How Customer Reviews Help You Recruit Star Performers. Or, Don't.

The topic of Online Brand Management as it relates to recruiting candidates is frequently covered and something I know every employer is (or should be) concerned with.

One of the better articles I have read comes from Monster and is titled Online Brand Management: How to Protect your Company’s Online Identity. In this article Michael Fertik, founder and CEO of ReputationDefender discusses the many sites employers need to stay on top of that allow people to rate and review companies, such as Glassdoor - here is Glassdoor's profile for Apple, Inc. Mr. Fertik gives a good listing of similar sites that employers need to monitor.

But what about sites like Yelp and other popular rating sites that allow consumers to rate everything from restaurants to chain retail stores and other professional services?

I was reminded of just how important it is for employers to monitor these sites while dining at a popular local restaurant here in Santa Cruz on Saturday night.

We ate in the bar area and our server/bartender was simply amazing. Great personality, knowledgeable, attentive, efficient, etc. The whole package. The kind of guy that brings customers in and keeps them coming back. If you visit one time he is likely to know your name the next time you return. A restaurant's equivalent to a star programmer at a technology firm.

Every restaurant in Santa Cruz would want this guy working for them.

So how did this particular restaurant recruit him?

They didn't. He recruited them.

As it turns out, this guy was planning a move to Santa Cruz and visited Yelp to find the highest rated restaurants in the area. After studying the reviews he chose the top three businesses he wanted to work at, and applied for a job. The restaurant we dined at Saturday night was the lucky winner.

It got me thinking - how many businesses actively manage their online reviews?

On Yelp most businesses have under a few hundred reviews and maybe a few trickle in each week. It would be easy to manage this volume and there really aren't that many significant review sites to monitor.

Yet, in the five years of me personally being a power user of review sites like Yelp and a few others only one business has ever reached out to me as a result of a review I posted. The business that reached out to me was a hotel in San Francisco. Their company brand manager sent me an email through Yelp thanking me for the review, my business, and offered me their personal contact information in the event I ever had a problem and needed to speak to someone at their company.


That hotel is now the only one I stay at when I am in SF.

But this was a positive review! No business where I posted a horrible review has ever reached out to me. Ever. Who knows, if they did reach out, acknowledged the problem and invited me back I may try it again and change my review.

But most businesses - to their detriment - don't pay attention to good or bad reviews, or figure they don't really matter.

And they would never have the opportunity to land that great employee like the star performer I encountered Saturday night.

Post by HRmarketer CEO Mark Willaman. Join Mark on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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