Win the Battle for the Most Endorsed

I remember when I accepted my first job. I asked my dad what he thought of the company and if he endorsed my plan to accept the offer. And that was it. There was no Internet, big data, or social networks at that time. You simply went with family endorsement and overall blue chip stock market stability for peace of mind.

Today, it’s far more complex. Our behavior and expectations have changed dramatically. And employers have shifted their recruitment and engagement strategies in step.

When you are traveling on business or with family to a foreign town or city, maybe for that soccer game, or for a business meeting … when you search for a restaurant to grab a bite with the team, how many reviews do you read on Opentable or Yelp? At least 10? I know I do. I want to proceed to that restaurant with confidence. Even though the Opentable or Yelp user may not be the most credible as I don’t know these people after all.

Now think back to when you arrived early for your child’s soccer game and didn’t know exactly where to park. But when you approached the lot there were only two other cars already parked. Because you were unfamiliar with the field, you simply followed where others parked, despite the potential for that parking spot to be the absolute worst place to park, ultimately, leaving you hiking further to the field with your folding chairs in tow.

We made that decision because of the need for validation. And it has grown exponentially in the information and digital age where so much data is available to us. Jonah Berger, author of Invisible Influence, refers to this as the hidden force that shapes our behavior and decision making from what we buy to the career opportunity we choose.

As much as we want to believe we are independent thinkers, obtaining the opinions of others is often the first step in taking any action. According to a Glassdoor site survey, the majority of candidates read six reviews before forming an opinion about a company. And 70 percent of people now look to reviews before they make career decisions.

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This change in behavior is not exclusive to the candidate. Companies are evolving their candidate selection process to obtain the opinions of others too. At PRET, the fast-casual food service restaurant chain, the last stage of the recruitment process is a “shop interview” where the team in the store you are being interviewed for does the evaluation following a paid full day on the job. Now that’s crowd sourced decision making. This benefits the candidate too as they get credible opinions about the job from people actually doing it in the real world.

How does your recruitment and selection process provide candidates with credible validation of their decision to join? How are you demonstrating that you understand through all touch points that you are not just interviewing them, but they are interviewing you? How have you empowered your employees as ambassadors to deliver the confidence and validation that candidates need today? Think inside and outside Glassdoor. Think online and in the physical world. The winner in recruiting talent today is the most endorsed.

Michael Savage

Michael Savage, the director of employer brand at JWT INSIDE, is a communications strategist, storyteller, and business partner. He has collaborated with executive leadership across a wide range of industries to develop employer brands that align workforces, attract talent, and drive business forward. These employer brands have inspired enviable online and offline experiences -- conversations, cultures and causes that employees and candidates alike want to join. Contact him at Michael.Savage@jwt.com.