Hiring & Recruiting, Strategic HR

Does Your Company Get a Bum Rap? It Could Be Hurting Your Recruiting Efforts

Negative publicity not only damages a company’s brand, but also its ability to recruit talent. According to the latest CareerBuilder survey, 71% of U.S. workers would not apply to a company experiencing negative press. Female workers are much more likely not to apply to a company experiencing negative press than their male counterparts, 79% compared to 61% respectively.


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The national survey, which was conducted online by Harris Poll on behalf of CareerBuilder from May 24 to June 16, 2017, included representative samples of 2,369 full-time employers and 3,462 full-time U.S. workers across industries and company sizes in the private sector.

“In today’s 24/7 news cycle and social media world, earning and maintaining a good reputation can be a challenge,” said Rosemary Haefner, chief human resources officer at CareerBuilder—in a press release. “It’s easier than ever before for job seekers to research potential employers. Employers that value transparency and take a proactive approach to issues or complaints will have a better chance of securing trust and loyalty and maintaining a positive reputation that can strengthen their recruitment and retention strategies.”

Negative Press and the Bottom Line

Bad publicity can have a serious ripple effect across companies. More than a quarter of employers (26%) say their company has experienced negative publicity, resulting in a hit to their hiring process. Sixty-one percent of these employers, combined, report fewer job offers being accepted, fewer candidate referrals from employees, and fewer job applications as a result of the negative publicity. Other negative impacts to the business included lower employee morale, higher voluntary employee turnover, and a decline in sales.

Bad publicity may turn off candidates from applying—but it rarely deters current workers from leaving their jobs. Less than one in 10 workers (6%) have left a company because of negative publicity.

Positive Press, Positive Results

While negative news travels faster in our social world, companies should share their positive news to strengthen their company overall. Nearly four in five employers who have experienced positive press have seen beneficial impacts such as:

  • Higher morale among employees (42%)
  • Employees were most likely to share positive things about the company on social channels (36%)
  • Boost in sales (36%)
  • More job applications (32%)
  • More job candidate referrals from employees (22%)
  • More job offers being accepted (21%)
  • Lower voluntary employee turnover (19%)