What to do when an angry candidate posts on your company’s Facebook page


Some people are really sore losers.    It’s a fact of nature – as was proved in recent Yale University study.  The Yale research looked at how apes response when things don’t go their way.  Sure enough, they go….ape.

Interestingly, the researchers found the apes had the biggest tantrums when they realized they made a wrong choice and, as a result, didn’t get their desired reward.

The parallel learning is that humans also have the instinct to blow a fuse when we’re mad at ourselves for slipping up.  Viewed in that light, we can be more understanding of the candidate who, following a poor interview, rails and rants for not getting the job.

Then again, there’s another exotic species (so to speak) that gets mad at everyone but themselves when disappointed by life.

Which rarefied species does this? Celebrities.   There are dozens of examples of stars sulking –in full public view — when passed over for an award.

The list is too long to review here, but here’s a quick sampler of some famous tantrums:  Taylor Swift seethed when Adele won the Golden Globe she coveted. And the cameras caught Samuel L. Jackson cursing when Martin Landau beat him out for an Oscar.

It used to be that only celebrities had a forum to make their displeasure known to the world when rejected.  But now, with social media, we can all easily lash out in anger in view of on an online audience– and there is the occasional candidate who does just that.

At The Bagg Group, we personally interview all candidates before referring them for full-time, contract or temporary placements with our clients.  We do this to make sure they have the right experience, skill set, and attitude to handle challenges.   That’s how we’ve placed almost 60,000 people successfully over our long history.

But candidates who don’t come through agencies like ours, who aren’t pre-interviewed, may not have the know-how to deal with rejection.

Not getting a job is a disappointment that hurts.  One way a few people might deal with their pain is to get mad and get personal – on your company’s Facebook page or other social media network.

So what do you do about an angry rejectee who goes ape on your Facebook page?

Here are some tips:

Take the conversation off-line.  If the candidate is distraught, respond directly via their email or with a call.  Politely, and with sensitivity, let them know what prompted your final decision.

At the Bagg Group, we advocate for constructive feedback both to help candidates move forward with greater success, and to respectfully recognize the need for answers.

When a hostile post targets a person by name or position, delete it:  No employee should be targeted online – employees are due the company’s protection for their personal wellbeing and professional reputation.  These kinds of problems must be dealt with offline, not in a public forum.

Expletives, abusive language, irrational statements, untruths – don’t hesitate to press delete:  Experts in social media concur that no organization should host inappropriate posts.  They emphasize there’s no need to tolerate input that is downright rude or goes beyond fair comment.

How you handle the post can make more of an impression than the post itself.

Social media experts note that we are used to, and accept, a certain number of negative reviews about a company’s products and services.   (Although again, badmouthing employees by name or clearly identified position is never deemed okay)

Visitors do consider how an organization deals with negative, albeit fair, comment.  As studies on the online retailer Zappos.com have found, a respectful, thoughtful reply can increase trust.  For example, the company once posted a response to a customer complaint that read: “Oh no! We are sorry to hear you had such a bad experience.  Is there anything we can do to help?”   That earned instant brownie points with visitors.

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