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negative comments on glassdoorWe’ve been talking a lot about social recruiting and how employers can no longer control how or what employees and customers say about them. Twice this past week both a client and a prospect mentioned how they are up against negative Glassdoor reviews (Glassdoor, the job/career website built around employee-generated content). I’m sure there are many more out there who are up against the same thing, or worse, don’t even know about Glassdoor and other sites where employees can vent.

Glassdoor purports to be a free jobs-and-career community that “offers the world an inside look at jobs and companies.” Its employee-generated content can include anonymous salaries, company reviews, interview questions, and more, which gets posted by employees, job seekers, and occasionally by the companies themselves.  Similar sites include JobVent,, PayScale, Telanu. There are definitely more on the horizon.

These types of sties and social networking site have brought to light a problem that didn’t exist years ago: What do you do if current and former employees are venting with negative Glassdoor reviews or similar comments on other public sites? Last week I saw someone I used to work with use a social networking site to slam that business.

How to handle the negative

Be transparent. Don’t rush to share that there might be negative comments on these sites, but if a candidate brings up something that they’ve seen, address it head on. Explain why the comments are there (perhaps there was a merger, always difficult; hyper-growth–growing pains actually do hurt; new ownership or management; economy, probably the number one reason). Human Resources and corporate recruiters need to be up-to-date and prepared to speak honestly and openly.

Remember passive candidates are vetting companies and their employees differently than someone who has been out of work for six months. It’s probably the passive candidates who will bring it up. Be ready.

Recognize the fringe factor. These sites are anonymous, of course, and they often support only a small percentage view and that needs to be considered in context. Keep up what you are doing. A few negative comments will not outweigh and overall positive. If a large majority wave of negative commentary shows up, you probably have a bigger problem that you already know about anyway.

Build out your employment brand. The message you create for recruiting is as important as your marketing brand. I will even make the argument they are one in the same.

  • Take some time, be honest, define your culture and share your findings with your employees. Turn your employees into brand ambassadors, not cheerleaders but honest ambassadors.
  • Choose an employment brand champion to lead this initiative and make sure they work with marketing and human resources.
  • Tap into your networks and let them know who you are as a person and organization.
  • Ask for recommendations on your LinkedIn Company Page and individual Profiles, endorsements on individual Profiles, reviews on Google+, etc.

Build up what you can control and manage your organization’s online presence.

  • Determine the sites that are the most influential to potential candidates and customers.
    • If you are in the B2B space, LinkedIn is going to be a key component to managing your employee brand, employees and messaging.
    • LinkedIn is considered the most credible social media source and therefore needs to be the hub of social strategy.
    • Engage your employees, especially on LinkedIn. Remember everything in LinkedIn begins with an individual.
    • If negative comments on Glassdoor are your nemesis, make sure you have an employer profile (it’s free). Glassdoor employer profile
  • Create a realistic, authentic plan and build those sites up with all the good work, initiatives, and employees. Weave in the press releases, new hires, awards, community wins and celebrate them. If there are clear issues and the business is not doing well don’t invent things, share what you have (this is why content is so important).

You need to be aware, prepared and realistic about the comments and how long it may take to lessen their impact. Get moving in the right direction with a plan and the right people to bring it to fruition. LinkedIn’s Employment Branding Playbook is a great place to begin. Need more insight? Let us know.