Can you trust LinkedIn profiles?

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A surprising statistic has emerged that some 83% of Australian employers don’t trust the information people provide on their LinkedIn profiles.

Its usefulness as a key HR resource for finding candidates and strengthening professional relationships, LinkedIn has attracted more than 2 million users in Australia. However, according to a recent survey by recruitment firm Employment Office, the majority of Australian employers do not trust the information they read about candidates on the site. The survey reports that employers regularly feel candidates are lying on their profiles, namely about their previous job titles, length of tenure and education and qualifications.

Yet according to the managing director of Employment Office, the concerns may be unfounded. “As LinkedIn grows within the Australian market, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to lie on your LinkedIn profile. More and more people you know – people you’ve studied with, worked with, reported to – are on the site, and can see your profile. If you make things up, those people will know,” Tudor Marsden-Huggens said. He added that it is harder to “fudge” one’s LinkedIn profile than on a resume shared only between the candidate and the interviewer, given the public nature of LinkedIn.

Marsden-Huggins recommended employers pay the same due diligence to LinkedIn profiles as they would to a traditional resume. “And remember to make the most of a candidate’s referees if in doubt,” he said.

It’s also important to establish a company policy for employees using the site.  The survey discovered just 20% of companies have a specific LinkedIn policy. The danger is that by not offering guidelines on what company information can and cannot be shared exposes organisations to an unnecessary increased risk of online headhunting, and potential damage to the company’s online reputation and branding.

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