Compelling online presence now ‘essential’ for attracting top talent, experts say

Survey finds majority of jobseekers run web searches on would-be employers

A credible online reputation is becoming increasingly essential for attracting top talent, research published today has found.

The survey found that seven in 10 (70 per cent) jobseekers would not apply for a role until they had researched their would-be employer’s online reputation, and more than half (56 per cent) said they would not apply to a company that lacked an online presence. 

“While we’ve all heard stories about companies checking out candidates’ social media profiles as a way to assess their suitability for a job, this process now goes both ways,” said Bill Richards, UK managing director at jobs website Indeed, which carried out the research in collaboration with Censuswide. “Employers need to win the trust of potential recruits, and transparency is one of the most effective ways to achieve this.” 

The survey, which quizzed 545 UK workers in April about their job-hunting preferences, also discovered more than half (57 percent) would “automatically distrust” a business with no digital identity. 

Speaking to People Management, Dan Hawes, co-founder and marketing director at the Graduate Recruitment Bureau, said this was especially true for graduate jobseekers, who often turn to the internet when looking for a role. 

“It is essential your company has, at the very least, a website otherwise you will not be perceived as even existing in their eyes,” Hawes said. “Content is best coming from one of your employees rather than the marketing team as graduates are also seeking transparency and authenticity at every turn – who better than from the horse’s mouth?”

The Indeed research also found that a “strong brand name” remained an asset, with only 11 per cent of jobseekers saying a recognisable name was “unimportant” when looking for a job. 

Lee Biggins, founder and managing director of CV-Library, told People Management that employers should consider social media to build their company’s brand. 

“It’s helpful to be on at least one social media platform, though the more accounts you have, the larger your brand awareness becomes,” Biggins said. “What you post online says a lot about you as a business and employer. It has a huge effect on your employer brand, something which today’s professionals take very seriously.” 

For attracting diverse talent, Beverley Nicholas, regional talent director for Michael Page, told People Management she had used Instagram to give potential employees a taste for the company. 

“Social media gives a real richness for companies, and we’re after a diverse range and profile of employees, who really expect that level of accessibility to businesses,” Nicholas said.

According to the survey, the internet is fast replacing word of mouth as a source of information on how employers treat their staff, with less than a quarter (23 per cent) of jobseekers willing to overlook a company’s negative online reputation. 

Deborah O’Sullivan, operations director at Ten2Two recruitment, advised businesses to keep a close eye on employer review websites like Glassdoor and TheJobCrowd.

“We’re in a world now where peer reviews are often more important than company managed communications,” O’Sullivan told People Management. “If your reviews are currently giving the wrong impression, take a look at the reviews to see why.”