Employee Retention, Employer Branding, Engagement

Got Negative Publicity? Expect Fewer Job Applicants

A new survey from human capital solutions provider CareerBuilder confirms what past surveys have shown: Negative press impacts hiring.

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And the impact is significant.

What Workers Say

Seventy-one percent of U.S. workers would not apply to a company experiencing negative press, the survey finds.

It also finds that women appear to place more weight on bad press than men. Female workers are more likely not to apply to a company experiencing negative press than their male counterparts, 79 percent compared to 61 percent, respectively.

Survey Methodology

The national survey, which was conducted online by Harris Poll on behalf of CareerBuilder from May 24 to June 16, 2017, includes representative samples of 2,369 human resource and hiring managers and 3,462 full-time U.S. workers across industries and company sizes in the private sector.

Impact on Employers

Bad publicity can have a serious ripple effect across companies. More than a quarter of employers (26 percent) responding to the survey say their company has experienced negative publicity, resulting in a hit to their hiring process.

Among these employers, 61 percent report fewer job offers being accepted, fewer candidate referrals from employees, and fewer job applications as a result of the negative publicity. Other negative impacts to the business included lower employee morale, higher voluntary employee turnover, and a decline in sales.

Bad publicity may turn off candidates from applying – but it rarely deters current workers from leaving their jobs, the survey finds. Less than one in 10 workers (6 percent) has left a company because of negative publicity.

Proactive Approach

“In today’s 24/7 news cycle and social media world, earning and maintaining a good reputation can be a challenge,” said Rosemary Haefner, chief human resources officer at CareerBuilder, when releasing survey results. “It’s easier than ever before for job seekers to research potential employers. Employers that value transparency and take a proactive approach to issues or complaints will have a better chance of securing trust and loyalty and maintaining a positive reputation that can strengthen their recruitment and retention strategies.”

CareerBuilder notes that negative news travels faster in today’s social world, and therefore recommends companies strengthen their organizations by sharing positive news.

Nearly four in five employers that have experienced positive press have seen beneficial impacts. These include:

  • Higher morale among employees (42 percent)
  • Employees were most likely to share positive things about the company on social channels (36 percent)
  • Boost in sales (36 percent)
  • More job applications (32 percent)
  • More job candidate referrals from employees (22 percent)
  • More job offers being accepted (21 percent)
  • Lower voluntary employee turnover (19 percent)