LinkedIn is one of the major players used for filling executive level openings for many companies. The major reason is company can watch their professional activities apart from their regular job and evaluate their involvement, intelligence and competency appearances. No such tool is exist as strong platform as this. This is what my belief and many of ours also.
Now the question we have here is, apart from the numerous fake profiles, is it possible to believe the discussions from people whose profiles are genuine? Or is it ok to believe the people who have showed excellent knowledge in discussions? Sadly, the answer is “No”.
I was discussing with a head of HR department of a big organization. The topic of the discussion was how executive level positions can effectively be filled. I was shared an incident which happened while filling country level sales head in their country which cost them huge money and reputation loss.
His company was in difficult situation as their profits were not good in past couple of quarters. They wanted to recruit a country level sales head who should have fresh mind, highly energetic and motivated, excellent intelligence shown in sales and marketing, understanding their local customers and compliance issues, knowledge of having innovative strategies that can be made understandable to top and lower level managements and execute them in very well manners.
Before going for public announcement of this job opening they wanted to find the right candidate(s) and call them for interview. They trusted LinkedIn for this which costs them much. And it made them to show another quarter of profit decline.
What they have done was they were searching a discussion topics related to critical sales, in LinkedIn and followed those topics. There were more than 100 topics were followed. And they themselves initiated couple of conversations stating some complex issues in generating better profit. They monitored the people who are answering effectively and going in right path. At some point of time, they found a candidate with excellent management skills, sales knowledge and excellent past history. That candidate was expressing lot of ideas in their discussions and methodologies to execute them in successful way. He influenced many people in the forum by resolving their complex problems. Many appreciations were there in many of his discussions for helping others to come out of their difficult situations.
Company concluded that they have found a right candidate. The only concerns they noted was that all of his effective conversations happened only during last 4 months and before that his updates were not so good. And another concern was candidate was from a smaller company.
Candidate was called for interview. He looked very confident and positive during interview. He answered their questions with decent level of knowledge. They also asked him, why before 4 months, updates made in LinkedIn were not good? He managed to answer which made panel members to get convinced.
Finally, with good package and very high expectation he was hired. One moth passed. Company noted that there was no much improvement in the sales. Two months later, lot of unresolved sales issues and couple of non-closed serious compliance issues. Within three months, many people worked under him resigned. And at a shocking state, company got the lowest profit among past few quarters. Company’s situation became too worse.
They wanted to verify his knowledge once again. They called him and tried to reevaluate him again. They asked some of the questions he answered impressively in his LinkedIn forum. He struggled lot to answer well. And finally they found that all the answers made in his account were not done by him but his friend! All was done just to get hired! He was not worth for this position.
They fired him immediately. But they lost huge money, they lost their experienced team members, they lost their credibility as lots of unresolved sales and compliance issues. It has taken them another 6 months to find the next candidate and come out of the damages made by him.
So, It is good to be aware that while considering candidates’ responses/updates in social forums, they may not be genuine though their profiles are genuine!
LinkedIn is not strong enough to trust for filling executive level positions. It can highly help you to get biased.