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How Disgruntled Applicants are Hurting Your Online Reputation

We all know the obvious damage an unhappy customer can do to a business’s reputation. They can leave bad reviews or ratings on websites that potential clients see before deciding to use your business. But what about an unhappy job candidate? On the surface, it would seem like an interviewee wouldn’t be able to hurt your business very much, even if they felt like they had a bad experience during the hiring process. Afterall, GlassDoor is mainly used by past, present, and future employees, not potential customers. But new research is showing that disgruntled rejected candidates can actually have a strong impact on your online reputation. WebPunch is here to show you how this can happen, and how to prevent it.

Former brand-promoters who apply to your business and have negative hiring experiences can turn into detractors. They can spread their experiences not only through online reviews but through word of mouth to their friends and family too. A 2018 Human Capital Institute study found that 60% of job seekers had a negative experience, and of that 60%, 72% posted about their experience online. And you might think that these were mostly posted on GlassDoor (which can hurt your prospecting and is still an important reputation site to be aware of), but that’s not the case. They often also vent about their experience to friends and family over social media, sometimes in places where everyone, including your potential clients, can see. 

Brands as big as Virgin Mobile have reported massive losses due to dissatisfied job candidates. According to Virgin Mobile’s statistics, they lost $4.4 million in potential revenue due to this very issue, so it’s definitely something to take seriously! 18% of applicants to Virgin Mobile were also Virgin Mobile customers, so bad interview or application journeys led to big losses for their brand. On the bright side, a positive hiring experience can lead to the promotion of your business, even if the candidate doesn’t end up being hired. Virgin Mobile ended up using the data collected from this study to improve their hiring process and help candidates have better experiences even if they didn’t end up being hired.

The best thing you can do to prevent negative hiring experiences from damaging your online reputation is to make your hiring process more friendly to your applicants. Start by making sure your branding is strong, and make sure to give your applicants a clear idea of what the job requires and consists of. According to a 2017 CareerBuilder study, 57% of candidates research an employer’s website before beginning the application process, and a good first impression can go a long way in ensuring that the applicant has a positive experience. The same study found that 47% of candidates never hear back from the employer after submitting an application. One of the simplest things you can do to improve your hiring experience is to send out rejection messages to applicants who aren’t a good fit for your position so that the applicants can move on to other jobs. Even a simple form rejection letter goes a long way toward making a positive impression on a candidate and preventing harm to your reputation, and it can put you ahead of competitors who don’t take the time to send one out.

Submitting an application should also be user-friendly and not take up more of an applicant’s time than necessary. A CareerBuilder study found that at least 60% of job-seekers quit filling out an application because it was too complicated or involved too much time. Making your applications shorter, mobile-friendly, and keeping the job descriptions current are all ways to keep your applicants happy. 

Once the applicants have moved on to the interview stage, be sure to communicate about when the applicant will be hearing from you and the next steps in the hiring process. When communicating with interviewees, try to personalize as much as possible and use their name in emails rather than simply stating “Dear Applicant.” As long as you take simple steps to show your potential employees that you respect their time and effort, you, and by association your business, will likely make a positive impression, which will reduce the number of disgruntled applicants. This will also make it less likely that you lose customers, if you, like Virgin Mobile, have a high number of existing customers applying for your positions.

It’s also a good idea to ask your applicants what they think of the process at key checkpoints along the hiring journey. While obviously you shouldn’t ask rejected candidates what they think of the process right after you’ve rejected them, asking an interviewee about the application process is a great way to receive feedback so that you can improve the process. Asking for feedback about the interview process a few months after it takes place is also a good idea, and anonymizing the process can make your candidates and employees feel more comfortable sharing their honest experiences. 

Mapping out your hiring brand experience journey is just as important as mapping out your customers’ journey. If you can collect feedback from your applicants as they go through the hiring process, you’ll be able to find the best places to make improvements in order to help your potential employees have positive experiences from submitting an application to being hired. You’ll also be able to keep your online reputation in great shape and retain your promoters, even if they aren’t hired. If you’d like help finding the best times in the hiring process to survey your applicants, please let us know. WebPunch is in your corner to help you keep your online reputation as great as you are!