- Is your company the first link (below the sponsors) when the query is run? If not, why not? If the candidate is a top performer then she or he is in high demand and will want to go to a company that is legitimate. Not being the first link when your own company name is Googled starts to raise some questions that you will not be given the opportunity to answer.
- What are 3rd party sites (e.g. blogs) saying about you? If a potential customer has ever asked about you in an industry-related weblog then your potential hires are going to see what people have said about your company. It may not be fair if competitors have posted some of the answers, but that is the reality you are faced with. Dig at least ten search results pages deep and click through each link to see what threaded discussions include your name and how this reflects on your company. If you find dirt, you should create a plan to tackle that dirt. You might also want to create a strategy to mitigate future dirt.
- What are your employees writing about you? These are the search results that potential employees are going to give the most credence to. If you have poor management in place you will definitely want to scour the web for opinions on those people. If you are serious about attracting the absolute best people to work at your company or on your team... manage the bad leaders out or help them improve IMMEDIATELY.
- Many people indicate who their employer is on their social networking page (e.g. LinkedIn or FaceBook). What type of people they are in the outside world may become transparent on those pages and affect how a candidate views your entire workforce. Again, it is just a reality that people have lives away from work and are allowed to do all sorts of fascinating things and have all sorts of unique interests, just hope that those things are all legal and not too divisive.
- Finally, has any unscrupulous blogger or webmaster included your company's name on a webpage that is just looking for some easy money via pay-per-click advertising? I have worked for companies that found their name on pages that were covered with links to all sorts of explicit materials. Set up a Google daily news alert with your company's name to see where your name pops up and report those sorts of false pages immediately. I have always found that Blogger.com and other are very quick to take those pages down.
There are obvious steps that you can take to present the benefits of working for your company. Have a great website with at least one page devoted to educating potential employees about some of those benefits. Give candidates a sense of 'a day in the life' of an employee in the job that they are interested in. Make the first two steps in the application process extremely easy and intuitive. Treat each candidate as if they are a potentially lucrative customer. Be polite, responsive, and appreciative of the applicant's time. Encourage employees who love working for you to spread the word. Be vigilant and act on negative press immediately.