Let’s be honest. We all have trust issues, right?

Ok, I’ll go first. My dishwasher has broken. Not only has this resulted in the purchase of far-too-big Marigolds, but it means I need to reallocate holiday savings to the purchase of a new dishwasher.

When I head online, all of the dishwashers I like the look of seem to be really good. They all claim to clean effectively, they’re easy to stack, they’re not too noisy, they’re all eco-friendly. Apparently, they’re all ideal. All perfect for my needs.

But, I’m still not convinced. Of course the manufacturers and retailers are going to say that. They would say that! It’s not until I read a stack of reviews from previous purchasers that I’ll make my decision. I just don’t trust what manufacturers say about their own products.

And it makes sense. Frankly, who invests in anything these days without reading at least a couple of reviews?

When was the last time you booked a meal at a restaurant without taking a look on TripAdvisor first? How about your last eBay purchase, you only buy from five star sellers, right?

I don’t know about you, but even when it comes to buying a £7 book from Amazon, I can spend as much time reading the reviews (and desperately trying to dodge any spoilers) as it would take for me to read the book itself.

Of course, I’m not the only one with trust issues. I’m just one of the 92% of consumers who now read online reviews.

But it’s not just consumer review sites that we head to when making a big investment. Employer review sites are more important than ever before, lifting the veil on workplace culture, compensation and even perspective from particular groups, such as females or employees from ethnic minorities.

Yes, when it comes to ratings sites, it’s the employer review sites that offer special value. After all, at worst, a rotten restaurant experience might last a few hours and a dodgy dishwasher can be returned in a few days, but correcting a job move mistake can take weeks, months or even years to properly fix.

Who Do You Trust?

It might not come as a huge surprise that in 2016, the Edelman Trust Barometer revealed that less than half the general population trust CEOs. Instead, it’s the ‘Technical Experts’ who people put most confidence in. In this instance, Technical Experts could include other job seekers, who could also be peers.

This chart also shows how employees and ‘a person like yourself’ are still more credible than leaders, including the Board of Directors.

Similar results were gathered in a 2015 study on trusted sources of career information, where 89% of respondents listed colleague or ex-colleague feedback as trustworthy.

The second highest scorer was family and friends, with 80% of respondents citing them as trustworthy sources. 68% saw Glassdoor as trustworthy and further down the list, at 58%, was employer-generated marketing material.

What does this mean? Simply, that potential candidates put more trust in what other people are saying about your business than what your business is saying about itself.

Managing Trust

You know your candidates are checking out your business on Glassdoor and Indeed before they’re even applying for a role. The reviews on these sites are trusted because they are anonymous and because leaving a review for an employer is entirely voluntary. No-one has forced anyone to say anything. The reviews are legitimate, users might come across poor spelling and bad grammar, but that just makes the reviews even more authentic. 

On your careers site, you might have case studies of happy employees, which is great. But what would also be beneficial for your user is directing her to Glassdoor, Indeed or one of the other sites I’ll tell you about later in this article. After all, on these employer review sites, stories and reviews aren’t censored or cherry-picked. Directing your user to a site not managed by yourselves sends a powerful message that you don’t hide behind Photoshopped employees and professionally written employee profiles.

Responding to Negative Reviews

Sadly, negative reviews are part and parcel of any review site. But often, it’s not the grumble that a potential candidate might be eying up, instead it’s your reaction to that review. 62% of candidates say their perception of a company improves after seeing an employer respond to a review. Rather than ignoring less favourable reviews, you’re much better off by responding. Your HR and Marketing departments will need to think carefully about the approach to this. Stock answers are not recommended. You’re more likely to get a positive response from a reader if you leave a personal response. There are some good examples of CEO responses to negative reviews here

You could also think about who is reading your answer; it could be a potential employee or existing employee. It could even be a competitor. Write your response with this is mind. Think about including a name too, it all helps to build trust. Glassdoor, Indeed and various incarnations of these sites don’t just allow users to rate their interview and on-boarding experience, but their time as an employee as well. It’s the whole candidate engagement process. Right from the job application process all the way through the lifespan of their career with you and finally their opinion of you as an employer once they become alumni. 

So other than Glassdoor and Indeed, where else should you be listening, monitoring and most importantly, responding to candidate and employee reviews?

Review Sites Employees Trust

Here’s where we suggest:

Facebook Company Reviews: Users can post reviews on your careers page and company page.

Yelp: Mainly used by customers, but still important for you as an employer to monitor.

JobCase: Employee reviews generated by location. Large community.

RateMyEmployer: Canadian employer ratings site, with over 45,000 ratings on 10,000 employers.

Kununu.com: Launched in Germany, Kununu now has an international presence with over 1,530,000 employee reviews on 306,000 businesses.

TheJobCrowd:The UK’s leading graduate job review site.

Vault.com: Ranking and review site that also offers careers advice for grads or professionals looking for a career change.

Comparably: Offers insight into compensation and culture in businesses. Has just launched data breakdown option to take a deep dive into reviews by gender, ethnicity, time at company etc.

InHerSight: Review site for women who can share what it’s like to be a female employee at a particular organisation.

CareerBliss: Rating site that includes 4 million salary compensations and 3.5 million job listings.

Xing.com: Ratings and reviews site mainly based on European and German markets.

LinkedIn: Beta mode at the moment, but soon LinkedIn will introduce rating and review facilities on company pages.

These sites need to be monitored regularly. Remember, a bad review isn’t the end of the world. Use it as a springboard to start internal discussions about how you can rectify the problem going forward. Build confidence by using it as an opportunity to show anyone reading the review how you react to negative feedback and that behind the review site storefront, you’re a trustworthy company with a human side after all.

This post was inspired by https://workology.com/employee-candidate-review-si...

Bids & Marketing Executive

Josie co-ordinates TMP's marketing efforts across Europe. She is responsible for managing EmployerBrand.com, implementing the agency's social strategy and co-ordinating events around the UK and across Europe.