Maybe the title of this post is misleading. It’s really the misuse of LinkedIn that can hurt your career, not LinkedIn itself.

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Everyone is touting LinkedIn as the best professional thing since sliced bread. But there is a such thing as too much information. And LinkedIn can allow you to provide too much information.

Here’s a real life situation…

A few months ago, I was recruiting for our Business Development Manager position here at Next Level Purchasing. After an excruciating round of phone interviews, I had narrowed it down to two top candidates and a dark horse candidate.

I conducted an in-person interview with one of the top two, who had previously provided me with a link to his LinkedIn profile. I was kind of impressed by his LinkedIn profile. He had a lot of information on there – including lots of recommendations – and his usage of it made me feel like he was technologically savvy which I liked being that our purchasing training is all technologically delivered.

He continued to impress me in his in-person interview. I was seriously considering him.

The next day – a day on which I had an interview scheduled with the other top candidate – the first candidate sent me a follow up email. In this email, he really tried to “close the deal.”

He wrote: “I’d like to take a moment to point out that I have 34 professional references from clients, partners, colleagues and managers. Every client that I have landed in my current position has taken the time [on LinkedIn] to recommend doing business with me. That’s something to be proud of.”

“Wow,” I thought. “That is something to be proud of.”

Then, I thought, “Wait. I’m not so sure about that.”

In my head, I pictured this guy working for Next Level Purchasing and harassing all of our customers for references that they don’t really have time to write. I thought that this guy may use his job opportunities selfishly for personal gain.

Then, I interviewed the other top candidate. Yes, the guy impressed me on the phone previously. But in person, he blew me away!

So as this second candidate incredibly enhanced my perception of him, all I could think about the first guy was his addiction to LinkedIn and the potential of him making the acquisition of LinkedIn references a higher priority than actually doing his job. Linked In, LinkedIn, LinkedIn.

Who did I hire? Not “The LinkedIn Guy.”

And it has worked out extremely well.

As I was writing this, I thought about going to The LinkedIn Guy’s profile to see if he found a new job but then I remembered him telling me he knew when I was looking at his profile and how much time I spent on it. That’s creepy.

No, I don’t hate LinkedIn. I’m on there myself. But, like a lot of things, things can be used and things can be misused. The results will tell the story.

Use LinkedIn wisely, my friends.

To Your Career,
Charles Dominick, SPSM
President & Chief Procurement Officer
Next Level Purchasing, Inc.
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Charles Dominick, SPSM, SPSM2, SPSM3

Charles Dominick, SPSM, SPSM2, SPSM3 is an internationally-recognized business expert, legendary procurement thought leader, award-winning entrepreneur, and provocative blogger. Charles founded the Next Level Purchasing Association in 2000, oversaw its incredible growth, and successfully led the organization to its acquisition by the Certitrek Group in 2016. He continues to blog and provide advisory services for the NLPA on a part-time basis as he incubates his upcoming business innovations. Charles is also the co-author of the wildly popular, groundbreaking book, "The Procurement Game Plan: Winning Strategies & Techniques For Supply Management Professionals."

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