Your job candidate knows more about your company than you do. What the heck is going on?
When a job candidate enters your office these days, he or she may seem to know an awful lot about your company. And not just about the business end, either. You may be asked questions that could only be prompted by an insider’s knowledge of what it’s like to work there. What gives?
The Internet gives, of course. Anyone can quickly and easily find well-indexed opinions about the workplace of most employers via search engines, message boards, blogs, social media, employee testimonial sites, etc. Sites such as glassdoor.com and jobitorial.com (formerly jobvent.com) exist for the purpose of letting prospective employees get the inside scoop on their prospective employers.
Most Internet sessions start on a search engine. There’s a better than good chance anyone who is considering applying for a position with your company, “liking” your company career page on Facebook, accepting your offer, or even just curious what it’s like to work for your company because they’re having a bad day at work, will be doing a quick search on “Working at INSERT YOUR COMPANY NAME.”
There’s also a decent chance that much of what they find won’t be particularly complimentary. Let’s face it, people are more likely to be moved to write in anger than in happiness. And it’s the more colorful complaints that tend to get passed around in social media.
So what do you do about it?
First let’s talk about what you CAN’T do. You can’t make bad comments disappear. Get used to them. Better yet, get out in front of them. Make sure your recruiters, hiring managers, and other candidate-facing employees are aware of what a candidate might see online. They need to know how to respond.
If there seems to be large number of people making the same unfavorable comment, or if the comment has gone viral, listen and consider the right next steps. One option is doing nothing. Another is engaging on the conversation, yourself, not surreptitiously, but openly representing your company’s point of view. Either way, you need to be prepared: your employees—and prospective employees—are listening.