News: LinkedIn misuse means candidate research 'should be conducted with caution'

Freelance journalist and former editor of HRZone
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Widespread misuse of LinkedIn means that HR professionals should exercise caution when using it as a tool to conduct research on potential job candidates, a researcher has warned.

A survey among 2,028 UK adults undertaken by ICM Research revealed, for instance, that around two thirds of people who have used the social networking site in the past subsequently failed to update their personal information, which meant that it wasn’t necessarily always accurate.
 
Maurice Fyles, ICM’s research director, said that professional recruiters had indicated they found LinkedIn a useful way to identify and engage potential job candidates whom they might not otherwise have known about.
 
But he added: “It also seems that they are aware of some of the ways it is being used and misused and approach the information on LinkedIn with a healthy amount of scepticism. Our research confirms they are right to be cautious.”
 
The study also indicated that just under one in 10 respondents used their profile to exaggerate their achievements, with about the same number of active users acknowledging that they had secured a recommendation from someone by offering to write them one in return.
 
A further 8% said that they had written a “flattering” recommendation as a “favour” or because they felt obliged to do so.
 
But the number of connections that an individual had acquired was likewise found to not necessarily reflect how well connected they were. Some three out of 10 active users admitted accepting a connection request from someone that they didn’t know, while 16% had asked to link to people with whom they had never formerly had contact.

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Like the blog Cath. There's been quite a bit of noise recently around the validity of social media data; particularly false followers on Twitter (who the hell would pay for false followers?). I guess we now need to add false Linkedin profiles too: this one for instance http://www.linkedin.com/pub/barry-bukkake/52/a79/480 flagged to me by Mitch Sullivan of the Recruitment Mentor (http://recruitmentmentor.com/

I wrote a blog a while ago for the Undercover Recruiter that covered similar theme to yours http://theundercoverrecruiter.com/theres-a-guy-on-linkedin-swears-hes-elvis/