Published on 17 Jul 2023

Reading into negative reviews

Assoc Prof Trevor Yu's research reveals that individuals focus more on negative company reviews than positive ones.

Woman looking at a laptop

In the age of social media where people get their information from online sources, a study led by Assoc Prof Trevor Yu of NTU’s Nanyang Business School found that individuals pay more attention to negative company reviews than positive ones on employer rating websites.

To investigate how individuals process company reviews, the researchers employed eye-tracking technology to measure the total time that individuals spent looking at actual positive and negative comments about a multinational employer posted on a well-known employer rating website.

Researchers discovered that participants spent more than twice the amount of time processing negative reviews than positive ones.

The scientists also found that individuals who were actively searching for jobs scrutinised negative reviews even more when the company had a negative reputation.

“Our research provides insights into how individuals process employer information online, which has implications for job search, recruitment and employer branding,” says Assoc Prof Yu.

“To attract the best talent, organisations should adopt a strategic approach to build a positive reputation across various recruitment channels, including social media.”

The study “Investigating electronic word-of-mouth on social media: an eye-tracking approach” was published in a special issue of Human Resource Management (2022), DOI: 10.1002/hrm.22099.

The article appeared first in NTU's research & innovation magazine Pushing Frontiers (issue #21, December 2022).