Last week a candidate told me that they were working with a recruiter who had offered them money – or vouchers – to write a LinkedIn recommendation for them. My initial thought was one of blind scepticism… I mean all recruiters are honest and ethical pillars of society right?
I told the candidate, (Beyonce – and yes that is his real name… ok maybe not, but pause for thought, and I bet you just started humming All the single ladies…), that they must have misunderstood… that a recruiter wouldn’t stoop so low… that Linked In recommendations are a valuable commodity and couldn’t be cheapened by black market trade… seems I was wrong…
The next morning Beyonce forwarded me an email from the recruiter in question… What follows is an extract from that email… if you want to continue to believe in the unwavering good in our industry – look away… now.
I was hoping we could help each other out. Although I haven’t secured you a new role yet I would be really appreciative if you could write me a LinkedIn recommendation. Doesn’t need to be long, but if you could point out that I am the best recruiter in Sydney and that anyone looking to change roles should go directly to me that would be great!
If you can do that for me I will give you $50, or a voucher (iTunes, Myer, JB HiFi, Harvey Norman or your choise up to $50).
Let me know how you go.
Two things about the above email.
- The recruiter’s real name is not Xxxxxx
- Spelling is not their strong suit…
Anyway, I was appalled, but at the same time convinced that his was a unique occurrence and posted a quick comment on LinkedIn. Within an hour I had 24 comments, all condemning this brazen act… oddly enough though I received a very interesting – and even more disturbing message directing me to a website fiverr.com
For the poultry sum of $5 byron87 promises the following…
I will write you a unique Linkedin recommendation, or simply copy/paste the text you will give me. I have a CEO, entrepreneur/International type of profile. I have +4,000 direct contacts on LinkedIn. I am US-based. Your profile will rank higher in Linkedin search results, you’ll build credibility and look attractive for recruiters.
So where does this leave us, and should LinkedIn recommendations continue to be taken on face value?
The short answer is no, and my thoughts on it are pretty simple. Just like written references, you need to validate what you read… Gain your candidate’s approval to contact those who have provided the recommendation and drill down. Ask specific questions relevant to the role in question and ask straight out if the recommendation was solicited.
Until last week I was a great advocate for LinkedIn Recommendations, but right now I feel they are slightly tainted… dirty… and in some cases just pure fabrication…
I mean anyone can easily re-create history, exaggerate their success or just plain make things up – and all for a lousy 5 bucks…
Last week my 5 year old came up to me and said…
‘Dad… you know when you used to be a Rap Dancer… how many competitions did you win?’
And I didn’t even have to pay him for that one….
PS. A few hours after I finished writing this post I was made aware of another very… very interesting and related article… if you have time read this