Will LinkedIn Promote Honesty in Job Applicants?

By Deane Barker on January 22, 2012

I was at a J. Boye Expert Group meeting last week (love this program…) when one of the participants brought up an interesting story, which got me wondering if the ubiquity of LinkedIn will help keep job applicants honest.

They related a situation where a newly-hired executive didn’t have a LinkedIn profile for some reason.  This struck them as odd, because everyone has a LinkedIn profile these days.  Why would a professional in the Internet industry not have one?

It turns out that this person had been really fast-and-loose with the facts concerned their employment history over the years.  He had essentially told every employee what they wanted to hear, and the stories didn’t all match up.  So, they couldn’t risk a LinkedIn profile, because they had to present different stories to different people.

This is an interesting side-effect of single-sourcing information.  LinkedIn has fundamentally become a single-source of our employment situation and history.  When using LinkedIn, it makes it tough to lie about your background, because it’s effectively the same as having a published resume online at all times.  If anyone can look up your resume whenever they want, lying about it is tougher, unless you tell the same lie to everyone, and no one knows the truth.

As a business owner who is in charge of a lot of hiring, it’s got me thinking that I should compare submitted resumes to LinkedIn and make sure they match.  If they don’t, that needs to be explained.  Furthermore, if there’s no LinkedIn profile at all, should that tell me something?



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