A Definitive List of the 10 Worst LinkedIn Memes

It’s become increasingly popular of late in recruiting blog circles (which circle of Hell is that again?) to criticize LinkedIn. And while some of that criticism is warranted (see here and here), I want to make it clear that that’s not my intent. In this case, LinkedIn is just the medium through which these memes happened to be shared. So if you’re hoping for one of those “LinkedIn is dead” posts that seem to be popping up every hour on the hour, you’re going to be disappointed.

Instead, I want to focus on what I think we can all agree is the single most important issue facing our country at the moment: the new proliferation of LinkedIn-user-generated memes.

In case you’re not familiar with this phenomenon, over the last 18 months enterprising LinkedIn users have attempted to harness the power of viral marketing by co-opting the memes you know and love from the rest of the internet and making them much, much worse.

If you’re in the dark about what I’m talking about, I strongly urge you to close this tab in your browser. Seriously. Get out while you still can. Your ignorance on this subject is a beacon of happy innocence to which we should all aspire.

For the rest of you, I’ve taken the liberty of compiling 10 of the best (read: worst) examples below.

Discerning readers will probably notice that most of the memes below were created by third party recruiters. Is that just a coincidence? Perhaps. Or perhaps it’s a byproduct of the fact that 98.6%* of LinkedIn’s daily active users are third party recruiters. Regardless, I want to make it clear that I’m not attempting to single anybody out, and have cropped out the people responsible as only God can truly punish them for what they’ve wrought.

(*Rough estimate)

Also, I suppose I should probably say something like:

The views you are about to read in no way represent the views of of my employer, HireArt, and are not in any way indicative of the feelings of entire company, investors, clients etc. etc.


1. A Recruiter Tries to Make You Feel Bad for Him/Her

Alternate title: “A Recruiter Didn’t Do Their Job Well.” 50 resumes and only 4 interviews? That’s…not good. 223 people seem to think this story casts recruiters in a sympathetic light. Those same 223 people probably wonder why this is a thing:


2. A Pointless Puzzle


The first I saw was “professional.” As in, as a professional, I’d never participate in a word search on LinkedIn.


3. A Recruiter Doesn’t Want You To Talk to Your Spouse, For Some Reason

Stewie Candidate Meme

If you ever have the luck to see this pop up on your feed (and it’s content on LinkedIn that’s been engaged with, so it will inevitably pop up in your feed) read through the comments. Just recruiter after recruiter mocking candidates who. . .consult their spouses about major life decisions. I guess that’s cool?


4. Another Pointless Puzzle

Match Equation

What’s the upside of answering this? On the one hand, you get the answer wrong very publicly, and everybody in your professional network knows that critical thinking isn’t your strong suit. On the other hand, even if you get it right, you still did a puzzle on LinkedIn. Either way, you lose.


5. Self-Serving, Misleading Statistics

Oh look, statistics from the Wall Street Journal. Why wouldn’t I, as a candidate on the fence about whether or not to leave a job that I’m presumably willing to stay at, take those seriously?

One good reason: the statistics cited in this graphic are from a survey conducted in the 1970s.

Here are a couple of other statistics the Wall Street Journal published in the 1970s**:

  1. 0 out of 10 homes have an internet connection.
  2. 100% of telephones are tethered to the wall via a cord.

The point is this: the labor market in the 70s had virtually nothing in common with today’s, and the relationship between employers and their employees was drastically different. You understand your standing at your current job much better than any third party recruiter ever will. Don’t let them scare you into making a decision you’re not comfortable with. If you need advice about whether or not to accept a counter offer, you can’t do better than this piece by Liz Ryan. And you can’t do worse that listening to somebody who only makes money if you take the job.

(** Note: The Wall Street Journal did not actually publish these statistics in the 1970s, I assume.)


6. Recruiter Humor

accept role meme

Some top notch recruiter humor here.

Wait, what? You’re not laughing?

Allow me to explain.

You see, the joke here is that the recruiter you’ve been relying on to help you with your job search actually sees you as a commodity and is sweating about the possibility of losing a commission. Have a question about the major life event they convinced you to undertake? Too bad. That makes you a real jerk. Stop torturing Jordan Peele with your reasonable doubt.


7. A LinkedIn Search ≠ “A Very Particular Set of Skills”

Find you on LinkedIn

This one drives me particularly crazy. Finding people on LinkedIn isn’t a skill. LinkedIn has a very easy-to-use search function. Recruiters/recruiting firms share this meme as if it’s somehow indicative of how hard they’re willing to work to find the right candidate. Looking somebody up on LinkedIn is literally the least a recruiter can do.

Even the wording here suggests the recruiter already has the candidate’s name and is just “looking them up.” They’re not even building a search to identify a rare skillset or background. They’re just filling out the ‘First Name’ and ‘Last Name’ fields and hitting enter. This may as well read “hey, clients, I didn’t earn my commission.”


8. More (Confusing) Recruiter Humor

what recruiters really do

Two important questions for the creator of this gem:

  1. Why do your friends think you drink for a living?

and. . .

2. How/why are “what I think I do” and “what I really do” two different things? Why aren’t you aware of what you’re doing at work?

Oh, wait. I think the answers to question 1 and question 2 might be the same. And that you should get some help.


9. Indiscriminate Use of Stock Photos

baby meme

Look, I have no qualms with the content here. I agree with the sentiment completely.

But why is this a picture of a baby?


10. The Meme I Use to Tell You About HireArt

screen candidates

Actually, you know what? This one’s pretty legit. Screening 150 candidates well is a hugely time consuming task.

But humor me for a second: what if you could screen 150 candidates in no time at all? And all 150 of those candidates provided video and written work samples, responded to carefully selected structured interview questions, and a trained team graded them against a standard rubric so you had the data and human insight to make the right decisions, fast.

That’d be great. (See what I did there? Like in the movie.)

By the way, have you ever visited www.hireart.com/for-employers?

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