Report: Lack of an Online Presence Provokes “Automatic” Suspicion in 77% of Job Seekers

REPORT: How a Company's Online Presence Influences Job Seekers - Indeed Blog

Today we live in an age of radical transparency. In our interconnected world we have almost instant access to a quantity of information that was unimaginable even a few years ago.

This online revolution has changed both simple things—such as how we decide what to eat for breakfast—and complicated, life-changing decisions—such as how we look for jobs. If job seekers want to know what it’s like to work at an organisation, insider information in the form of reviews is but a few taps away.

It has also changed the world of hiring. A whole discipline of employer branding has emerged in HR; people working in this field seek to attract and retain talent by using an array of methods to proactively communicate the story of what it’s like to work for them.

Indeed’s Company Pages is one such solution, combining employer storytelling with employee reviews and ratings on work/life balance, salary and benefits and more, to provide deep insight to job seekers. The public nature of this feedback can make some employers hesitant, but today’s job seekers require transparency and insight into a company’s culture before even applying. And it’s a two-way street: Company Pages can help employers more effectively reach job seekers where they are searching—by collecting all the information they need in one place.

Recently, we redesigned our Company Pages and added new features, empowering job seekers and employers alike to connect faster (more on these improvements later). To mark this, we surveyed 1,033 workers in Australia to dig into the details surrounding transparency and what it means in the world of job search and talent attraction: What are the new rules for taking control of your reputation and using radical transparency to your advantage?

Insight into company reputation is important for 97% of job seekers

Not long ago you had to know somebody at a company if you wanted the inside scoop on what it was like to work there.

Now that workers can crowdsource this information through online reviews, we are all in the know, and assessing a company’s reputation has become an expectation for the overwhelming majority of job seekers.

In fact, 97% of respondents said that if they were considering a new job opportunity, insight into the company’s employer reputation would be important (72%) or extremely (25%) important.

97% of Australian workers find a company's employer reputation important

But, what do job seekers most want to know when seeking online reviews? We asked Australian workers to name the five most important considerations when researching a company before submitting an application.

Expected hours and work-life balance was a clear winner (58%), followed by insights around salary (45%), and insights into the stability of the company (41%). Next up was information about staff turnover (38%) and opportunities for promotion at the company (37%).

But what happens if you don’t provide this information online?

An organisation that is lacking an online presence provokes “automatic” suspicion from 77% of job seekers

Expectations surrounding transparency have become so ingrained that an absence of online information is a major red flag for the majority of job seekers. In fact, 79% of job seekers will be sceptical and 77% will be suspicious about a job opportunity if the organisation has no online presence.

If people are sceptical or suspicious about your jobs, they may be unlikely to apply, making it difficult to fill open roles at your organisation.

As a result, it’s no longer enough to simply post your jobs online. Job seekers are viewing your jobs in context. Providing rich information about the experience of working at your company is essential to building trust and getting applications.

Negative reviews are better than no reviews

Some employers worry about the impact that negative reviews can have on their reputations. This is reasonable—it’s something every employer thinks about.

The good news is that many job seekers are open minded, and they will not automatically write off a firm because of bad reviews.

77% of Australian workers would be suspicious of a job opportunity if there was no information about a company's reputation online

Only 28% of job seekers said they were unlikely to trust a company with a negative online reputation, while 32% said they were likely to still trust a company with negative reviews. This number pales in comparison to the respondents who said they would automatically be suspicious of a job opportunity if the company had no online reputation (77%).

So not being talked about is much worse in the eyes of Australian job seekers than a few negative reviews, which are—after all—a fact of life. Meanwhile, how you react to those reviews is also important.

Over 50% of job seekers will have a more positive perception of an organisation if employers respond to a negative review

It’s normal to be concerned about bad reviews, of course. But nearly every company receives them, and the biggest mistake you can make is to ignore them. In fact, if employers view them as an opportunity to engage, then they will benefit.

We asked Australian job seekers how they felt about employer responses to bad reviews.

More than half (52%) of them said seeing employers respond to negative reviews would change their perception of the organisation to a more positive one. In fact, 48% of job seekers think responding to online criticism with an explanation or with an apology (36%) is the best way for a company to deal with negative reviews.

The takeaway is clear: engagement brings rewards. Treating your reviews as a discussion boosts transparency and a sense of authenticity that is attractive to job seekers.

Online company reviews are also important during the job offer phase

Online reviews aren’t just important when candidates are researching whether or not to apply to a company. They also play a vital role at the other end of the process, when job seekers are deciding whether or not to accept a job.

Only salary information (49%), and information about the company on their website (40%), were important to job seekers when considering a job offer.

However, more than one third (38%) of respondents named online company reviews by current and former employees as the third most important factor for making this decision.

Once again, it pays to open yourself up to employee opinions. Job seekers want authenticity, and they will recognise and reward it.

38% of Australian workers said online company reviews are important when considering a job offer at a company

Using your online presence to attract talent

The culture and expectations surrounding job search have changed forever. Employers should embrace this new culture of transparency and seize every opportunity they have to start sharing their stories online and build their employer brands.

How can you do this? Each employer’s brand will vary depending on the business and culture of each organisation. However, it is good to focus on compelling stories—human stories of how your company makes a difference and why its culture is unique.

Spotlighting how you enable employees to fulfill their own goals and aspirations is also key. Go beyond cliches of ping pong tables and free food. Today’s job seekers want a job that provides meaning as well as a salary. For example, many firms highlight their philanthropic activities online.

Company Pages play a crucial role here. On Indeed, employers can claim their employer profiles and use them to engage current and potential employees by hosting and sharing useful information, such as their company descriptions, photos and videos, jobs and other insights about their companies.

Indeed's Company Page includes branding, ratings, reviews, updates, followers, related companies, edit company page

The recent redesign means that it is easier than ever to leverage our 100M ratings and reviews to get detailed and specific insights on their culture and performance. There are now two tabs: “Snapshot,” which provides jobseekers with an at-a-glance view of what people are saying about the company, and “Why Join Us,” which is a landing page that employers completely control and can customise with videos, text, photos, social feeds, and company updates.

The update also includes a new subscription, Company Pages Premium, which gives employers the ability to feature relevant branded content and jobs to candidates based on their Indeed job searches as well as enhanced analytics providing insights on how your brand is performing on key metrics – how do you compare with competitors on salary or work life balance? You can filter and sort ratings and reviews by location and department.

Employers who choose to subscribe gain access to enhanced page viewer analytics that allow them to better understand and reach the right job seekers with relevant branded content, including featured jobs and reviews, competitive page insights and the ability to feature and respond to reviews.

It’s never been easier, or more important, to build your employer brand. So why wait? Claim your Indeed Company Page and start building your online reputation today!

Paul Wolfe is SVP of Human Resources at Indeed.

Methodology: Indeed partnered with Lonergan Research to survey 1,033 Australian workers in January 2019.

Promote your employer brand where job seekers are searching with Company Pages