Clients and candidates are posting reviews about their experiences of recruitment companies more readily than ever before. These range from * ratings on Google, Facebook and Yell to sharing experiences with their respective followers on LinkedIn and Twitter. Recently, a number of recruitment businesses have been ‘panned’ on LinkedIn – I expect some of the comments are justified and some are not.
Recruitment companies, particularly those operating in the contingent space, are usually dealing with high volumes of candidates. Much as we try, it is impossible to respond to them all personally or provide every applicant with a faultless level of service. In addition to that we’re consistently fighting to contest the bad reputation bestowed on us by the ‘cowboy’ agencies. Like it or not, in the world of recruitment, we are highly susceptible to bad reviews – arguably more so than if we operated in another industry.
The silver lining
My advice is simple: the sooner you accept this, the better. Understanding the implications to your business of not returning calls or responding to emails will only lead you to an improved performance overall and offer a competitive lead. This ethos of service excellence, in turn, will creep into the day-to-day business operations and convert market volume to your advantage.
What you can do:
- If you have a social media presence, write-up a social media policy so that all those with access are clear on your crisis plan.
- Respond to all comments. If this is too challenging – particularly if you don’t have a dedicated marketing department – respond, at minimum, to all negative comments within 12 hours.
- Take the conversation offline. The worst possible scenario you could face is a back-and-forth exchange with a volatile candidate or client, for all and their thousands of followers to enjoy. A simple apology and offer of a call to resolve the situation should be sufficient.
- Finally, don’t react! Giving them a piece of your mind will be tempting at first – but don’t do it. Consider your approach, discuss an appropriate response with a colleague, and only then should you post a well-crafted and polite reply.
As mentioned above, the most effective step you can take to safeguard your online reputation is to deliver excellent service in the first place.
- Train your team to communicate effectively with clients and candidates, and implement a policy around achievable response times.
- Encourage clients and candidates to give feedback in other ways. This might include sending them a survey directly after their interaction with you, building a feedback form on your website, or simply following up with them over the phone three months after meeting.
- Be active on your social media channels. Faultfinders are far less likely to be negative about those who are visible and regularly engage in the online conversation. Proactively participating in exchanges where there may be negative commentary is also advisable: let that person know (and everyone else watching) that you want to make this right, and offer the olive branch so you can both move forward.
About the author: David Morel is the CEO/Founder of Tiger Recruitment, one of London’s leading secretarial/administrative recruitment agencies. David founded Tiger in 2001 and has written extensively in the press and wider media advising both employers and job seekers on best recruitment practice.