LinkedIn Sued for Revealing Job Seekers’ “References”

Many job seekers turn to LinkedIn to expand their network and create a digital profile to share with recruiters and employers. Many LinkedIn users also spend time soliciting references and recommendations to bolster their profiles. What they may not realize is that recruiters and employers can use LinkedIn to create a secret reference list and conduct “back door” reference checks, too.


Not every recruiter or employer does this, of course, but those who do can use the LinkedIn “Reference Search” function to generate a list of people in their own network who worked at the same company at the same time as a job candidate. The recruiter or employer can then contact people on the list, without notifying the job candidate. The function is only available to LinkedIn premium account holders.


Now, four workers are suing LinkedIn and contending that the Reference Search function has cost them job opportunities. They are charging that LinkedIn, in providing the job reference material, enabled potential employers to “anonymously dig into the employment history of any LinkedIn member, and make hiring and firing decisions based upon the information they gather,” without ensuring that the information was accurate and, therefore, in violation of the Fair Credit Reporting Act.


Read more here.


Ask A Recruiter: LinkedIn Tips for Job Seekers

Q: I’m new to using social media for professional purposes. I know I should at least be on LinkedIn. Can you give me some tips?

A: Every job seeker should be conscious of their online profile since it’s common for employers to do a Google search on job candidates. LinkedIn is the social network most often used for professionals and, since many recruiters use LinkedIn to source candidates, it’s important to spend time and effort on your profile.

You don’t need to recreate your entire resume on your LinkedIn profile, but you should include enough information to attract employers. Your profile should include:

  • A summary snapshot of your background and career highlights – this should include your biggest accomplishments and your overall perspective on what you can offer; stick to 5-10 things you’re most proud of.
  • Companies you’ve worked for in the past – make sure the information in your LinkedIn profile is accurate; spend time making sure the dates are correct and everything is up-to-date.
  • Recommendations – get at least three recent recommendations.
  • A professional looking “head shot” photograph – without it your profile looks incomplete.

Recruiters and hiring managers are turned off by anything in the career summary section that is unprofessional and/or profiles that are incomplete. While most employers will tell you that a poor or incomplete LinkedIn profile won’t kill your chances of getting a job, I know from experience that hiring managers, when pressed for time and faced with an overload of candidates, prefer to contact those who have the most complete profiles.

Once your profile is up-to-date, seek out groups on LinkedIn that you can join to connect with others in your industry or your fellow alumni. You can also find more information about networking and job seeking with LinkedIn here.


About the Recruiter
Jess-Salerno-photo1Jessica Salerno Incerto has 10+ years of experience in the staffing and recruiting industry. As a director and member of the management team at Professional Staffing Group (PSG), she oversees career placement, client consultation and management and training. Jessica is also a member of NEHRA’s Diversity Committee.