Your reputation precedes you
‘’Your reputation precedes you’’ a leading statement which can be interpreted in many ways, do we assume we have a good reputation and if we don’t, what impact can this have on our ability to attract the right people to join us in our business?
On a personal level your own reputation is largely within your control, however when it comes to the scale and complexity of the reputation of an organisation there are many more facets to consider.
- Financial performance
- Quality Products and Services
- Customer experience and levels of service
- Working environment / Culture
- Leadership and innovation
Reputations will of course fluctuate for most companies, however those managed well year on year continue to thrive. They build, engage and inspire employees, nurture strong relationships with stakeholders and earn the trust and respect of advocates who will help them navigate the inevitable bumps in the road. Good reputations are hard to build and once damaged are hard to restore, once opinions are formed, they are hard to eliminate.
Recruiters are inevitably often tasked with representing a business with an unknown reputation, for example with a start-up business. Candidates attracted to these blank canvas propositions tend to embrace the opportunity of being a key influencer in contributing to that growing reputation, however the reputation of the founders, investors and existing leadership team will have their own reputation, and this will be a key factor in their decision to progress further or not.
In recent months we have all witnessed social media and press articles exposing businesses that displayed acts of generosity and went to amazing lengths to support people and communities during the initial lockdown, instantly improving or enhancing their reputation and of course at the other end of the scale those businesses that got it terribly wrong, reacting with a lack of human empathy and consideration for others.
If a poor business reputation stems from employer / employee issues, it can put many candidates off, regardless of the role on offer. As recruiters it can help us to improve the probability of attracting good candidates if we can discuss known reasons for a poor reputation, if the source of the problem has been identified and what measures have been put in place to improve. This can then be openly discussed with potential candidates who may as a result feel more inclined to progress further.
An obvious reason for candidate’s alarm bells to ring is when businesses have a higher-than-expected staff turnover. The revolving door leads to uncertainty and inconsistency, with a lack of business knowledge across teams and creating a more challenging working environment. We would rather face these problems ‘head on’, being honest and open when representing the business to minimise further issues later down the line.
Some people will react more objectively and less emotionally than others to the reputation of a business. If the role is right for them and giving them then exposure needed to further their career, they will take a chance, in their eyes, worst case scenario it is a short term move to gain experience and often these businesses have a similar opinion realistically expecting people to sink or swim.
Good reputations are hard to build and once damaged they are hard to restore, once opinions are formed, they are hard to change. Treat your personal and businesses reputation with the care and attention it deserves to ensure you can attract and hold onto the best people in the market.