HR professionals and recruitment consultants using LinkedIn to research potential candidates are right to use caution. New research from ICM reveals that two thirds of those who have ever been on LinkedIn do not update their information.

ICM’s research into the user habits of those who are ‘active’ on LinkedIn (i.e. those with an up-to-date profile) indicates that recruiters face challenges beyond identifying potential candidates with an up-to-date record.

The research suggests that the number of connections an individual has isn’t necessarily indicative of how well connected they are. 30% of active LinkedIn users have accepted a connection request from someone they don’t know, and 16% have requested to Linkin with unknown ‘contacts’.

With almost one in 10 (9%) admitting to exaggerating their career achievements on their profile, it also begs the question how much credence can recruiters give to the skills and experiences recorded by LinkedIn users?

The research also looks at the use of personal recommendations, one of the capabilities of the LinkedIn system. 10% of active users have secured a recommendation by offering to write one in return. 8% have written a “flattering” recommendation for someone by way of a “favour”, but also because they felt obliged to do so.

Maurice Fyles, Research Director at ICM, says: “From our interviews with professional recruiters it is evident that they find LinkedIn a useful way of identifying and engaging potential candidates who might previously have remained unknown to them. It also seems that they aware of some of the ways it is being used and misused and approach the information on LinkedIn with a healthy amount of skepticism. Our research confirms they are right to be cautious.”