You only have to look at Uber to realise that damaging your company’s reputation can have some serious, negative effects. In Uber’s case, the issues leading to the company’s downward PR spiral include some serious allegations of a sexist working culture, a failing HR department, and stealing trade secrets.
In some cases, however, it doesn’t take much to put a dent in your carefully constructed company image. Last week, Canadian food delivery company SkipTheDishes proved just that when a conversation between its hiring manager and a candidate went somewhat viral.
The Canadian start-up made the news when one of their candidates took to Twitter to share her experience applying for a job. According to the candidate, Taylor Byrnes, she had successfully completed a phone interview and was scheduled to come in for a face-to-face one, when she was told not to bother.
— . (@feministjourney) 13 March 2017
“As a startup company, we seek out those who go out of their way to seek out challenges and new opportunities. We believe in hard work and perseverance in pursuit of company goals as opposed to focusing on compensation,” part of the company’s email reads.
Clearly, Byrnes was not impressed that the company felt her question about salary and benefits made her a bad fit for the company culture. And many on Twitter agreed:
Although SkipTheDishes was fairly quick to respond, the damage had already been done. The company reached out to Byrnes, offering her an apology and a second interview, and posted proof of this on Twitter.
— SkipTheDishes (@SkipTheDishes) 14 March 2017
Unfortunately, this too attracted criticism – from people commenting they were only apologising after being publicly exposed, to criticising the fact that they reached out via Facebook messenger and then shared a screenshot of the private communication.
For HR professionals, the story should act as a warning. Firstly, to not reject anyone simply because they ask about compensation and benefits, regardless of how they phrase their question. And secondly, be aware of the power of social media. Whether you’re right or wrong, once you have been judged by the online community, it can be tough to recover.
At the time of publishing, Human Resources had not been able to reach SkipTheDishes for comment.
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