LinkedIn Endorsements – Will you be doing it?

I’m not a massive fan of LinkedIn. It’s more an unecessary evil, than a pleasure. It has however been going through a number of changes this year, and I’ve not disliked too many of them. 


The visuals have improved, the auto-twitter link has gone, and company pages are getting better. 

Then came this new `Skills Endorsements` characteristic over recent days. My first feeling was that this was just way too easy. Surely recommendations are what this is for – if people genuinely want to recommend, they can write a short endorsement through that system, right? 


Well, the reality is, no. I know I have forgotten to write recommendations I meant to, and have been rightly and fairly asked for. I have also made a few requests recently for recommendations for people I have done good stuff for, received a reply of `yes absolutely`… and then nothing came.

The reason? Time.

Plus also, I’m not convinced that people give that much credence to them anymore, thanks to the lame reciprical recommendations that have happened over the years. 

So, to endorse through a simple click of a +1? – that seems way more accessible, right? 

Now let’s be fair and diffrentiate the two. We know what a LinkedIn recommendation stands for, but the new Endorsement structure is nothing more than a hat-tip to the receiver, to say “Yup, I would acknowledge that they ARE skilled in Social Media, or Accontancy, or Recruiting”. It’s not about a specific circumstance, or even from first hand experience – but we know who are our go-to guys in the various areas of our professional lives, and it’s merely acknowledging their basic profesisonal attributes. Even better, we are doing in bulk form. 

So, as Mark Williams (aka Mr LinkedIn) wrote this morning; yes, this can also be gamed, and distorted by ill-judged endorsements; particularly given how easy it is to do so. 

But then equally, people who may not otherwise have the opportunity or circumstance to fully recommend, can do so at ease. So yes, it is easy to make frivolous endorsements willy-nilly; but equally it wil stack up the genuine ones too. As I commented on Mark’s blog – yes 1 or 2 on a skill category may not be authoritative, but when someone starts to get 10, 15, or 20 endorsements on a skill category, I think it’s pretty fair to say that person is well thought of, in a honest and truly reflective manner. Genuine endorsements in bulk form, add much weight to an authority on a subject. 

From a recruitment perspective, it is also a potentially valuable accreditation of a skill for identification of a niche talent area. 

So, I’m all in favour – and have been happy to make a point of endorsing people I value and respect, in the areas I have felt they stand out in. `Endorsed with consideration` as Mark replied to me, of course. But I hope the endorsing culture is encouraged and then subsequently fair across the board. 

2 thoughts on “LinkedIn Endorsements – Will you be doing it?

  1. I think it just feeds into people’s obsession with number count and gaming systems. It also tends to make people lazy about selling themselves when they can just point to a list of one-click endorsements.

    Even the testimonial function has its flaws, given how many of them are asked-for or from meaningless contacts like work-colleagues or candidates. But at least that can be gleaned by looking at them a little closer.

    The reality is that little of it is meaningful unless it comes from someone who has paid money for that person’s services.

    I think we’re still a long way from seeing real testimonials that say things like “Eric is a great recruiter, but a bit shit at admin”.

  2. It does feed into that obsession Mitch, but that’s why I think it will work. Recommendation of skill shouldn’t have to be a painstaking process – sometimes genuineness comes from simplicity, and easiness of sharing.

    These things will always have flaws. Even in the `old days` written recommendations were contrived and for show. Yes. If you a proper testimonial , pick up the phone and ask them a bunch of searching questions.

    The irony of the numeracy obsession, is that I believe it will therefore amount to reality. Like I say 1 or 2 people can be wrong, but it’s unlikely 20 will be. Hopefully it’s one way of separating the wheat from the chaff; or at least getting a real cross-section of someone’s skills.

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