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Being honest on LinkedIn

LinkedIn has become an indispensable tool for the modern recruiter- however honest, it is still vital to the work we do every day. However, as much as we find LinkedIn helpful to find out information about candidates, it can also be tremendously frustrating having to deal with the level of dishonesty we encounter on the network.

Examples of this can range from small omissions and slightly disingenuous details to outright fictional statements on a profile. Here are a few of the most common examples of dishonesty we have come across on LinkedIn –

Old photos – not having an up to date photo on your LinkedIn profile can be incredibly misleading. While I don’t think you need to update it very often, it should at least be from the last few years, so it gives an accurate reflection of how you look now – who are you kidding?

Missing career steps – sometimes when a role doesn’t work out and an individual leaves a company on bad terms, it can be tempting for them to leave it out of their list of roles on their LinkedIn profile. This kind of dishonesty never pays – it’s quite common for people have ups and downs in a career, and its better to be upfront about this rather than trying to hide it and be found out as a liar further down the line.

Joining groups you are not entitled to – LinkedIn allows you to join any groups you like, so sometimes we see people belonging to groups like ‘Cambridge Graduates’, despite not being one!

Incorrect job titles – deliberately altering a previous job title to make the role sound more impressive is not only dishonest, it is also probably fraudulent.

Spurious endorsements – recently, people have gone mad endorsing their contacts when they have no real knowledge of the person’s capabilities. I personally have been “Endorsed” for a number of my claimed areas of expertise, and indeed many of them are by people who would know of my strength in those areas. However, I also have endorsements from some of my contacts that relate to skills they would have zero knowledge of my capabilities in. This is something that could clearly be misleading – why do they do this???

Trust is critically important to a recruiter, and LinkedIn becomes problematic for us when we can’t trust what people are saying about themselves.

While the Oakstone team all make regular use of LinkedIn when conducting hires, we would never solely rely on it to select suitable candidates for a role. Instead we have a thorough, structured methodology which involves in-depth research, phone contact and face to face interviews, and this ensures we don’t fall foul of individuals who misrepresent or over-state their achievements and competences on their LinkedIn profiles.

It’s surely not limited to LinkedIn either, we must all remember that there is little or no policing of any social sites – people can create virtually fictional characters online if they choose to do so!

Paul Rayner, CEO

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