5 LinkedIn Fails to Watch For in Potential Candidates

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LinkedIn can be an effective tool for connecting HR managers with job seekers and “fleshing out” the personality of candidates beyond the resume…but some of the behaviour candidates exhibit when they’re on it is truly surprising. Here are five potential warning signs for HR managers.

1. Treating LinkedIn like Facebook. Yes, the lines between work life and personal life are continually blurring, but LinkedIn was intended for professional networking—not for sharing funny cat videos or photos of last night’s dinner (however delicious it might be).

2. Posting bad profile shots. Professionals should have a high-quality photo that’s an appropriate web resolution (LinkedIn recommends a square photo, 400 x 400 pixels, maximum 10MB) and conveys a professional tone. (Side note: when I was Editor of Benefits Canada, I once asked a contributor for a headshot and received a photo of the person holding two champagne bottles in what looked like an empty parking lot at night. Seriously.)

3. Making updates all about them, all the time. The point of posting updates isn’t shameless self-promotion…it’s to inform and engage others. And effective use of social media means coming up with new ideas, not just reusing the same content over and over again. Rather than focusing on the me-centric folks, look for those who share thought-provoking articles, participate in meaningful discussion and demonstrate their expertise in your field.

4. Leveraging an existing contact without their knowledge. This is a dangerous game…the risk of the connection finding out that someone’s using their name without their permission far outweighs the potential benefit. If you were at, say, a cocktail party, and you wanted to meet someone that your colleague already knows, you’d ask your colleague to introduce you, right? Same goes for LinkedIn. That sort of behind-their-back behaviour could be a red flag for other interactions in a work context.

5. Being disrespectful in LinkedIn interactions. It should go without saying that racist, sexist and other offensive content is absolutely not okay. There’s nothing wrong with a difference of opinion, though: commenting on other people’s posts and creating a dialogue is one of the things that makes LinkedIn interesting and engaging. It’s important for potential candidates to be able to express their opinions in a polite and respectful manner. Getting into an online shouting war benefits no one.

Lastly, if you see tequila shots anywhere on the page, stay clear…unless you’re recruiting for a distillery.

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