Wednesday, July 8, 2009

LinkedIn is Under Attack!

The first attack I have on record came when Daniel Alexander, author of Outhouse General Counsel, posted The Do's and Don'ts of Online Employer-Employee Recommendations. Then the National Law Journal followed suit with Lawyers warn employers against giving glowing reviews on LinkedIn. Yesterday, Jon Hyman launched the latest salvo with Is LinkedIn a risk for employers?

When do we declare this an epidemic? More importantly, why are all of these lawyers attacking LinkedIn? Their logic is actually pretty sound: An employee's (read: plaintiff's) online recommendations from his/her manager can be viewed by the public (read: dastardly plaintiffs' attorneys) and it may conflict with the employee's official performance reviews (read: evidence of discrimination).

OK, I've done my employment-blawgitty duty and warned you about the evils of LinkedIn reviews from a lawyer's perspective. Now let me tell you what I think as a manager when I read a potential employee's online review from his/her current manager (Note: I was a project manager before I was an attorney):
  • I don't know the person who wrote this, why should I trust her?
  • If this employee's so great (or a "self-motivated proactive joy to work with" in flowery LinkedIn terms) then why is the manager recommending him to other employers?
  • He must be awful and she's just trying to pawn her problem employee off on me!
  • Or maybe she's recommending him so he sounds more attractive to potential customers... she's just making him sound great to drum up business!
  • Nah, I know, she's just being nice or avoiding conflict by writing him a recommendation in response to his request.
Then somewhere way way WAY back in the back of my mind is, "hey, maybe all of this obnoxiously over-selling language is an honest assessment." Naaaah!

Look, I love LinkedIn... I'm on LinkedIn! I'm just saying I find recommendations from current managers nearly worthless and they do present potential evidence problems so be careful.


  1. Philip...great post. Great minds think alike! Keep up the good work and lets keep our readers informed.

  2. Philip:

    Great Post. Great minds think alike. Keep up the good work and let's continue to keep our readers informed.

    Daniel aka the "out-house general counsel"

  3. Thanks Daniel. Sorry for my comment-moderation mistake but hey, now you get to live in the archives forever (twice!).