80-90% of candidates say that a positive or negative interview experience can change their mind about a role or a company. Nearly 60% have had a poor candidate experience. These are the people reviewing your company.

Take a Proactive Approach to Your Employer Brand

Consider the potential candidate researching your company on a review site. They’re reading horror stories and snarky comments. How likely do you think they are to apply to a job at your company? Consider the same candidate reading the same reviews, except with your thoughtful, unbiased, and kind responses. This changes the game; the candidate sees that your company genuinely listens, and is, therefore, more inclined to apply.

Any positive policy change within your company, such as adding perks like additional PTO or fully paid health insurance, is an opportunity to return to review sites and respond to reviews that mention “restrictive PTO” or “terrible health coverage” and let the reviewer (and readers) know that you heard their feedback and tell them about the new policy or perk.

What about positive reviews? They’re just as important. According to the same Talent Tech Labs trends report mentioned above, 78% of job seekers report never having been asked for feedback on their candidate experience. Yet 46% of employers report making regular improvements to the recruitment processes that affect the candidate experience. So when a candidate has interviewed at your company and takes the time to leave a positive review about your recruitment process, do take the time to thank them. Thanks = engagement. And other potential candidates will not only see the positive review, but they’ll also see that you’re engaged and listening, which in turn encourages more feedback, learning (on your part), and engagement.

Review sites like these are becoming a more important and trusted part of not just the job offer and interview process, but the entire candidate engagement process that starts the moment the prospective candidate begins to consider your company as an option for employment. Above all, it’s important to be consistent in your process regarding your responses to employee reviews negative and positive.

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Jessica Miller-Merrell

Jessica Miller-Merrell

Jessica Miller-Merrell (@jmillermerrell) is a workplace change agent, author and consultant focused on human resources and talent acquisition living in Austin, TX. Recognized by Forbes as a top 50 social media influencer and is a global speaker. She’s the founder of Workology, a workplace HR resource and host of the Workology Podcast.

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