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Negative Company Reviews & What to Do About Them

May 11, 2021, by Tam Campbell Trant | Recruitment

In today’s world, online reviews are commonplace, and that includes company reviews from current and past employees.  The Recruitment Team at HR à la carte has seen a marked increase in job seekers making decisions about whether or not to accept job interviews, and even job offers, after looking at company reviews and ratings on platforms like Glassdoor and Indeed. 

HR à la carte Recruitment Consultant, Candice Kennedy, has this advice: “It’s worth taking the information with a grain of salt. If a company is undergoing change, some employees aren't happy with that, and they’ll leave negative reviews when they leave the company.” 

For prospective employees, the reviews and ratings give insight into what it’s really like to work with a company.  But as an employer, is there anything you can do about negative reviews?  According to Glassdoor, there are 3 things you can do to mitigate a negative review: flag it, respond to it, or ask employees to leave more reviews.  A company can flag a review if they feel it is egregious and it violates guidelines or terms of use.  The flagged post will be re-reviewed, and if deemed in violation, the review will be removed.

Employers are encouraged to respond to the review (in fact all reviews), no matter if they are positive or negative, since job seekers view companies in a more favourable light when they reply. Indeed offers these suggestions for companies on how to respond:

  • If you decide to respond to a review, do so in a timely manner.
  • Keep things positive. Thank the reviewer for sharing their experience.
  • Always be professional. Your responses are visible to everyone.
  • Don’t try to respond to combative reviewers.
  • Try and take the issue offline when possible.
  • Ask employees to rate reviews as helpful/not helpful (reviews rated "more helpful" are highlighted for job seekers).

Lastly, a company can ask their employees to leave more reviews, in hopes they are positive.  While an organization can encourage their employees to leave honest reviews, it is not allowed to incentivize or coerce employees to leave positive feedback.  Also, it's important to note that individuals are only allowed to give one review, per employer, per year. 

Ultimately, and as with any negative feedback, it’s a good idea for a company to handle the criticism received constructively.  Find the merit in the criticism, make any necessary changes and then move on.

Meanwhile at HR à la carte, Candice has this advice: “We recommend that candidates use the company reviews as just one piece of the puzzle.  They should look at the job itself and how it fits with their own career path, and they should take their own experiences with the company during the recruitment process into account.  Only then should they make a decision about joining a company”. 

Another piece of the puzzle is talk to people that currently work at the company.  Candidates can look at their LinkedIn connections and see if they have anyone in their networks that work there.  Then ask these connections if they are open to being asked a few questions about their experiences.  You will be pleasantly surprised at how many people are willing to talk about their work environments. 

As you can see, both employers and candidates have some work to do after coming across negative reviews about a company.  The bottom line is they can be helpful, but do not tell the whole story.

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