The trend for checking reviews before making significant purchases is filtering into the world of work and job hunting, according to new research by global resourcing specialist BPS World.
The research found that job seekers are increasingly reliant on researching their potential employers online and keen to have a number of job offers on the table before making their decision.
The online reviewing culture pioneered by sites such as Amazon and Trip Advisor is credited with transforming the decision-making process for consumers, with transparent reviews from real people considered more trustworthy than traditional advertising messages. BPS World’s research polled a group of employers and employees to explore how much this behaviour is influencing both senior business figures and employees when it comes to work and careers.
The survey found that more than three quarters of employees (79%) would be sure to check out an employer online before accepting a job offer, and 74% of employers doing the same before hiring a candidate.
Facebook ranked the second most likely place a potential employee would look, with LinkedIn and Glassdoor proving less popular choices. Interestingly, this likelihood to extensively research potential employers seems to be a recently emerging trend, with 62% of employees admitting they didn’t check out their current employer online before accepting their job offer.
Simon Conington, Founder and MD of BPS World said: “These findings suggest that the open, consumer-led platform of Facebook is preferred for creating a truer picture of what the potential employer could be like, in a similar way to the ‘travellers’ own photos’ on Trip Advisor. There is an honesty about what people share online that often isn’t reflected in the way a company presents its employer brand.”
Employees were also asked about their attitude to job searching, and the research found that they like to have a shortlist of job offers rather than having to take whatever comes their way. 46% of those surveyed said they ‘shopped around’ and had between two and five options to consider before they accepted their current position, and when asked what they considered to be an ideal number of opportunities to choose from, the largest proportion of respondents said they’d like three potential roles to be on the table before making a decision.
Both employers and employees were also polled on their personal purchasing behaviour, and the results showed a similar reliance upon online research, with 76% of employees and 85% of employers saying they use online reviews before making big purchases. The research also found that once both groups have found a brand they trust, a significant proportion of them remain loyal to them, with 53% of employees and 47% of employees saying they would always buy their products over a competitor’s. Again, this behaviour is shown as influencing us in our careers, with the average longest service at one employer being 7.26 years for the employees surveyed. When asked why they had stayed with the same employer for so long, almost half (47%) said they simply enjoyed their job, while more than a third (38%) said it was because they were treated well and felt respected and valued.
Conington concludes: “This research proves just how discerning both bosses doing the hiring and those applying for jobs now are. There’s greater competition for roles, which means employers can afford be choosy, and both groups are going online to find honest information that helps them make their decision. Both bosses and employees therefore need to think about how their company and themselves are talked about and presented online, and if there’s anything negative, controversial or inflammatory then they need to get it resolved or removed. Ignoring it could mean companies miss out on hiring a talented team member, or that an employee loses out on landing their dream job.”