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: 1982

Comment by Bill Schultz on March 26, 2012 at 5:39pm

Any use of "Farcical" gets my attention.  

I don't think LI owes us any fact checking.  let the buyer beware.  When a candidate points to his or her "Linkedin References", a warning bell should go off in your head.  Check how closely the references correspond to the time they left a position.  Happens often that bosses write a reference to soften the blow of a release.  

Comment by Sandra McCartt on March 26, 2012 at 7:29pm

My alarm bells go off big time when i see people bragging about their thousands of linkedin connections and they have a whole string of recommendations..  I agree with Bill, Linkedin has  no legal or moral imperative to validate everything on the site.  Like most things on the internet, one can take the whole thing with a block nor a grain of salt.

I find it almost funny when i see those profiles that i know are so bogus they should glow in the dark.  What is even more humorous is when these "social phonys" send you a resume, you check their linkedin profile and it does't match.  I love asking about those deals and listening to all the convoluted explanations.


Did you ever read through some of the recs and see a rec for the person for a job they don't list on their profile.  Now that's funny to ask about.

Comment by Greg Savage on March 26, 2012 at 9:58pm

That is a hilarious comment Sandra, "profiles that I know are so bogus they should glow in the dark"

Its true what you say and I enjoy very much the way you say it!


Comment by Sandra McCartt on March 27, 2012 at 12:27am

LOL.  the only difference between linkedin and an internet dating site is that the pictures of the old dudes over 50 do not all have a damn Harley in them.

Comment by Ken Forrester on March 27, 2012 at 9:43am

Talk about free publicity-another blog post about LinkedIn?

I am starting to get the feeling that placing the right candidate into the right job begins and end with LinkedIn.

Why are we not talking about Monster, anymore?

Comment by Ralph Steeber on March 27, 2012 at 9:46am

Hey Sandra, watch that "old dudes" stuff. Over 50 is still young!

Comment by Darryl Dioso on March 27, 2012 at 9:47am

How is this any different than lying on resumes or the friends on Facebook who post endless "perfect day" status updates endlessly? LinkedIn is a business tool. In the end, you will need to engage and question people before partnering. 


Comment by Amber on March 27, 2012 at 10:03am

Good post, Greg. I would hope that people using LI to find potential employees, candidates, clients, vendors, or business partners are savvy enough to know that more then that profile or company page needs to be considered!

LI isn't responsible or capable of verifying every user profile. The ones that lie there, lie on resumes and other things as well. It is a company's responsibility to check the veracity of the information they're given by candidates and/or recruiters.


Comment by Jody Simon on March 27, 2012 at 10:20am

LOL at the article and likening LinkedIn to an online dating site! LinkedIn should not be responsible for monitoring these profiles. We should. Truthfully, are people misrepresenting themselves online any differently than they are on their overexaggerated resumes? You wouldn't hire a candidate based upon their paper CV so as far as I'm concerned it's the same difference.....

Comment by Amber on March 27, 2012 at 11:50am

@Mike P - And I never knew that my company has a shipping clerk and A/R person. Of course, I'm sure those people actually just chose the "wrong" Eastman Group. So I guess they're probably not dishonest, just not real bright...

I do think LI should allow a page admin to remove profiles as they choose from a company's profile page.


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