Don't get me wrong. I use LinkedIn a lot, and of course so do all the recruiters at Firebrand.

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.

Only last week I was at a the Recruiters HUB conference in Sydney where a speaker, Kalena Jefferson, HRD for 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 close to 3,000 contacts on LinkedIn. Many of these people are quite well known to me. Some have worked for, or with me (over 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 underperformance, 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, possibly schizophrenic 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.

And 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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Views: 1946

Comment by David King on March 27, 2012 at 12:54pm

I don't put a lot of weight behind online profiles, especially LinkedIn. The concept of someone being "not as cute as picture" pretty much applies here.  What you see is not always what you get..."Trust, but verify." 

Comment by Elise Reynolds on March 27, 2012 at 1:17pm

I don't pay very much attention to the LI recomendations.  I really don't even think of them. I too have been involved in  the "please write a recomendation for me and I will do one for you". 

Comment by Suresh on March 27, 2012 at 1:29pm

I thought we are used to this by now, whether its fake profiles on Linkedin or fancy packaged financial investments or the companies which claim to be the World's #1 or Largest etc.... The one's on Linkedin are probably the easy ones to identify.

Comment by Sandra McCartt on March 27, 2012 at 2:23pm

@ Ralph, do not take offense to the over 50 comment.  It has been so long since i saw 50 that if i dated anyone under 60 i would be considered a cougar.

 

I had a person show up on my company page as an employee.  I sent Linkedin an email and the person was removed.  Like Amber mentioned there are a lot of business names that are almost he same or the same exactly.  Try having a business named Professional Search.  When i incorporated in 79 there were only two in the world.  Now there is a Professional Search on every corner.

 

At this  stage of the game working with people online and off , if somebody tells me the sun is going to come up tomorrow, i go out and buy flashlight batteries just in case.

Comment by Candace Nault on March 27, 2012 at 2:36pm

LOL @ Sandra's Harley comment...so true!  Great article thanks for the post Greg!

Comment by Bob McIntosh on March 27, 2012 at 4:36pm

Love this article, Greg. So true and makes me question if I've enhanced my profile a bit to much. 

Comment by Sandra McCartt on March 28, 2012 at 1:42am

Have you ever een tempted to send an inmail to one of these goofy hornblowers who have all the garbage about having 30,000 connections that goes something like this: 

 

 "Hi Sport, i just noticed that you have 30K connections what i really would like to know is how many winks and roses have you received this week?  Are all of those connections still living or is this like voting in Texas,, when you get bored you make up a new identity and send yourself a request to connect and if you get mad at yourself do you report your bogus profile for sending you spam.  Oh, without looking can you name 10 of those connections and who they work for?  I didn't think so, carry on, and have a good day.

Would it not be great if linkedin had a link entitled, "Report "Pants on Fire Profiles".  I would never get anything done.  It could be automated, if you got 5 pants on fire reports  little flames would show up on the corner of the profile.

Comment by Suzanne Levison on March 28, 2012 at 3:24pm

Good Topic, Very True

Comment by Elizabeth S. Biehn on April 2, 2012 at 2:04pm

Excellent food for thought. As a HR Director doing recruiting, a professional resume writer, and a user of LinkedIn, I found all comments worth reading and digesting.  One thing I emphasize with my resume clients is to tell the truth, the whole truth, et al. I even wrote a resume tip column for what is now Wray Executive Search, and one of my first tips was on honesty - brutal honesty - on one's resume. I know from wearing alot of hats - hiring manager, Hr director, jobseeker and resume writer - that the truth WILL out. 

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