LinkedIn profiles have become an essential on the checklist for many employers when screening job candidates. When you are looking to fill a position at your company, you want to waste as little time as possible, and rule out unqualified candidates as early as possible. While many hiring managers and recruiters are used to watching out for warning signs and red flags on candidates’ resumes, there are also LinkedIn profile red flags that you may not be aware of. Here are some common LinkedIn red flags to watch out for when screening candidates’ profiles:
1) Job Titles and Skills Seem Unrealistic
When employers look at candidate’s LinkedIn profiles, they are looking for someone that can meet a specific set of qualifications. They are also often looking for a candidate that is open to new ideas and continued learning. When a candidate claims on their LinkedIn profile that they are an expert at everything, chances are they are hiding something, aren’t open to being taught new things, and will respond poorly to constructive criticism. Another one of the LinkedIn red flags you may find on candidate’s profiles are exaggerated job histories. Their profile should show a steady progression in their career, not that they were the star player in every position they ever had.
2) They’ve Crammed in Too Many Details
First, most employers don’t have time to sift through an excessive list of work experience and qualifications. Second, a wordy LinkedIn profile with irrelevant jobs and information is one of the red flags that may indicate the candidate has trouble deciding what’s most important and struggles at communicating concisely and directly. A capable candidate will target their LinkedIn profile to the specific position and industry they are aiming to continue their career in.
3) Aimless Job Hopping
While job hopping has become more common and in no way immediately indicates a weak candidate, it must show progression and a purpose. A qualified job hopper’s employment history should show that they had strong accomplishments at every job, left on good terms and that the job that followed made sense as the next step in their career. Some of the LinkedIn red flags you may find on some job hopper’s profiles are having the same exact position at several companies for short periods of time, unexplained departures from these jobs, and jumping around with a bunch of short-term jobs in unrelated categories. These red flags can indicate a candidate that lacks professional commitment, doesn’t know what they want, and may be tough to manage or work with.
4) Unprofessional LinkedIn Presence
One of the LinkedIn profile red flags that is the easiest to catch is a lack of overall professional presence. In the text portion of the profile, beware of any poor grammar, typos, and obscene language. Also, the first thing employers see when looking at a candidate’s LinkedIn profile is their photo. If they’ve included a photo that looks less than business-like, such as a party photo wear they appear intoxicated, pictures with inappropriate clothing that show too much skin, or selfies, proceed with caution. A qualified candidate will represent themselves, as well as your company, in a professional manner.
5) Sketchy Recommendations
One of the great aspects of LinkedIn that can really make candidates stand out is the Recommendations feature. But a desperate candidate could also manipulate this feature by trading recommendations with friends or writing their own recommendation and having someone else post it. To spot LinkedIn recommendation red flags, pay close attention to how they are written, making sure they seem authentic. Also, pay attention to who they are written by. If it’s mostly family members or people with empty or fake-looking profiles, you may not be able to take these people’s word for it.
Author: Jessica Cody
Jessica Cody, a native of Fairfield County, Connecticut, has a background in online marketing and public relations. Currently, she works at VHMNetwork LLC in the role of Marketing Analyst. She is a graduate of the University of Connecticut, where she studied Journalism and Political Science. She is also an avid runner with a passion for the outdoors.