Improve your candidate experience including responding to bad reviews

Improve your candidate experience including responding to bad reviewsWe’re covering the candidate experience this month on the COATS blog: how to improve the service you offer to your candidates and attract stronger candidates in the process. This post and the next one deal with handling the potential negative outcomes that can come in the people business.

Social media isn’t the only forum for people to let you know what they think of you. Review sites are also extremely popular, both for researching companies and sometimes for letting off steam. Sites such as Yelp, Google Places and Yahoo let people talk about their experiences with a company, and sometimes their experiences weren’t great.

Bad reviews are, simply, going to happen at some point, so it’s best to be prepared for them. Here are a few steps for handling a bad review:

  • Understand the candidate’s perspective. Remember, unemployment is one of life’s top stressors so candidates already aren’t at their best. Chances are, they aren’t being malicious or unfair; they’re simply frustrated and need to make their concerns known.
  • Use what’s useful. If the review includes feedback on processes that don’t work, resumes that are emailed in but then lost to cyberspace, receptionists who seem to hang up rather than transfer calls, etc., that’s actually very useful information to have, because it means you can improve the problem and make it better for everyone.
  • Respond to the criticism, but do so from a perspective of customer service:
    • Acknowledge that the candidate did not have a great experience and that you understand what they’re saying.
    • Apologize, either for actual wrongs or for their feeling of being wronged.
    • Do not argue with them. Saying “you shouldn’t feel the way you do” is not only counterproductive, it’s obnoxious.
    • Offer a way of making it right. If their feedback helped you identify a problem that has since been fixed, let them know and encourage them to try your company again. Consider offering them some complimentary training or resume coaching to help improve their chances of getting a job.
  • Finally, thank them for their feedback.

What kind of experiences have you had with review sites? Let us know in the comments!

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