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One of the hardest things about being a recruiter is making sure the candidate that you are presenting is who they appear to be. This is especially hard in contract staffing where you are expected to produce candidates quickly.

Sure, you receive a resume from each of your candidates, but those resumes can be out-dated and can contain half-truths . While there is no fool-proof way to overcome these pitfalls, the new Social Media trend does offer some help. Specifically, LinkedIn is serving as a way for contract recruiters to learn more about their candidates and verify some of the information they provide.

A user’s LinkedIn Profile is basically a built-in resume. It provides a format to list previous employers, dates employed, and a description for each previous job held. Better yet, it provides a place for former colleagues, customers, etc., to leave recommendations that can provide a wealth of helpful information to recruiters. Like Facebook, users can update their statuses, which can provide additional insight into what the candidate is like, and you can also view which LinkedIn Groups they are in. But perhaps the best advantage of the LinkedIn Profile is that, as contract recruiter Philip Bartfield of Bartfield Search, Inc., mentioned in a previous blog post, candidates tend to update their LinkedIn Profiles regularly, so you can be fairly certain the information is up-to-date.

While contract candidates can misrepresent themselves on a LinkedIn Profile just as easily as they can on a resume, contract recruiter Carolyn Barcus of Barcus Associates finds it helpful to compare the hard copy resume to what a candidate has posted in LinkedIn.

“If I get a resume from someone and compare it to LinkedIn, I can sometimes find discrepancies,” she said.

So will viewing a candidate’s LinkedIn Profile automatically verify that they are a qualified contract candidate? No. But LinkedIn does provide another tool that you can use when trying to quickly determine whether to present an applicant as a candidate to a client.

LinkedIn® is a registered trademark of LinkedIn Corporation.

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