LinkedIn, the most prominent online portal for networking and job search could do with a few tweaks to ensure that users have a more authentic experience. Though deciding whether an invite is from a genuine person should be the user’s prerogative,LinkedIn can go a long way to ensure that people are not duped.
Here are some of my suggestions :–
1)If a user– let’s call him John— who has over 500 connections and endorsements across various skills decides to sell his profile(yeah,people do that now); all that the new user—let’s call him Joe — has to do is login using John’s credentials and update the profile photo and name and … Voila! Joe has over 500 connections now and a shining profile thanks to the massive number of endorsements. The key to differentiating such profiles is to look at the “Recommendations” section–> Fake profiles that have been bought would rarely have recommendations as the name of the original person cannot be edited.
2)LinkedIn should also include a security check where the user is required to authenticate his profile by verifying an activation link sent to his company email address.Since LinkedIn has a fairly large number of users across thousand companies,it should not be tough for them to check if a particular email address is related to a particular company.
Let’s say for example,that I work in Tata Consultancy Services and I enter the email address for verification purposes as email@example.com , LinkedIn should immediately be able to identify that I have listed a domain name that is not a relevant email address for Tata Consultancy Services (New submissions for domain names can be moderated)– This should cause a sharp drop in the number of fake recruiters and people who brainwash others (sometimes using their LinkedIn profile as resume for prospective marriage partners!!)
There are many other areas that LinkedIn can focus on such as monitoring the number of endorsements from 3rd degree connections but since this does not compromise the quality of user experience I feel that LinkedIn would be better served to focus on the first 2 points suggested.
Read my previous post on improving LinkedIn user experience: 3 LinkedIn Changes that could improve User Experience