Is a negative employer brand scaring away your company’s top recruits before they’ve even interviewed? From LinkedIn to Facebook, it’s never been easier to find social contacts who have worked at virtually any company. And sites like mean candid employee reviews are just a quick Google search away. With all this information at candidates’ fingertips, companies can’t afford to take a laissez-faire approach to reputation management. After all, a bad reputation can cost a company at least 10 percent more per hire, according to Harvard Business Review.

In today’s candidate-driven job market, it’s not enough just to avoid bad reviews. Companies must proactively manage their reputation and be perceived as a desirable place to work. Good news: you don’t need to hire a PR firm to handle your HR. Here are three easy steps to improve your reputation:

1. Read your Glassdoor reviews and get to the root of any problems.
Some companies turn a blind eye to negative Glassdoor reviews, dismissing any complaints as the work of a few disgruntled employees. While you may not give these reviews any credence, a candidate might take them very seriously– and even turn down interview opportunities because of them.

Check your reviews: are there recurring complaints about specific issues or departments? Be prepared to address these concerns as truthfully as possible during the interview. For example, a candidate might be reading a review that pertains to a now-defunct department or issues the resulted from a past merger. If your company has a number of negative reviews, you may wish to get out in front of the issue and proactively explain what you’ve done to address the issue.

2. Turn employees into internal ambassadors

Don’t let embittered ex-employees control the story of your company. Employees with an axe to grind are often the most motivated to tell others about their experiences, so you may need to take action to empower your happy employees to talk about you as well. Make sure that employees who love the company are part of the recruitment process. Consider telling employee success stories on your company blog or social media. And when you come across an employee who is thriving, don’t be afraid to ask them to write a review on a job site– as long as you keep the request fully optional.

3. Show (don’t just tell) that you are passionate about the issues that matter to your target talent.

When you have defined a target market segment that you want to recruit, find out what matters to them and then show them that your company shares these values. To harness the work you do in these areas for recruiting, make your work visible to your target employee segment. For a company that wants to show that it’s committed to diversity, for example, your recruiters should be showing up at job fairs hosted by organizations like the National Society of Black Engineers and Women in STEM. If you want your company to be known for its CSR initiatives, consider getting involved with local nonprofits and community organizations where your activities will be visible to job seekers in your target geography.

Companies who don’t manage their reputations lose out on great candidates. Make sure your employer brand isn’t making candidates think twice about your offer.

What have you done to improve your company’s brand? I invite you to share your tips in the comments below.

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