This article was updated on September 5, 2018.

As organizations increase efforts to woo top talent in a shrinking talent pool, job seekers are turning to social recruiting sites like Glassdoor to investigate potential employers. When reviews are positive these sites allow businesses to showcase their great culture, but negative Glassdoor reviews can damage an organization's reputation and threaten to reduce the number of interested applicants. What is the right approach to overcoming this hurdle in the heated war for talent?

Take Strategic Action

Forbes reports that Glassdoor is the fastest growing jobs site, with 11 million employee reviews for half a million businesses and 30 million unique visitors per month. For organizations of any type, negative reviews are an inevitable part of business. There will always be complaints that show up that could cause prospective applicants to not apply, or apply for a job at a competitor.

According to Forbes, only 12 percent of the businesses listed on Glassdoor engage with the site, even though employers have the ability to control their profile, view basic activity and respond to reviews. Businesses could have a high number of negative reviews — which damages their brand — and not even know.

This raises some questions. How can HR leadership address this? Should organizations reply to negative feedback? And if so, will this really improve their image? Before a business decides whether it should respond to negative reviews, it should consider if responding will have a positive impact. Research suggests it will. Not surprisingly, "62 percent of Glassdoor users agree their perception of a business improves after seeing an employer respond to a review," according to Glassdoor. Indeed, if done properly, responding to negative Glassdoor reviews can improve an organization's reputation.

How to Respond to Negative Reviews

Businesses should consider these four methods for responding effectively to negative reviews:

1. Ask current employees to post reviews.

2. Respond to all reviews — both positive and negative.

3. Acknowledge negative feedback and respond objectively or move to offline discussions.

4. Request that defamatory reviews be removed — Glassdoor has processes in place to remove defamatory or expletive posts from the site.

Social recruiting sites are becoming the new normal. Candidates are seeking authentic data about a business from current and former employees as a primary source of information about a prospective employer. Unacknowledged negative Glassdoor reviews can damage a firm's reputation and cause talented candidates to seek employment elsewhere. To protect the reputation and attract the talent needed to compete, HR should treat its recruiting brand like marketing treats its customer brand.

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