From highs to lows and everything between, it’s human nature for people to share their life experiences. These discussions were initially limited to face to face interactions, but technology has completely altered the way we exchange information.

And while the telegraph, telephone and television each transformed our ability to communicate, perhaps no medium of communication has had as significant an impact as social media. The human resources space is far from immune, particularly when it comes to the candidate experience, and how they’re shared online.

Here’s what you need to know.

The 411 on Candidate Reviews

It’s an easy pitfall to primarily think of social media as the exclusive domain of recruiters looking to discover and evaluate new potential candidates. In fact, a whopping 55 percent of recruiters used this approach in 2014 — up by a full 13 percent from the year before, according to Jobvite’s 2014 “Social Recruiting Survey.”

And while it’s true that social media is a terrific tool for recruiters, it has also given amplified voice to candidates — both satisfied and disgruntled alike.

Just how frequently do applicants report bad experiences? A recent nationwide CareerBuilder survey revealed the following: 22 percent of dissatisfied applicants will advise others not to work at a particular company, and 9 percent will go so far as to discourage others from buying that company’s products and services. Conversely, 37 percent of candidates who had positive experiences with a company were likely to encourage others to seek employment there.

Why does it matter? Because of the common misconception that most candidates enter the application process bias-free.

In fact, The Talent Board’s annual “Candidate Experience” research report reveals that more than half of candidates have preconceived notions about businesses and brands prior to recruitment. A large factor in this pre-supposed bias? Feedback from previous candidates via social media.

In other words, if you’re among the vast majority of employers who don’t follow up with candidates about their experiences, you’re just fumbling around in the dark.

Making the Most of Bad Reviews

From popular social media sites like Facebook and LinkedIn to review sites like Yelp!, people are talking. Regardless of your best efforts, all of that talk won’t always be good, so damage control is essential. What can you do to regain control?

Above all else, be responsive. Ignoring bad reviews won’t make them go away. A prompt response, meanwhile, is not only respectful, but also indicates your willingness to engage and improve.

Also, keep the candidate’s perspective as the focus of your response. After all, it’s unlikely that a bad comment or feedback is merely an irrational, spite-induced attempt to take your company down. At the worst case, it’s a response to a serious problem in your recruiting process which you now have the means to remedy.

Best case? You’re simply dealing with a frustrated candidate enduring a stressful job hunt. In either situation, maintaining a customer service perspective will lead to the best outcome. Acknowledge, apologize, and avoid engaging in an argument. While the “customer” may not, in fact, always be right, a non-professional response will get you nowhere.

Perhaps most importantly, use the feedback to assess your human resources and recruiting processes and procedures. Every bad review is an opportunity to be better. If applicants are complaining about resumes lost in cyberspace or excessive phone transfers, take a look at the process and take steps to correct it, if necessary. Let candidates know that you’re trying to make it right, thank them for their feedback, and welcome them to try again.

And remember: one bad or good review isn’t going to make or break your company. However, a failure not only to respond, but to make corrections along the way bodes well for neither your business nor your brand. Ultimately, while social media has empowered candidates to express their experiences, this forum represents not an obstacle, but an opportunity for organizations willing to listen, learn and adapt.

To know more about how Witty Parrot can amplify your Social Media Messages and create a compelling candidate and employee experience watch the video below.

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