It’s no secret that in recent years the volume of “fake” LinkedIn profiles has been on the rise. If you or your team has spent any serious time within LinkedIn recently you’ve undoubtedly stumbled across more than your share of strange or unbelievable profiles. And while I wouldn’t speculate on the percentage of the total LinkedIn membership that these (sometimes not so) obvious “fake” accounts make up, I would place hard money that there’s no shortage of professionals paying for LinkedIn services that feel like these shenanigans are chipping away at their expected ROI.
Let’s be honest – LinkedIn isn’t cheap. But why should it be?
When used effectively, this global network of over 414 million registered members (maybe) can be the most valuable tool found within any recruiter’s collection. Today, it is hands-down the world’s largest professional online network and boasts a scale of over 200 countries and territories, 24 languages and the largest collection of students and college grads within one place that I’m aware of (+40 million.)
In fact, it’s so effective a resource that for many recruiters it has become their “crutch.” Younger or more junior recruiters that I’ve spoken with wouldn’t take a job that didn’t pay for their LinkedIn account or that didn’t permit them to use LinkedIn as a resource when searching for talent. Is that a bad thing? Who’s to say if they’re getting the job done and their employers are happy.
But with the current trend of fake profiles, hefty amounts of SPAM, fraudulent activity , and insanely social or unprofessional updates on this professional network, is LinkedIn on track to remain the BFG of recruitment? It’s likely that the number of recruiters and sourcers that have sworn off LinkedIn isn’t even a rounding error in the eyes of this giant. And while hundreds (maybe thousands) of recruiting professionals from around the world are members of closed Facebook and LinkedIn groups where every conversation is dedicated to how “ridiculous” and “frustrating” it is, they’re still taking full advantage of the powerful connections they can establish once they’ve waded through the noise.The lack of QC for @LinkedIn profiles continues to reduce the ROI of paid recruiting accounts. Click To Tweet
In all fairness to LinkedIn, this isn’t an easy thing to combat. Currently, they’re relying heavily on crowd-sourcing to capture inaccurate or fake profiles or updates (you can use the dropdown arrow next to “Send a Message” for a variety of reporting options.) But can they keep up? My take is that it’s an uphill battle the likes of which crowd-sourcing and member v member police tactics simply won’t be enough to win.
So we’re left with a tool provided by a company that many organizations pay in excess of $1m a year to utilize. A tool that our teams grow more and more reliant upon but that seems to be facing an increasing quality control issue. A quality control issue that lends itself to the statistics (membership growth) that are used to support the increasing prices we face each year. (Getting dizzy yet?)
Make no mistake – I’m a fan of LinkedIn. I appreciate their vision and direction and the still untapped, incredible, potential in front of them on multiple fronts. I believe that they’ve some wildly impressive people and very strong leaders within their organization. Of course deep down, I’ve always been just a RecruiterGuy at heart. So it’s tough for me to watch this growing issue continue to go unchallenged and unanswered.
This article first appeared on CareerXroads.
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