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REPORT: A Company’s Inadequate Online Presence Provokes “Automatic” Distrust in 42% of Job Seekers

Today we live in an age of radical transparency. In our interconnected world we have almost instant access to a quantity of information that was unimaginable even a few years ago.

This online revolution has changed both simple things – such as how we decide what to eat for breakfast – and complicated, life-changing decisions – such as how we look for jobs. If job seekers want to know what it’s like to work at an organization, insider information in the form of reviews is but a few taps away.

But it has also changed how employers hire. A whole discipline of employer branding has emerged in HR; people working in this field seek to attract and retain talent by telling their companies’ stories and using an array of methods and solutions to proactively communicate the story of what it’s like to work for them.

Indeed’s Company Pages is one such solution, combining employer storytelling with employee reviews and ratings on work-life balance, compensation and benefits and more to provide deep insight to job seekers. The public nature of this feedback can make some employers hesitant, but today’s job seekers require transparency and insight into a company’s culture before even applying. And it’s a two-way street: Company Pages can turn those reviews to their advantage, and help employers more effectively reach job seekers where they are searching by collecting all the information they need in one place.

Recently Indeed redesigned our Company Pages and added new features, empowering job seekers and employers alike to connect faster (more on these improvements later). To mark this, we surveyed 500 workers in Canada to dig into the details surrounding transparency and what it means in the world of job search and talent attraction: What are the new rules for taking control of your reputation and using radical transparency to your advantage?

92% of job seekers say insight into a company’s reputation is important

Not long ago you had to know somebody at a company if you wanted the inside scoop on what it was like to work there.

But now that workers can crowdsource this information through online reviews, we are all in the know, and assessing a company’s reputation has become an expectation for the overwhelming majority of job seekers.

In fact, 92% of respondents say that if they were considering a new job opportunity, insight into the company’s employer reputation would be important, with 42% stating that it’s extremely important.

Those who have grown up in this era of transparency are more likely to require information about a company before applying to an open position. So much so that 54% of people aged 25-34 say that if there is no information about a company’s employer reputation online they would not apply to an open position, compared to 28% of respondents aged 45-54.

What do job seekers most want to know? We asked workers to name the five most important considerations when researching a company before submitting an application.

When researching a company, 59% of respondents note that benefits and perks (such as flexibility) as well as salary ranges are the most important considerations. This is followed by the stability of a company (51%), career growth and opportunity at a company (41%)  and company management (39%).

But what happens if you don’t provide this information?

Inadequate online presence provokes “automatic” distrust from 42% of job seekers

Expectations surrounding transparency have become so ingrained that an absence of online information is a major red flag for many job seekers, with 42% of job seekers in Canada saying that if there is no information about an employer’s reputation online, they would automatically distrust the company.

Over a third (43%) agree that they would actually doubt that the job opportunity is even real.

Again, those who have spent their entire careers in this era of transparency, stand out in this regard – 59% of respondents aged 25-34 agree that if there was no information about a company’s employer reputation online they would not believe the job opportunity is real, compared to 28% of workers aged 55 and older.

Today, then, it’s not enough to just post your jobs online. Job seekers are viewing your jobs in context. Providing rich information about the experience of working at your company is essential to building trust and getting applications.


Negative reviews are better than no reviews

Some employers worry about the impact that negative reviews can have on their reputations. This is reasonable – it’s something that every employer thinks about.

The good news is that many job seekers are open minded and will not automatically write off a company because of bad reviews – 37% of workers say they would neither trust nor distrust an employer with a negative online reputation.

So not being talked about is worse in the eyes of job seekers than a few negative reviews, which are – after all – a fact of life. Meanwhile, how you react to those reviews is very important.

Most people willing to change their minds if employers respond to a negative review

It’s normal to be concerned about bad reviews, of course. But nearly every company receives them, and the biggest mistake you can make is to ignore them. In fact, if employers view them as an opportunity to engage, then they will benefit.

We asked our survey participants how they felt about employer responses to bad reviews.

Nearly two thirds (63%) of workers say their perception of an employe would become much more (10%) or somewhat more (53%) positive if the employer responded to negative review.

As for respondents who said a response wouldn’t change their minds?

Only 29% of the people we surveyed say their perception of a company wouldn’t change.

The takeaway is clear: engagement brings rewards. Treating your reviews as a discussion boosts transparency and a sense of authenticity that is attractive to job seekers. Want to know more? Here are some tips on how to respond to reviews.

Online company reviews second only to salary information when considering a job offer

Online reviews aren’t just important when candidates are researching whether or not to apply to a company. They also play a vital role at the other end of the process, when deciding whether or not to accept a job.

Salary information is most important, with 71% of respondents saying that it is one of the most important considerations when deciding whether or not to take the job.

Following salary information, what people learn from others is also critical. Nearly half (57%) of workers say that word-of-mouth conversations about the company are an important factor. Additionally, 45% of respondents name online company reviews by current and former employees as one of the most important factors for making this decision.

Information provided about and by the company on the company’s website (35%) and on an online review site (29%) are also important factors.

Once again, it pays to open yourself up to employee opinions. Job seekers seek authenticity, and they will recognize and reward it.

Top 5 considerations about a company before applying are salary range, benefits and perks, stability of the company, career growth, and insight into company management.

What is to be done?

The culture and expectations surrounding job search have changed forever. Employers should embrace this new culture of transparency and seize every opportunity they have to start sharing their stories online and build their employer brands.

How can you do this? Each employer’s brand will vary depending on the business and culture of each organization. However, it is good to focus on compelling stories – human stories of how your company makes a difference and why its culture is unique.

Spotlighting how you enable employees to fulfill their own goals and aspirations is also key. Go beyond cliches of foosball tables and tacos. Today’s job seeker wants a job that provides meaning as well as a salary. Many firms highlight philanthropic activities.

Company Pages play a crucial role here. On Indeed, employers can claim their employer profiles and use them to engage current and potential employees by hosting and sharing useful information, such as their company descriptions, photos and videos, jobs and other insights about their companies.

Companies with employer profiles on Company Pages are also automatically eligible for Indeed’s employer recognition awards program, “Top-Rated Workplaces,” which helps job seekers identify the top places to work. These awards are open to all companies with an employer profile on Indeed and require no additional application or monetary commitment.

Company Pages makes it easier than ever to leverage our 1.3 million ratings and reviews on Indeed in Canada to get detailed and specific insights on their culture and performance. There are now two tabs: “Snapshot,” which provides jobseekers with an at-a-glance view of what people are saying about the company, and “Why Join Us,” which is a landing page that employers completely control and can customize with videos, text, photos, social feeds and company updates.

The update also includes a new subscription, Company Pages Premium, which gives employers the ability to feature relevant branded content and jobs to candidates based on their Indeed job searches as well as enhanced analytics providing insights on how your brand is performing on key metrics – how do you compare with competitors on salary? work life balance? You can filter and sort ratings and reviews by location and department.

Employers who choose to subscribe gain access to enhanced page viewer analytics that allow them to better understand and reach the right job seekers with relevant branded content, including featured jobs and reviews, competitive page insights and the ability to feature and respond to reviews.

It’s never been easier, or more important, to build your employer brand. So why wait?

Paul Wolfe is SVP of Human Resources at Indeed.


The survey was conducted by Censuswide on behalf of Indeed among 500 randomly selected workers in Canada, between between April 20, 2018 and April 25, 2018. The margin of error is +/- 3.1%, 19 times out of 20.


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