How To Judge A Candidate's LinkedIn Profile

Posted January 27, 2015

If you're like 93 percent of recruiters, you're using LinkedIn as an important component of your hiring and staffing strategy. It's a great way to quickly search for the experience, qualifications, and references you're seeking for open positions. The problem? More than 50 percent of LinkedIn profiles, much like candidate resumes, are alleged to contain mistruths and falsehoods. So how can you quickly and effectively evaluate a LinkedIn profile to home in on the best candidates?

1.  Look for Verifiable Job Histories

Some job seekers embellish their experience and claim they gained that experience working at companies that are no longer in business. Conveniently, you're left with nobody to contact or verify employment. So when you're checking profiles, look for seekers whose job histories are complete and specific. You can also check titles. For example, Target doesn't use the title HR Manager; they call the role “Team Relations Leader.”

2.  Look at Dates on Their References

If candidates include references on their profiles, read them carefully. One of the tricks LinkedIn users can employ is to create false references from fake accounts. If many of a candidate's references were posted at or around the same time, that should raise a red flag. So are vague references that could be about anybody. You want to see references that are specific and professionally written, preferably by someone whose position and contact information you can verify.

3.  Look at Their Picture

Serious job candidates usually post a professional photo of themselves on their profiles—or at least an appropriate candid. If a candidate doesn't have a photo at all, they're probably not that active on LinkedIn and will be less likely to respond to your attempts to contact them.

4.  Look for Links

LinkedIn's user profiles are standardized, of course, so you'll get limited insights into the personality of the person you're assessing. If you're lucky, potential candidates will include links to blogs, their Twitter accounts or other examples of their work so you can get a broader sense of their expertise or their fit for your open position.

One final rule for evaluating LinkedIn profles? Have a policy of equality and follow it consistently. It should outline what criteria you will use to review which social media accounts and what you are looking for. You don't want bias to affect your activities, and you don't want it to appear that you skipped over a candidate based on age, gender, religion or appearance.

Any more questions? Call Team Ambassador if you'd like to have a conversation with us about how to evaluate top candidates, or how we can find them for you!