The big-business methods of finding and hiring talent—paying staffing firms or headhunters—can be way too expensive and time-consuming for small businesses. While the average cost to hire an employee is $4,129, trust us—you don’t have to spend that much to find someone great.
The same way maintaining a social media presence can help customers discover your business, using sites like Glassdoor can make it easier and cheaper for you to find quality candidates—and for candidates to find you.
Ryan O’Neil, founder of Curate, a five-person software company, explains, “Review sites work just as well, if not more so, for bringing on team members as they do for bringing on new customers. People trust others so much more than they do the HR guy.”
But let’s back up. Before you start recruiting, you need to polish your company’s online presence. Begin by doing these three things:
1. Build your employer brand on Glassdoor. (And yes, all small businesses have one.)
But wait, isn’t that something only larger companies have to think about? Wrong.
As a small business, you already have a unique brand, whether you’re a neighborhood appliance store, ballet studio, or auto repair shop. Sharing your company’s mission, values, and culture can give potential hires a peek into what your company is like behind closed doors.
Starcity, a 25-person team that creates beautiful community homes in major cities like San Francisco and Los Angeles, does a great job of highlighting their employer brand. They do the following:
- Clearly state what they care about,
- Interview employees about their favorite part of their job, and
- Share a ton of pictures—both on their main site and job sites like Glassdoor.
Humanize your team by showing photos of them in your space. Show you care about the things applicants care about. When you know who you are and share it with the world, you’ll naturally attract applicants who are aligned with your values.
For many candidates, the right mission and culture can seal the deal. “A lot of candidates mention that they saw our Glassdoor page and read the reviews,” says Marielle Smith, VP of people at GoodHire, a 42-person company that runs employee background checks.
“They say that based on what they saw and read, it seems like the people here are happy and that the company is doing very well,” she tells us.
However, make sure you’re honest about everything you say about your business. “If you’re going to use Glassdoor, you need to be legit,” stresses O’Neil. “Be a genuinely good company that is upfront about who you are. You can’t game the system, because if you burn someone, they will own you online.”
2. Ask employees to review your business.
When you’re small, you might hear crickets in your Reviews section. Luckily, that’s only temporary. A great way to drum up reviews is to ask your current employees to review you.
This one’s tricky. You don’t want to get reviews that’ll damage your reputation, and you don’t want reviews that feel forced. So how do you get current employees to genuinely share what they think?
Consider incorporating Glassdoor reviews into your new hire onboarding process, like O’Neil does at Curate. During employees’ one-month review, consider saying:
Please take a moment to visit Glassdoor and post a review about your work experience over the last 90 days. This feedback will help us attract talented new employees (just like you!) who will help our company grow. Spend no more than 15 minutes on this. Remember all feedback is anonymous.
Your Glassdoor reviews are candid snapshots of how people feel about your company. Censoring people will backfire—and will only make them angrier.
Glassdoor reviews are 100 percent anonymous, so employees shouldn’t be scared of writing something genuine, getting caught, and being punished for what they’ve written. And of course, don’t try to piece together who said what in your reviews. That’s no good for anyone.
3. Respond to reviews.
Whether your reviews are positive or negative, it’s important to take the time to respond so people can see you’re actually reading, listening, and most importantly, making changes.
To make it easy, subscribe to Company Alerts, a tool that notifies you about new company reviews, employee satisfaction scores, and CEO approval ratings, so you can respond right away.
- Visit your Employer Center and choose how frequently you want to get alerts. Click on Settings > Email Preferences > Save Changes.
- A window will pop up where you can confirm the type of content you want and where the email address alerts should be sent to. Then click Save Changes.
Not sure how to respond to critical reviews? Let’s take a look at a review that appeared on finder’s profile:
Now, check out Brodsky’s response.
There are a few key things you can learn here.
Apologize for that person’s experience and thank them for taking the time to share their thoughts. The fact that someone spent the time to go to Glassdoor, type in your company name, and review you is huge. It shows that they truly care about their experience with your business. So keep that in mind as you craft your response.
Be direct and specific.
Instead of writing a canned response, Brodsky shows that he read the review thoroughly by addressing the writer’s specific complaints, point by point. Leave no part of the review unturned.
Correct any misconceptions.
Brodsky gently but directly addresses facts that the reviewer got wrong so that readers won’t get the wrong idea about finder. But he does it in a way that focuses on facts instead of emotions.
Try to take the conversation offline.
Brodsky encourages the reviewer to talk to management so they can fix the issue. Another strategy you can use is to suggest that the employee contacts your leadership team at a specific email address to take the discussion offline. This will enable you to give your employee a more actionable type of response.
4. Take the feedback you get seriously.
Responding to Glassdoor reviews can show job seekers—and employees—that you take feedback seriously and care about your team’s happiness. Encourage the team to share their honest opinions, and use the feedback to make your business—and the next review you get—way better.
Jon Brodsky, a country manager at finder, a personal finance comparison website, knows feedback can improve his company, even if it comes off as harsh.
“I make it a priority to read each comment posted on finder’s Glassdoor and will absolutely take on board feedback that is constructive and warranted. It has helped us streamline some HR processes and broaden training opportunities,” he explains.