Thursday, July 23, 2009

Linked-in Recommendations: Pro and Con

Delaware Employment Law Blog provides the con in Warnings Against LinkedIn Recommendations: Justified or Propaganda?

Sounds legitimate to me. Indeed, if a supervisor tells an employee how wonderful he or she is all the while thinking terrible things about the quality of the employee’s work product or habits, then there is likely going to be a contradiction between the reason the supervisor tells the employee he or she is being fired and the real reason. Or not. Maybe the supervisor, who is too chicken to be upfront and honest with the employee requesting a recommendation to just come out and say, “You know, Bob, I’m going to have to pass. I don’t think I could write a recommendation for you because you haven’t been a very good performer while you’ve worked for me.”

Instead, the supervisor chickens out and says, “Uh, sure, Bob. I’d be glad to write a recommendation for you. Right after I get back from lunch.” He then proceeds to write a “recommendation” that is pretty bland, entirely generic, and, to most people, having nothing to do with the specific individual. Good for the wimpy supervisor! If it’s a “positive” recommendation that is purely vanilla standard issue, then no harm done.
Personally, I like the above-reasoning, but then I recommend plan vanilla recommendations before the advent of sites like Linkedin. I also suggest reading all of this post.

And for the con is LinkedIn Reviews Can Come Back to Haunt Employers, Lawyers Say from The ABA Journal - Law News Now
If an employer writes a positive review for an employee who is later fired, that review could be presented as evidence that discrimination rather than performance brought on the termination, the National Law Journal (reg. req.) reports.

"Generally, my advice is that I think employers are often better served by merely stating dates of employment, positions with the company and salary, and staying away from much more because there are so many potential ramifications if they say something," Carolyn Plump, a partner at Philadelphia's Mitts Milavec told the National Law Journal. "If they say something negative, there could be a lawsuit. If they say something positive, there could be a lawsuit."

The story cites a recent poll from Jump Start Social Media stating that 75 percent of hiring managers use LinkedIn to research candidates.