Attracting and retaining quality employees is key to the long-term growth of your business. The rise of the Internet and its 3.2 billion worldwide users has made finding industry all-stars easier than ever before.
As a business owner a simple search on LinkedIn, a well-placed ad on or a tweet to your band of followers can result in a flood of qualified candidates eager to join your growing team.
Perhaps, until they perform their own research. Just as employers have better access to information on potential hirees, so do job seekers for the businesses they are being recruited to join. The information available on sites like Glassdoor, Indeed and Kununu can be enormously helpful to both parties – until they aren’t.
Created to allow former and current employees of businesses to anonymously report information in areas such as company culture, leadership strength, salaries and more – these sites are often referenced by job seekers before sending in a resume.
The need for anonymity is understandable, but the ease in which false negative reviews can emerge is both startling and potentially hazardous to well-intentioned employers.
Whether you are here because you have already fallen victim to a false employee review or still live and breathe the Scout Motto – this definitive guide to removing company reviews by employees has everything you need to take back your company’s reputation.
Company Review Sites You Should Know
Before diving into the specific actions you should take, let’s first acquaint ourselves with the main offenders – er… I mean job review sites.
First on our list is Glassdoor.com. Launched in 2007 with the mission to “Help people everywhere find jobs and companies they love,” it is the fastest-growing site of its kind with over 11 million employee reviews and 30 million unique visitors each month. To say you should pay attention to this site is an understatement.
In fact – and I will touch more on this later – business owners such as yourself should set up a free company account on Glassdoor to do exactly that. You should also familiarize yourself with the Community Guidelines, which openly encourage individual employees to express “… His or her opinion without fear of retribution, censorship or other unwanted attention.”
More specifically, reviewers are asked whether they would recommend their place of employment to others, to rate their general outlook on the company and whether they approve or disapprove of the CEO.
Next up is Kununu.com. A relatively new player in the realm of company review sites, Kununu is on a mission to eliminate the “surprise” that happens when, “… The reality of a workplace diverges, often negatively, from the cultivated outward perception of a company.” The Austria-based company entered a joint venture with Monster Worldwide in 2016 and reported having collected 1.5 million reviews by winter the following year.
While Kununu exists on a much smaller scale than Glassdoor, it is an emerging platform that should not be ignored.
The third site for employee reviews is the #1 job site in the world and welcomes over 200 million unique visitors each month. While most business owners only think of Indeed as a resource to find new talent, it is home to 72 million company reviews and ratings. Prospective employees are not only using this site to search for jobs and post their resumes, they are relying on Indeed company reviews to help choose their next place of employment.
Out of these three company review sites, Indeed has the most succinct Review Guidelines which, among other things, encourages reviewers to “Ensure any facts you include in your review are true and accurate.”
How to Remove False and Fake Employee Reviews
While each of these sites offers its own take on employee reviews, they all share one thing in common – anonymity. Employees – whether past or present – are essentially given free reign to say what they want without fear of repercussion. As a business owner who would prefer to continue hiring quality employees, it is essential you know how to go about removing a false or fake employee review, and how to manage authentic – yet negative – scrutiny.
Speaking of managing unwanted scrutiny – you should be monitoring Glassdoor, Indeed and Kununu on a regular basis. Each site offers business owners the opportunity to create a free company profile to showcase their workplace dynamic.
Take advantage of this!
Not only will this give you the ability to lend “your side of the story” to the ongoing narrative of your company, it will provide you the opportunity to interact with reviewers. A potential employee who sees upper-level management responding to negative reviews is less likely to dismiss the company over a reported indiscretion.
If a Glassdoor employee review comes in that paints your company in a bad light, offer public gratitude for their feedback and invite them to come to you with their complaints so a constructive solution can be achieved. Even if the negative reviewer ignores your attempt to make amends, future job seekers will respect you for your willingness to hear them out.
Without further ado, discover ways to help restore and secure your company’s reputation with future job seekers and promote a positive workplace dynamic for your current staff.
See Something, Say Something: This witty little adage isn’t just for airport security. If a questionable review pops up on one of these sites, flag the content. Despite the promise of anonymity, reviewers are still required to provide a valid email address and full name to each site before submitting their thoughts on a company.
Moderators will consider your comments and make a final judgement as to the validity of a flagged review. But beware – the majority of these decisions end up in support of the anonymous reviewer and not the company.
It can be extremely disheartening to see a review for your company you know to be false or altogether fake. These websites are beholden to their commitment to transparency, yet the line between false and genuine content is not always clear.
For example, Kununu review removal goes something like this: If a review pops up giving low ratings in all 18 categories with no further explanation, it is immediately flagged for manual review. Kununu will not remove a review unless it is overtly derogatory or offensive – and once it passes through for publication, it will become a permanent fixture on the company’s page.
Bottom line? Unless the review blatantly ignores the site’s guidelines, it’s probably going to stick around.
Get Them to Delete It: While it is rare that a false or fake reviewer will delete their published critique of a business, it can happen. Because reviewers are anonymous and there is no way to know for sure who posted the content, this is not always an option.
If you are actively managing your company’s profile on these review sites and take time to respond to negative (and even inflammatory) comments with grace and understanding, the chances of a voluntary deletion increase. It’s not a guarantee, but it’s certainly worth noting.
The second way to get a user to delete his or her fake review of your company is by issuing a subpoena. Kununu’s Community Guidelines warn users that, “You can be held responsible for your postings – your data will be issued by us to third parties or authorities if we are legally obliged to do so.”
The legal obligation of which they speak is your right as a harmed party to issue a subpoena to a third party website for the personal information of an anonymous poster. If your subpoena is successful, you will have the ability to personally contact the offender and request the removal of their inflammatory review. While this option will cost you up front, ignoring a false review of your company can end up costing you a lot more down the road.
Lawyer Up: When the third-party site itself is unwilling to remove a false or fake review of your company, and your attempts to have the original poster delete it has failed – legal action may be necessary.
Seeking the aid of a corporate attorney is your next, and oftentimes, last-resort option. Obtaining a court order that states certain content on Glassdoor or another third-party site is defamatory or false may be all you need to have the review removed. It is important to note, however, that Glassdoor is not legally required to remove content even if a court orders they do so.
As frustrating as this is, there is still hope when legal action is pursued. Search engines such as Google have a history of accepting court orders that prove the information is false, and will de-index links navigating to the content in question.
If your previous subpoena was successful, and the now-identified user still refuses to remove the defamatory content, you can take legal action against them.
In Glassdoor’s article titled, “Tips on Writing a Review to Avoid Defamation,” the company communicates to users that their words can have legal consequences and their ability to protect against individual lawsuits is limiting. While it was clearly crafted to help the reviewer, it is worth a quick read for business owners and executives.
Call in the Pros: If lawyering-up isn’t your thing and you’ve exhausted every other option, consider hiring an online reputation management firm. Check out my previous post, “Online Reputation Management: What It Is and Why You Need It,” to learn more about what an ORM pro does and how to go about finding one that’s reputable.
If you don’t have time to read another epic blog post right this minute – let me summarize: An ORM specialist will employ proven strategies (and sometimes even attorneys) to achieve the removal of your fake or false online company review.
They have insight into laws that govern third-party websites like Kununu, not to mention a depth of knowledge into how the removal process works for fake employee reviews. Oh, and their job is to manage your online reputation so you can focus on your job – running your business.
This problem can happen to any small or large business. In the modern day of online marketing people have the right to leave reviews about your product, service, and what it’s like working at your company.
Have a point person at your business monitor and manage the various reviews left on social media and other review sites. If professional help is needed, provide them the resources to seek out help.