Report: Candidates Are Bailing on You Because of Poor Glassdoor Reviews

Turns out, crappy anonymous reviews are costing you candidates.

Earlier this month, popular ATS iCIMS released a report entitled, “The Modern Job Seeker,” which detailed the “trends and drivers behind what makes a great candidate experience, and the impact online employee reviews, social media, employee referrals, and mobile technology have on recruiting efforts.”

The company surveyed 500 full-time employed U.S. adults, ages 18+. Additional commentary is added from iCIMS customers, Gold’s Gym, Trilogy Health Services, and iCIMS partner and anonymous employee review site, Glassdoor. It helps support the importance of recruiting being a function of multiple departments, and not just HR.

“Recruiting is too important to overall business performance to tackle without the right technology in place, not to mention that organizations risk turning off potential applicants, hindering their candidate pipeline,” said Susan Vitale, chief marketing officer at iCIMS in a blog post. “Recruiting is no longer just a concern for the HR department; it needs to be top of mind for senior executives in all areas of the business.”

Although the report covers a variety of job seeker trends, perhaps the most telling is how important anonymous employee reviews, the ones you find on sites like Glassdoor and Indeed, are to the recruiting process. Historically, it has been difficult to provide metrics and context around what it really means to have poor reviews about a workplace, so the whole issue gets kicked down the road instead of addressed.

My own experience says employers put their heads solidly in the sand when it comes to anonymous reviews. Does anyone really read this stuff? No one cares about anonymous haters online. Out of site, out of mind, as far as our CEO is concerned. These are all things I’ve heard over the years.

Thanks to data like this, those days may soon be over. Consider the report’s findings:

  • The content that is most important to job seekers when researching a potential company to work for include employer reviews (37 percent), textual content on a company website (24 percent), and company publications or products (24 percent).
  • Nearly 1 in 3 workers have declined a job offer primarily because the company had negative online employer reviews.
  • Ninety-two percent of working Americans consider employee reviews to be important when deciding to apply to a job.
  • Forty-three percent of managerial-level workers have declined a job offer because of poor reviews, compared to 17 percent for non-management candidates.
  • Forty-seven percent of millennials have declined a job offer because of negative reviews online.

Call it the Yelpification of everything. In the same way consumers don’t care nearly as much about what a company says about its products and services compared to what customers say, job seekers couldn’t care less about your careers page and job posting when compared to online reviews from current and former employees. In short, care about your employees and candidates or lose to those who do.

“Recruiting has a direct impact on a company’s corporate brand and revenue,” said Vitale. “Candidates who have a negative recruitment experience are less likely to purchase products from the hiring company and are more likely to share negative feedback with their network. Without the right hires found on pace with the business needs, corporate performance is at risk.”

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There’s an old adage in marketing that goes something like this: “You can’t manage what you can’t measure.” The metrics brought to light by this report should get the attention of a lot of people. iCIMS has done some of the measurement for you, and now it’s time to manage. Who’s accountable for our employment brand? How do we engage with reviewers, if at all? What sites should we be monitoring (hint: there’s a lot more than Glassdoor to be worried about).

Why? “The employee voice is an essential piece of a company’s employer brand,” said Carmel Gavin, CHRO at Glassdoor. “Smart companies are actively empowering their people to share authentic workplace feedback because this kind of information helps candidates make informed decisions about their next job. Employers that take the time to read employee reviews are in a better position to highlight their positive attributes with a candidate who is on the fence, and course correct negative attributes before things go awry.”

Joel Cheesman

Joel Cheesman has over 20 years experience in the online recruitment space. He worked for both international and local job boards in the late ‘90s and early ‘00s. In 2005, Cheesman founded HRSEO, a search engine marketing company for HR, as well as launching an award-winning industry blog called Cheezhead. He has been featured in Fast Company and US News and World Report. He sold his company in 2009 to Jobing.com. He was employed by EmployeeScreenIQ, a background check company. He is the founder of Ratedly, an app that monitors anonymous employee reviews. He is married and the father of three children. He lives in Indianapolis.