Each week, Dr Kirstin Ferguson tackles questions on the workplace, career and leadership in her advice column “Got a minute?” This week, exaggerated “flummery” on LinkedIn, supporting employees during the pandemic and confronting an unvaccinated hired carer.
If LinkedIn is here to stay as you said in an earlier column, how can a prospective employer detect whether the contents of a profile contains exaggerated “flummery” (to say the least) of the owner’s choosing?
I am confident that people talking up their qualifications and overstating their abilities has been a part of professional life since time immemorial. Flattery and self-promotion have never been limited simply to social media sites and I suspect might even be at its peak after-hours in the bar of exclusive business clubs.
A non-negotiable, golden rule when you list your career or education history on LinkedIn or a CV is to make sure your facts are impeccably accurate. That doesn’t mean you should be nervous about using LinkedIn. List everything you have done and be proud of it. Just never get it wrong.
Anyone who does exaggerate (or worse, lie) about their professional history is bound to be caught out and especially if they do it on a public site like LinkedIn. There have been numerous examples of LinkedIn profiles being someone’s downfall, for example by listing a degree they did not earn. So while professional “flummery” might be a risk, I actually think LinkedIn is one of the safest places for it to be self-regulated and to ensure that only facts prevail.
Employers, LinkedIn profiles are only one tool in your arsenal – you are also going to need to do the usual reference checks and interviews. By now your lie detector should be well honed and you can test any details that don’t add up.
Our organisation wants to do something to support employees during this time. We are a non-profit organisation, so unfortunately don’t have surplus cash to give employees benefits like extra paid leave. Some employees have been locked down for months whereas others are living life relatively normally. What is something we can do for employees to support them during this time?
I think the best gift you can give your employees right now doesn’t cost a thing.
What everyone, especially those in lockdown, need most right now is understanding and empathy for what they are experiencing. Ultimately as their employer it means being forgiving, being understanding and being compassionate.
For example, let your team members know it’s OK if they don’t put work first and it’s OK they don’t check emails at all hours. Let them know it’s OK if their kids, pets, deliverymen gate-crash team meetings. Let them know it is OK that a deadline is not met or if they have dodgy Wi-Fi. Let them know if it’s OK if they are having a bad day.