Please Fact Check What’s On LinkedIn

Posted By Debbie on January 17, 2012

In 2011, I was trying to help a consulting client clean up their presence around the web. We talked about a Facebook page, a revised website, and a blog. We talked about cleaning up their company page on LinkedIn. I went to their page, and was surprised to find that a bunch of people who I know NEVER worked for them had listed them as a current or past employer.

How did that happen? There is no check and balance on LinkedIn. I could say I worked at Microsoft. Nobody would stop me unless Microsoft is checking for who really works/worked there, and asking LinkedIn to remove the people who didn’t. This means that what’s on LinkedIn may not be true, and all hiring managers and recruiters should try to fact check what can be checked.

The easiest way to fact check is to hit that company’s website. Some smaller companies will list their whole team, and you can look to see if that person is listed. The second easiest way is just to email or call the company, and ask if so-and-so worked there, and then the usual questions about when, how was that worker, eligible for re-hire, etc…

The sad truth is that just because someone puts it in a resume or LinkedIn doesn’t make it true. Once in a while, there will be a big media story about someone who lied on his resume, and had to pay for it years later. I say never lie on your resume. A new job is like a new relationship, and why start a new relationship on a lie!

The fact that anything can be written by anybody on LinkedIn also came to my attention because an ex-boyfriend of mine appears to be adding work to his LinkedIn that he didn’t do. I am hoping that hiring managers will fact check that, call the company/companies involved, ask what his role was, and what he was like to work with. I’m sitting here and waiting for the phone to ring. 🙂

Bonus Suggestion: Look At The Timing Of Recommendations

In looking at the tangled web that ex-boyfriend is weaving for himself to deceive you, I noticed that at his last real job, he had one recommendation on LinkedIn. It was left by a close personal friend 3 months after that job fired my ex. Hmmmm. Seems a bit late in the game to leave a positive recommendation about someone… you loved his work… three months after he was fired for poor performance? More interestingly, a little clicking shows that this guy left my ex this glowing recommendation a month after my ex left him one.

We all know that people trade recommendations on LinkedIn. We just hope they’re both real. 🙂 To me, a great recommendation is the one you get while you still work somewhere, or just after a contract ends (in a contract situation). The recommendation from a close personal friend a month after you left him one, and 3 months after you were fired from a company neither of you work at anymore? Hmmmm.

I think the best LinkedIn recommendations come from someone who managed you to say you were great. The end!