The Most Important Part of a LinkedIn Profile for an Employer or Recruiter

Of late I have come to the realization that, as a recruiter, besides a person’s location and industry, the most important part of a potential candidate’s LinkedIn profile is the “View Recent Activity” button.

Why?

Because it shows how a person acts publicly in what is supposed to be a professional network.

One woman today posted a photo of her new born baby.  The post was apologetic in tone.  “Sorry I have not been updating you recently but I have a good reason…”  Does she really think her LinkedIn network noticed her absence?  And why is she sharing details of her personal life, literally, with the world?  Would she bring her personal life into the workplace as well?  Would it just be about births (which is understandable) or will her co-workers have to hear complaints, comments, criticisms and praise about her family day in and day out?

Now the birth of a child is a joyous occasion.  The death of a child, parent or colleague is not.  It’s sad and we can all feel sympathy but the same questions I posed above also hold true when publicly announcing a tragedy.  These announcement, both happy and sad, are perfect for Facebook but not for LinkedIn.

And then there is the politics.   A woman recently opined that is was a shame that the person who apparently was going to attack Donald Trump failed.  (I reported her because such comments are inexcusable and possibly criminal.)  A man shared his opinion that President Obama will go down in history as the greatest president of all time.  (From the comments posted one would be excused for thinking he was kidding.)   And then there are the pictures/posts debunking Black Lives Matter.  The list is endless.

Will these individuals bring politics into the office?  No employer wants that.

So think twice when you post non-professional or purely personal commentary or information on LinkedIn.  It may cost you a job offer.  (It will be interesting to see if anyone is ever fired for a LinkedIn post or comment and, if they sue, what the verdict will be!)

——————–

Bruce Hurwitz is an executive recruiter and career counselor.  He is the author of Success! As Employee or Entrepreneur and A Hooker’s Guide to Getting a Job: Parables from the Real World of Career Counseling and Executive Recruiting.

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Who Will the FTC Fine for Endorsements or Recommendations on LinkedIn?

I am not an attorney. I don’t play one on television. And I am not giving legal advice. But I am what some people call a LinkedIn “mega-user.” With 30,000 first-degree connections, I constantly get requests to endorse or recommend people. The requests are always pretty much the same: You endorse/recommend me, I’ll endorse/recommend you. In other words, you lie about me, I’ll lie about you. I got so fed up with these requests that I wrote a post on my own blog titled, “LinkedIn Liars.”

As far as I am concerned, the idea to have endorsements and recommendations was a very good one. The problem is that, instead of wanting to give them value, members have turned the endorsements into little more than “awards” similar to those that players get for accomplishments on video games. And the recommendations are not much better.

But here’s the serious problem:

When you endorse or recommend someone on LinkedIn, what are you doing? You are publicly announcing that the product or service that the member offers is of real value. In most cases, given that the profile is for a person and not a company, you are stating that the member is a professional whose credentials and expertise you endorse. Put differently, you are giving them the equivalent of the “Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval.”

And that means, since you are doing it publicly, on the Internet, that the profile may constitute an “ad” for the individual and your endorsement or recommendation may, therefore, be the equivalent of an “expert endorsement.” After all, a profile, in many if not most cases, is the individual’s advertisement for employment. There’s no difference between an ad saying “Buy my widget” and a profile, however subtle, saying, “Hire me.”

According to the Federal Trade Commission, “Whenever an advertisement represents, directly or by implication, that the endorser is an expert with respect to the endorsement message, then the endorser’s qualifications must in fact give the endorser the expertise that he or she is represented as possessing with respect to the endorsement.” In other words, if you say Joe is a great marketer, but you have never worked with Joe and don’t even know him, you may have committed fraud and, by permitting the endorsement to be on his profile, Joe may have as well. You lack “the expertise that…you [represent]…as possessing with respect to the endorsement.” You are a liar and lied on an ad. And that’s when the FTC knocks on your door!

The Small Business Administration’s guidelines are even clearer: “All endorsements must be truthful and not misleading… In essence, they must reflect the endorser’s actual experience and opinion.” Again, no “actual experience” and you are simply a liar.

Now because LinkedIn endorsements are just photos and not words – actual testimony, as stated, they are nothing more than silly “awards.” (And yes, I have them on my profile…but only a couple of recommendations – all honest!) But recommendations are different. Actual text and context are being offered. And if they are bogus, and if as a result, for example, an employer decides to hire someone, or a client/customer decides to utilize someone’s services, that may very well constitute fraud and result in the FTC taking action. And who knows, someone may decide to sue you for misleading them! Moreover, financial advisers could be in serious trouble with the SEC if they permit recommendations on their profiles.

My advice, don’t lie. If you don’t know someone, don’t write a recommendation for them. And if you have bogus recommendations on your profile, get rid of them.

As recruiter, I give no weight at all to recommendations. I actually want to speak to references. But, in one case, when a candidate for one of my executive recruiting clients kept on telling me how great he was, and using the fact that he had scores of recommendations on his profile, I brought my lap top into the conference room, logged on to LinkedIn, looked at his profile and asked him for the contact information for the first recommender. He said he didn’t have it on him. I then asked about a few others. Same response. So I told him to send me the contact information for the first 10, that I would choose three to actually contact and, if their comments were positive, I would submit him to my client. Not surprisingly, I never heard from him again.

Don’t lie!

This post was originally published on LinkedIn Pulse: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/article/20141009155112-2335221-who-will-the-ftc-fine-for-endorsements-or-recommendations-on-linkedin?trk=mp-reader-card

LinkedIn Liars

I am a big believer in LinkedIn.  I use it to find candidates for my executive recruiting clients and to help my career counseling clients network.  Do I know my 39,000+ first degree connections personally?  Of course not.

And that’s why I do not offer endorsements or recommendations.  If I were to endorse someone, or recommend them, assuming that I do not personally know them, I would be lying.  Endorsing or recommending someone means you are attesting to the quality of their work and their professionalism.  Based on that, someone might decide to hire them.  And if they are incompetent, you are partially responsible for the damage they will cause to their clients.  That is why I do not endorse or recommend strangers.

But every day I receive sometimes multiple requests for endorsements and, to a lesser extent, recommendations.  Usually the LinkedIn connection tells me that they have already endorsed me and would appreciate if I would endorse them.  Or, they offer to write a recommendation for me if I will write one for them.

And that is why recommendations and endorsements are meaningless.  And that’s a pity.

So what should you do if someone asks you to lie for them?  Well, what I do is to tell them that they are liars, explain my reasoning, tell them that I am not a liar, refuse their offer, and I then remove them as a connection (What do I need liars for?) and block them so I don’t have to deal with them in the future.

Why do I tell them that they are liars – one of the worst things you can say about someone?  Well, maybe it’s wishful thinking on my part but maybe, just maybe, one of the liars will realize the error of their ways and will change.  Maybe…but…

I just received the following response from one of my “liars.”  This may be a good example of why it’s not worth the bother.  And I quote (the spelling errors are in the original):

Clearly the response i would expect from a non-millionaire, struggling, incompetent over credientialed man that feels that they know it all.

It impresses me how ignorant people like you are.  

GOD will not reward your behavior and you will continue to live a life full of regrets and misfortune.

 PS. You don’t’ know me. Why did you request me as a connection? Perhaps a simple “remove connection” would be the best solution here.

I rest my case!

 

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