LinkedIn is one of the most widely used social networking sites for professionals, but how reliable is your candidate’s LinkedIn account profile? Trying to fill your company’s open positions can often be as difficult and frustrating as searching for a job yourself. So when you find someone who not only has the necessary skills and experience but is also looking for a job, it can be easy to get caught up in the moment and reach out right away rather than doing some research first. The safest policy is to view the credentials presented to you as a starting point.

False Advertising

So just how truthful are LinkedIn’s users? One recruitment firm conducted a study in which 82 percent of respondents believed that candidates either exaggerated or lied about their skills and experience on LinkedIn. Some other conclusions were that 67 percent of employers didn’t view job titles and responsibilities in previous roles as reliable, 15 percent distrusted listed periods of unemployment, and 12 percent felt the same about a candidate’s qualifications and education. Some warning signs for partially or entirely fabricated work histories are incomplete profiles, multiple profiles, a lack of recommendations or connections and multiple pages for the same position at the same company.[1]

Infographic describing the warning signs of a fabricated LinkedIn profile.

Taking what you read on LinkedIn with a grain of salt will protect you from making bad investments, wasting your employees’ time and most importantly, wasting your own time. Don’t proceed until you’re able to confirm at least some of the candidate’s stories either by speaking to a shared business associate or by getting in touch with the individual’s other contacts.

If those options aren’t available, you can contact him or her through LinkedIn, but don’t be afraid to put them on the spot. If you like what you see, the dialogue can shift to a conversation over the phone and eventually to a face-to-face interview. At this point, leave no stone unturned – cover every germane aspect of the candidate’s work experience and your company’s open position. You don’t want to start working with a new employee on day 1 without first making sure that he or she is fully qualified.

Millions to Choose From

LinkedIn is growing at a rate of 2 new members every second and has 106 million active users every month with a total of 325 million users. Its members live in over 200 countries and territories with 70 percent of its membership base accessing it from outside of the United States.[2] Founded in Mountain View, CA in 2002, LinkedIn shares hometowns with Google and was acquired by Microsoft in December of 2016 for $26.4 billion.[3] The fields and industries best represented on the social network are higher education, information technology & services, and financial services, composing 18.7 percent, 13.9 percent and 11.8% of its total members respectively.[4]

LinkedIn is growing at a rate of 2 new members every second and has 106 million active users every month

Not just for business owners and private individuals to match talent with open positions but also to consult with industry experts and forge business relationships, LinkedIn has succeeded where many other tech companies have failed by staying relevant. But with any internet-based group of several hundred million people, given that the medium lends itself to anonymity, there’s bound to be some embellishment. Not only is that tougher to spot than any instances of outright lying, it is also more common. The safe answer to if you should take a potential contact’s work history at face value is to always question the trustworthiness or accuracy of a stranger’s LinkedIn profile. The best approach to an unfamiliar LinkedIn profile is also a great approach to life: don’t take someone else’s word for something, confirm it for yourself.

The Costs of a Bad Hire

The effects of a poor fit are felt far and wide in a company, particularly at small businesses with start-up like environments but also in close-knit or smaller departments within larger companies. No matter where a former employee was on the food chain, the costs involved in firing and replacing them will often give a recruiter pause when it comes to making a decision. The responsibility of stopping these bad investments from happening falls to whomever does your company’s hiring, be it internal or external recruiters, HR, or various department heads. At any point between pre-screening and an interview, whoever oversees hiring at your company must ensure that all relevant skills and experiences are accounted for to prevent incurring any of the following expenses associated with terminating a bad hire:[5]

Illustration of a scale with a clock on one side and a dollar sign on the other.

    • Missed productivity/morale: The sudden firing of an employee, even if he or she has only been there for a few weeks, will have a noticeable effect on your remaining employees’ productivity and morale
    • Lost time due to recruiting and training another worker: Filling an open position at your company is a multi-step process that involves multiple departments. Any position that doesn’t need to be filled means that the other departments can spend more time on their primary responsibilities.
      • Expenses of recruiting and training a replacement: Locating the right candidate, hiring them, and getting them up to speed on how their job works requires a significant amount of money and employee time
      • Impact on services and product quality: Whether certain clients are accustomed to dealing with certain employees or specific tasks always are always done by the same employee, performance can suffer as responsibilities change hands in the wake of a termination.

As a business owner, the last thing you want to is make a bad investment. Hires that don’t work out for whatever reason will cost you time and money so you’ll want to make sure that everything adds up before making an offer. If your employees lack the time or resources to conduct sufficiently thorough employment searches, consider outsourcing your company’s recruitment needs. TPG Staffing provides employee recruiting among one of its many services and is dedicated to finding our clients the talent they need to outstrip their competition. Give us a call today at 732-246-7100 to learn more.