How (Real) Recruiters Can Build Trust Amidst Social Media Scams


Article previously featured at Forbes.

Did you know there’s an abundance of fake recruiters attempting to scam LinkedIn members? I could hardly believe this was being practiced, so I went out to investigate.

With LinkedIn and other social networks holding valuable personal information, it is now time not only for talent to be hyper-aware and conduct due diligence but also for recruiters to build a credible recruiter profile to avoid doubt.

Your Security Matters

Sebastian Melot, a security specialist in China, captured my eye on LinkedIn last week with a post called “LinkedIn / Scammer Part 3,” which says the person who tried to scam him pretended to work for Citi and had two different private email accounts (one Gmail, one Outlook) with different proposals.

I reached out to Sebastian and asked him why scammers do this. Sebastian urges LinkedIn users to protect themselves by realizing there are fake adverts for jobs. He says, “You know you’re being scammed when you’re invited to an interview overseas and the candidate is invited to buy a flight to the interview through their website.”

The scammer’s job is to lure you off LinkedIn so they can’t be traced. Unless you can verify you’re working with a credible recruiter, you can hold a professional communication on LinkedIn and via Skype.

It’s Time For Honest Communication

Headhunters and recruiters have a bad rap that needs to be overcome with every interaction. When I admit I’m a headhunter, I’m often told by talent how refreshingly honest I am.

There’s a mix of recruiters that could be regarded as scammers and genuine scammers who pretend to be someone they aren’t in order to research a candidate or gain access to them. It’s time for genuine, bonafide recruiters to demonstrate radical honesty.

The Data Collection Police

“I’ve complained to LinkedIn about various big data farming practices by fake recruiters,” says Todd Savoie, senior recruitment specialist at Echelon Resources, in a private recruiter group. “They prey on Gen Y, who are desperate for work, and get over 100K people falling to the fake claim that there are roles available to them if members respond with a ‘yes’.”

There will be times that LinkedIn, like Facebook, can miss a scam. And it’s up to all LinkedIn users to report abuse to ensure the platform remains professional.

The Ruse

Before LinkedIn, rusing, or having a fake alias, was common practice.

A Bloomberg article in 2007, written by Joseph Mccool, states that rusing is “a deceptive practice in which executive recruiters and/or their candidate sourcing agents assume an alias when making a call to a potential management recruit…”

Something similar has evolved on LinkedIn. Either real recruiters who want to collect intelligence do not want to reveal who they are, or scammers posing as recruiters are trying to lift data from you. Neither scenario is legit, so it’s up to recruiters to demonstrate they are the real deal to talent, and for talent to conduct due diligence.