Employer Branding

Do Review Site Rankings Really Impact Application Decisions?

A new survey finds that companies struggling to fill job openings may have their online reputation to blame.

The survey, conducted by CareerArc, a global HR technology provider of social recruiting and outplacement services, finds that only 21 percent of job seekers would apply to a company that has an average rating of one out of five stars on an employer review site, and only 34 percent would apply to a two-star company. The survey also finds that 91 percent of candidates rely on at least one online or offline resource to evaluate an employer’s brand before applying for a job.

CareerArc polled workers, as well as HR and talent acquisition professionals, in order to provide insight into employer branding.

From the hiring side of the desk, 31 percent of employers claim review sites give an unfair portrayal of a company’s employment practices and company culture, with the majority of companies (55 percent) believing these sites provide only a “somewhat fair” portrayal of employers. Nevertheless, 91 percent of employers believe that a company’s star rating on an employer review site can win or lose a job applicant.

“We live in an age where the decisions we make about where to eat, what movie to watch, and—now—where to work will likely be influenced by an online rating or review generated by peers, not companies,” says Robin D. Richards, chairman & CEO of CareerArc. “This reality illustrates the shifting balance of power from employers to employees who—emboldened by a recovering labor market—are growing more vocal and demanding of the companies they work for. Organizations that continue to neglect their employer brand and reputation, especially those looking to hire from the Millennial-majority workforce, risk losing out on the best talent today, and even more so tomorrow.”

Other Survey Findings

Women more likely to avoid job opportunities with poorly rated employers. Female job seekers are 33 percent less likely than male job seekers to apply to a one-star rated company and are 25 percent more likely to rely on employer review sites when vetting a potential employer.

The data also show women are generally more likely than men to abandon a job application after reading online reviews detailing poor employee treatment and/or management, poor candidate experience, poor customer experience, and poor layoff practices. As employees, women are 15 percent more likely than men to consider quitting their job after witnessing poor client, candidate, and employee treatment.

Two out of three consumers have stopped buying from companies plagued with bad press about poor employee treatment. The survey finds that 64 percent of consumers have switched brands or stopped buying a company’s goods or services because news surfaced about that company’s poor treatment of employees.

Twenty-five percent of adults report having stopped their promotion and/or purchase of their employer’s products as a direct result of a poor employee experience. Millennial employees are 30 percent more likely than Gen-Xers and 60 percent more likely than Baby Boomers to stop purchasing or promoting an employer’s products due to a poor employee experience.

Although 96 percent of companies believe employer brand and reputation can positively or negatively impact revenue, less than half (44 percent) monitor that impact.

The percentage of fired or laid-off employees sharing negative reviews of employers has nearly doubled since 2015. Terminated or laid-off employees report being more disgruntled, and they are nearly twice as vocal today as they were two years ago.

Sixty-six percent of adults report their layoff or termination negatively impacted their perception of their employer—a 22 percent increase in just two years. The proportion of job seekers who shared that negative perception with others nearly doubled to 66 percent; in the 2015 CareerArc survey, only 38 percent had reported sharing their negative views. The use of social media and employer review sites to share these negative opinions also doubled to 19 percent and 21 percent, respectively.

However, the survey also finds that employees who are provided outplacement or career assistance following a layoff are 38 percent less likely to harbor a negative perception of their former employer and three times more likely to continue purchasing that company’s offerings after the separation event.

Millennials are even more jaded by, and more vocal about, being let go. Although Baby Boomers are twice as likely as Millennials to report having experienced a layoff or termination in their careers, Millennials are 22 percent more likely than Baby Boomers to develop a negative perception of the employers who let them go. The percentage of Millennials who developed negative perceptions of their former employers increased by 14 percent in the past two years. Compared to Gen-X and Baby Boomers, Millennials are also the most inclined to share their negative views of past employers and are two and a half times more likely than Gen-Xers to share those views on social media.

Millennials are also less likely to apply to a company after reading poor employer reviews, more open to switching jobs after witnessing poor employer practices, and more likely to share their opinions of employers on review sites and social media compared to Gen-Xers and Baby Boomers.