Job seekers damage recruitment prospects by posting negetive comments about work online, finds survey of 1,000 staff

David Woods , 06 Feb 2012


In a fierce jobs market, ’click happy’ workers should think carefully about their online footprint before posting about their negative out-of-work experiences online, says recruiter Computer People

People are more likely than ever before to take to the web to complain, according to its survey of 1,000 workers on their attitudes to complaining online.

More than half (51%) admitted to posting comments about a negative experience on internet sites.

An online complaint or negative post (for example after receiving poor customer service from an online retailer) may seem an effective way of making a point, but career changers could be unintentionally damaging their online image, warns Computer People.

With that in mind, a reactive online rant after an incredibly frustrating 'please hold, your call is valuable to us' experience, may help to get grievances off the chest but could prove career-limiting in the long run. Complaining online can be an effective way of conveying a point, but doing so in a polite and measured fashion will prevent those spur-of-the-moment comments being misconstrued.

Just as candidates are developing increased awareness of what's on their social media profiles, it is now becoming routine for employers to vet potential candidates more widely online. Applying for a job is now about so much more than just the CV and a reference. Businesses want to absorb as much information as they can from potential hires and therefore they research candidates' web activities in depth.

As the most active group of online complainers, young professionals run the highest risk of a previous comment landing them in hot water. Over four in five (83%) 16-24 year olds have taken to the keyboard to air their grievances online.

Men narrowly edge out women in the complaints stakes, with 10% and 9% respectively describing themselves as 'regularly' taking issue with a company or experience online. Meanwhile, Welsh workers are the most likely to vent online, with 17% 'regularly' complaining, whilst a mere 5% of employees in the South East do the same.

Sid Barnes, executive director, Computer People, said: "It's a well known fact that it's incredibly difficult to cover online tracks once they're made. The last thing a candidate wants is an off-the-cuff complaint to affect their professional reputation in an interview with a potential employer. While employees are becoming increasingly social-media savvy and utilising privacy settings, rude complaints on other sites could just slip though the net.

"It is always wise to think carefully before making a negative comment about an organisation or complaining in a space that it viewable to all. That's not to say you can't complain online - it can be a highly effective medium - but it is worth ensuring any comments are polite and reasonable."


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Online branding awareness must start young

Michelle 06 Feb 2012

I completely agree with this blog. As a Career Coach and ex Recruitment Consultant I'm constantly amazed at people's unawareness of what they post online stays online. I'm passionate about helping people with their career choices and so have taken the step to help kids before they get into the workplace. I'm currently working with a local school in Horsham, West Sussex to educate their pupils on how their online profile and the footprint they leave can have a negative or hopefully positive inpact on their future education/career. The workshop is bein delivered at Millais School to 300 year 11 girls as part of the school's Enrichment Day. If I help one person understand they have control of their future online brand - I'll be very happy, hopefully the ratio will be alot higher. This is also something I educate adults on as I coach them through the recruitment process. It's such an important message for all job seekers.

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