Workplace Brand Management: Protect Your Online Reputation

May 4th, 2012

The competition for top talent doesn’t let up, even during a weak economy. The best and most highly skilled employees can easily find work anywhere, during any job market, and most of these job seekers are savvy enough to look before they leap into a commitment with a new employer.

Before talented candidates apply for a position with your firm, they’ll conduct a quick Google search at the very least. And before they accept or even consider a formal offer, they’ll probably conduct in- depth searches of your organization, including the names of company managers and executives. Sites like JobVent, Job Bite and Glass Door are easy places to search for testimonials from current and former employees, and if you think potential candidates won’t read these reviews, think again.

So what can you do to make sure your workplace comes off well? And if the news isn’t great and your reputation is already in trouble, what can you do to turn the tide?

Online Workplace Brand Management: Focus on the Positive

The first step to online workplace brand management is finding out what’s out there. Put yourself in the position of a talented candidate. What kinds of things would you want to know about a potential employer? Visit Google and run a search on your company’s name. Then head to some of the testimonial sites listed above.

If the news is positive, or if you find nothing of any special relevance, great. You’re online brand is still under your control. Just make sure you conduct these checks on a fairly regular basis. And in the meantime, find ways build your brand from the inside out. The best way to gain a reputation as a fair, respectful, or fun place to work is to actively encourage a culture of fairness, respect and fun. Decide how you’d like to target your workplace brand and focus on retaining the kinds of employees who best support your brand and your overall business. Flood the web with good news. Encourage content employees to post positive testimonials. Don’t offer to pay them, since this can interfere with the integrity of both the website and your business. But do let them know that if they’re happy, sharing their feelings online will give your company a boost.

Online Workplace Brand Management: Damage Control

If you conduct a search on your company and the results aren’t good, take action. First, recognize that negative testimonials may or may not have substance. They may not even be written by actual employees. But if they do, and they are, investigate possible reasons for this discontent. Meanwhile, see if you can have any abusive or inappropriate reviews taken down by the site administrator.

No matter what you find, you should always be working to expand your company’s online footprint. If you don’t have a Facebook, Twitter, or blog presence, now is the time to establish them. Encourage your contented employees to bury the bad press under an avalanche of good news. This is an honest, effective, and easy way to tip the balance of public opinion back in your favor.

For more help with online workplace brand management, recruiting, or retention, contact The Palmer Group and put our experience to work for you.

Job Seekers: Clean Up Your Online Reputation

March 23rd, 2012

So you’ve made a few public or semi-public mistakes, and traces of these mistakes have found their way onto the internet. Maybe these mistakes involve a youthful indiscretion, a random photo taken at a party, a self-published book of regrettable poetry, or a poorly chosen business partnership. Or maybe you didn’t think twice before posting deeply personal information on your “secret” blog. But what’s done is done, and now these odd bits and pieces of you are circulating in the public sphere, providing only an incomplete glimpse of the whole complex tapestry that is your life. 

Welcome to the internet age. Grab a broom. It’s time to clean up.

Your Online Reputation: First Things First

It may sound like closing the barn door after the horse is gone, but there are a few simple ways to avoid online reputation problems before they begin. First, don’t underestimate the impact of an online persona. An employer who conducts a quick search of your name will take everything she sees to heart. She has no need to give you the benefit of the doubt. She doesn’t know you, and she has plenty of other candidates lining up for the position. Even the most subtle red flag can tank your shot at an interview.

Second (and we can’t stress this enough), if you don’t want the world to see something, don’t put it on the internet. Privacy settings may or may not be trustworthy and there are no secret blogs. If you have a colorful past, an odd-looking mole, or an unpopular opinion, that’s fine. You’re a human being. Just think of your future before you sit down at a computer and share it with the world.

Assess the Damage

Google yourself on a regular basis. Scroll through the first three or four pages of search results and assign each questionable item to either of two categories: 1) A proud part of who you are, or 2) slated for removal.

There isn’t much you can do about the first category. Think of this as a screening mechanism. Maybe you won a hot dog eating contest, held a brief job in a sketchy night club, or published a controversial essay. If an employer can’t handle this news, he may not be the right employer for you.

As for the second category, when your list is complete, go back and tackle each item one by one. Contact the owner or webmaster of the site where the information is posted and negotiate to have it taken down.

Create Positive Press

If you can’t get the negative information removed, try to bury it under an avalanche of positive press. Establish a blog or website populated with content that helps you shine. Include plenty of links to any positive news articles about yourself, and encourage friends and well-wishers to comment about you on their own sites.

Hire Help

If you can’t seem to remove a stubborn bit of information, or you don’t have time to conduct regular searches of yourself, there are plenty of paid services that can help you defend your reputation for a fee. These include Reputation.com, Defendmyname, and Naymz. Some of these aren’t cheap, so don’t waste money on something you can easily do for yourself. But factor in the high cost of a damaged reputation and its impact on your job prospects.

For additional help with your online reputation control strategy, contact The Palmer Group and talk to our staffing and employment experts.