Beware the LinkedIn liar!

Don’t get me wrong. I use LinkedIn a lot. And so should every recruiter.

But there are issues with LinkedIn. Flaws.

One of the most obvious is that LinkedIn appears to have no system to monitor accuracy of data on their network. Indeed, they freely admit that many profiles are bogus, and that many people have several LinkedIn profiles.

Recently, I was at a the Recruiters HUB conference in Sydney where a speaker from Kelly Services, spoke amusingly, about their office fish ‘Moby’, who apparently has a LinkedIn profile. And get this. Moby once received a headhunt approach via LinkedIn for a sales job!

Increasingly, I have started to detect flagrant misrepresentations on LinkedIn. I have more than 7,000 contacts on LinkedIn. Many of these people are quite well known to me. Some have worked for, or with me (over a 30 year career, that is a lot of people!), or I have interviewed them for a job, or we have done business together.

And even though these people know they are linked to me, many of them create LinkedIn profiles that are as fictional as a Harry Potter novel!

A recruiter who held a bog standard recruiting role with my company, who now, miraculously, was apparently a ‘Divisional Manager’ while with us. A ‘LinkedIn Retrospective Promotion’.

Or a failed recruiter, who was managed out of the business for under-performance, now proudly boasts on her profile that she was the ‘Office Top Biller’ for three quarters out of four!

Or the receptionist – a temp when she was with us, what is more – who has morphed into the ‘Group Administration Manager’ on her LinkedIn profile, which on face value now looks very impressive indeed!

Or (and these are all real actual examples, I hasten to remind you) the ditsy, hopeless recruiter who eventually stole from the company, who just simply leaves the year she was employed here off her profile entirely! And then adds the inconvenient extra 12 months on to another job!

It happens all the time.

And it’s not just qualifications, work history, achievements and job titles that are inflated, exaggerated and quiet simply fabricated. The recommendations on LinkedIn are often as farcical as a John Cleese special.

Like the Senior Manager who worked for me, who eventually had to fire a woefully incompetent Manager… who now brazenly recommends her in glowing terms on LinkedIn! Are we surprised to find she recommends him back in a cozy, all too familiar, LinkedIn tit for tat recommendation love-in?

How can we possibly take LinkedIn recommendations seriously when they are mostly solicited, reciprocal, and worst of all – self-published! If you don’t like what they say, even in nuance, you don’t approve it.

Total nonsense. Useless. Farcical. John Cleese would approve.

LinkedIn has great application. But it is riddled with flaws too. For a start it is packed with fraudulent, exaggerated and inflated profiles.

Good recruiters treat LinkedIn no different to an unsolicited resume.Its our job to check and verify. Sure. But still, it begs the question. Does LinkedIn bear a duty of care to users of their service? In many cases we pay to secure access to these profiles. If they are fraudulent, and we make a hire, or recommend a hire, on the basis of LinkedIn provided data… does LinkedIn bear liability?

Should they?

But in the meantime, legal niceties aside, beware the LinkedIn liar.


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About Greg Savage

Over a career spanning thirty years, Greg Savage has established himself as a global recruitment leader. Greg is a regular keynote speaker at staffing and recruitment conferences around the world.

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66 Responses to Beware the LinkedIn liar!

  1. WorldCynic April 23, 2015 at 7:46 am #

    Also, I find it interesting that Google’s first page of search results for the search of exact phrase “LinkedIn liars” and “2015” yields comments from Europeans and Australians, and not Americans. Does this mean more Americans are liars?

    Also, more disturbing, if employers see the profiles of liars and don’t tell those employees to correct their profiles, one would think those employers are themselves liars, because they knowingly hired liars.


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