Mohammad Al-Ubaydli’s blog

Another day, another mistake, this time with LinkedIn

Posted in Management, People / organisations by Dr Mohammad Al-Ubaydli on September 30, 2008

One of my heroes, Esther Dyson, likes to say that one should always make new mistakes. I follow her advice every day but today I thought I would share my latest mistake in case it helps others.

There are lots of articles praising the ability of LinkedIn for reference checking. The company even has a dedicated tool for this. So I merrily used this after interviewing someone. I did this in a hurry because I really liked the person and wanted to reference check quickly. And I only spoke to the people who had publicly added positive comments about the person’s LinkedIn profile.

But I did not ask that person in advance if this was OK to do.

I know that venture capitalists do this all the time as part of due diligence. But there was no need for me to make the calls before checking with the person, especially as I liked him.

Fortunately, he is such a class act that he called me afterwards and explained to me why what I did was wrong. He appreciated my need to check, but my unannounced calls made it look like I either did not trust him or he was disorganized. Neither is true.

As it happens, all his colleagues mentioned how honest he was; that he would calmly and honestly speak his mind if he saw something wrong. He demonstrated this in spades when he spoke to me and now I want to work with him even more.

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