středa 18. června 2014

Fake profiles on Linkedin. Why? And who is behind this?

Maybe you found recently some invite from somebody who mentioned on his LinkedIn profile that it’s Talent Manager, Talent Hunter, Talent Specialist from companies like Google, Amazon, Skype etc. You accepted and nothing happened and you think that what is the reason, why I got this invitation?

Well, I can assure you, that “something happened” after you accepted this invite. 
I will try to disclose who is behind these profiles.

Me and two of my friends (both are also recruiters in Prague), we tried to find out who is behind it.

And because people behind these profiles are not responding on inmails, we tried small test to find out who is responsible for this.

Our small test:

- We created 3 email addresses on, only for the LinkedIn test. So we never used these emails anywhere else.

- We created 3 fake profiles of developers (freelancers, because we don’t want to use any real company) and we used these newly created emails. (These profiles were removed after the test)

- Than we connect each other and contact few people from agencies (sorry for that, but we need to have few people in our connection so others was 2nd connection for us). We only choose 4 from agencies, based on their number of connections and also we chose people from international brands so people are not going to share our email. Also every fake profile that we created has different people in the connections.

- We start visiting these fakes’ profiles of these “Talent Hunters/Managers” etc. from Google, Skype, Amazon and other companies. So they can see our profiles and they can send us invitation.

- During one day we got few invites from these profiles. Each fake profiles got and invite from all these 3 companies. So one profile accepted invite from Amazon, second one from Google and the last one from Skype. (Note: not from the real companies) But from "Google" we got absolutely most invites :)

- Within 24-48 hours every fake profile, that we created, got few job offers by email for freelancer job from CoolPeople on our newly created emails. Coincidence? Or they can predict newly created emails? I don’t think so :)

- We asked them, where they get these emails and the answer from their CEO (Milan Calek) was “From public source”. I am curious which “public source” has already own our emails, that we use only for LinkedIn and for this test only. :) 

- And that’s how we find out who is behind these fakes profiles on the LinkedIn. And not only in Czech Republic, but also in Germany and other countries where the CoolPeple are.

From their website CoolPeople’s unique offer lies in the ability to deliver top IT experts from around the world as needed, flexible models of cooperation and very extensive portfolio of IT professionals. Most of these talents are not achievable by classical methods of recruiting of the end clients or recruitment agencies.”

Yes, the classical methods are buidling relationship with candidates and not hinding behind fake profiles. But classical method is taking so long and you need to be honest with the candidate. So that’s the reason why  “CoolPeople ’s unique offer  lies in the ability to deliver top IT experts from around the world as needed.”

Why should I / you care?

You can think, who cares about the fake profiles, if you get a good job offer and that is all the matters. And the people should also approve only LinkedIn profiles they know, so it’s their problem to accept these invites.

Well, the offers are not so great and the companies and recruiters in these companies care about this problem. If CoolPeople is approaching candidates as a Google and candidates contacting this profile for more info about job offers and if CoolPeople are not responding on these email and messages, they are building bad name/reputation for the Google and Google recruiters.

Also its looks really strange, that you sent a message to Google recruiter and he told you to contact CoolPeople representative and he will help you to get a job at Google. And this is applicable for the every company, not only for Google. Mostly the “recruiters” from CoolPeople they are hiding behind well-known brands as a Skype, Amazon etc. Because if you are going see great brand, there is high possibility that you accept the invite. 

Why the fake profile are problem:
- They are affecting the trust between the real companies and possible candidates
- They are lying and cheating the people with incorrect information

So why they create fake profiles?
- Its business, they try to get your email so they can send you job offer (mostly irrelevant), but still they can sell you to some company if you are interested. And its quick way, how to get your contact, without any other problems.
- They can sell the “live” email address to spam companies or for any other marketing purpose

How to find out if the profile is fake?
- Check the profile if its full or its just empty profile without any information and recommendation
- Don’t accept invitation from people they look suspicious

One fake profile.

Real photo

Fake profile
Or another "real profile" :)

So how to stop this?
- Report the fake profiles to LinkedIn ( learn how to do that here
- Start asking CoolPeople representatives where they get you email and don’t trust them that it’s from “public source”.
- Share this article and warn others
- Most effective way is stop working with them (as a candidate and company)

More profiles on Linkedin (just small sample)

What will be next article? 
.... You will see and that "agency" will not like that at all. ;)

Update: 6/21/2014 - I found the Czech translation of this article 

17 komentářů:

  1. Great job on this topic, glad someone took his time and made such research. We dealt with fake profiles when I was with Skype all the time. We had a feeling for "one specific company" ... ;-)

  2. I work in an HR firm (DRILL) where using fake profiles is strictly forbidden and recently had also an interesting experience:

    I sent an invite to a profile on LinkedIN (Looking for new opportunity, QA, all kinds of experience, including activities during secondary school), it got accepted, so I sent a job offer to the email and got a reply "I am sick and dont know when will I return to work again". Only problem was that it was signed with a different name... A name of a recruiter from a recruitment agency :) So I dropped him an email with a request to explain what is going on. I got a call and the answer was simple - the guy messed up. He was from an agency scanning the market for job offers that their competition have, so they can try and take over their clients (?).

    So some agencies are faking not only recruiters, but also IT specialists... Talk about short term gain and long term fail...

  3. I would like to add one additional point: In my opinion, CoolPeople don´t offer real positions. I applied two times; in both cases, a negative answer arrived very early. I would say - too early. I am quite experienced person, so I discovered, there is something wrong. And indeed, I soon received an email offering the very "valuable" executive coaching program and training "how to improve my CV and profile". Clear swindle.

  4. If so, not COOL at all. Since working in the executive search business, I'd love to share this too, however if there is one thing I learned at the university, it was working with the primary sources. We make fun of Wiki but how much is an anonymous source a trustful one? It's a shame you don't have the guts to sign yourself. Cheers, Zuzana

  5. Good job guys. People are sick of receiving all kind of job offers and getting more and more resistant towards all recruiters. And thanks to this kind of people, recruiters getting "more trust". Sad is, they are still on market and probably doing good... Idea is let say "innovative" and little beyond ethics...

  6. Why the fake profile are problem:

    - Skutecna Lucie Hadasova by asi take nemala radost: )

    1. Josefe, vsadím se, že L.H. ani neví, že nějaký Linkedin existuje....

      - Ale souhlasím s Vámi, že by to asi neviděla tak cool jak si lidi v coolP asi myslí že to cool je.

  7. I just wonder, how does the Invitations work. Do the Recruiter Premium Account not allow you to see full user profiles and contact them? Why the real recruiter would need to Invite me? I reject any invitations from unknown people by default. It`s my professional network, not a list of recruiters who had found me.

  8. Thanks for the info. This is great that you informed the world about a practice that many don't know about.

  9. The companies involved (Google, Skype, Amazon...) should be informed of this. I belive this is nothing they lawyers couldn't solve in very very short time ;)

  10. Hi all, some answers are here :)

  11. This is funny: "CoolPeople finishing Corporate Social Responsibility certification" (

  12. It was published by Milan Čálek on LinkedIn 3 hours ago.

    Also thanks for the interesting research and articles.

  13. Which means in the event that you create a freelancers' marketplace that you do not have control on the t.. Freelancers can look for jobs by either popularity, rating, or price in a full assortment of categories. With all these freelancers doing work in the usa and around the Earth, a freelance marketplace has developed. For more information on computer network read me.