Who Says LinkedIn Profiles Are Truthful?

Posted on November 5, 2012. Filed under: Recruiting, Resumes, social media | Tags: , |

Resume Lying

I love social media. I especially love Twitter. As a small business person, it has opened up a whole new world of connections and opportunities for me.

However, there is one aspect of social media that, frankly, gets on my nerves, and that is all the smug people out there. If you’ve ever spent time on a Twitter chat or two or participated in a LinkedIn group, you’re bound to come across a couple. You know, those people who just love to rain on the parade with their higher understanding of the universe…? (Of course, these people exist in real life too; social media just has a way of bringing it out even more.)

Well, lately I have been coming across way too many smug characters who love to talk about social recruiting and how the resume is dead now that they have LinkedIn profiles. While I agree that LinkedIn profiles do provide a good outlet for social recruiting, I think the pronouncement that the LinkedIn profile is “good enough” is a bit premature.

(When I brought this up on a recent chat, one of my smug recruiter friends said, “Well, really good candidates don’t need any resume at all.” It’s something people love to say, but in reality, the very first thing any recruiter will ask you is whether you have a resume [or a bio or something; call it whatever you like…it’s still basically a resume] even after they have read through your LinkedIn profile.)

My biggest reason for showing some caution with the LinkedIn profile is that as a resume writer, one of the biggest issues that hiring managers and recruiters complain about is lying.

Lying on your resume has become single-handedly the worst thing you can do. And companies are now spending big bucks verifying candidate information.

So my argument is, if you think you have a problem with people lying on their resumes (a document they “hand” over to you directly, essentially lying to your face), do you really think it is going to be any better with the LinkedIn profile, a document that candidates don’t yet feel as committed to?

Here’s an example:

When most clients come to me these days, they now have some type of LI profile in place. I will go through the profile as part of my intake process with the client, gathering info to determine the client’s personal branding strategy.

It is amazing to me how often when I start questioning items on the LinkedIn profile that clients will immediately begin backpedaling.

“Well, I’m not really sure it was $3M saved exactly.”

“I really need to go back and check those dates; I just kind of guessed when I filled in my profile.”

“I know I listed XXX technical expertise, but I wouldn’t say I am proficient in it.”

So what is a social recruiter to do? Hmmm. Ask for a resume and give the “please make sure all submitted documentation is accurate and truthful” speech, maybe? Of course.

Listen. If the resume is dead and the LinkedIn profile has replaced it, fine, but someone better tell candidates that they are going to be held accountable to it, much like they are the resume they submit.

And someone better tell recruiters that people still lie on LinkedIn profiles, perhaps even more than they do on resumes.

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6 Responses to “Who Says LinkedIn Profiles Are Truthful?”

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Great article! I’ve made a point over the years to keep my LI as accurate as possible. Recently when I needed to create a resume it was relatively easy – I just grabbed my LI data, did some formatting and voila – one resume suitable for posting on various jobs boards.

Good point, Jeff. It pays to be ready and to have your info accurate and up to date.

Reblogged this on Simon Hamer and commented:
Just like any online information, it requires checking carefully.

Hey – If the resume and the LI profile don’t match then that is also an indication of sloppiness, laziness … or both. Which you really don’t want to hire them if they are exhibiting any one of those two traits. Or then again … they could just be lying…

[…] people lie or stretch their credentials on their LinkedIn profiles (see my recent article “Who Says LinkedIn Profiles Are Truthful?“), he still was not deterred. Overall, he felt like it was a more trustworthy environment and […]

[…] while they ooze their love for LinkedIn profiles (despite the increasing skepticism over how truthful or accurate most LI profiles actually are AND the fact that the LI profile is essentially a resume in disguise, and not even a good […]


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