LinkedIn endorsements – why I’ve done an about turn

DD LI EndorsementsWhen LinkedIn rolled out their skill endorsement programme my immediate reaction was not positive.   My inner voice said “Tacky, superficial, transactional. Tapping into the worst aspects of social media interaction and white noise, akin to Facebook “likes” and Twitter Follow Fridays.  There was no way to quantify the scope or quality of any endorsement and it all seemed like a silly popularity contest.   They are no substitute for a detailed and thought out Recommendation from a colleague or superior,  who actually knows the work of the person involved and can genuinely reference that particular quality.

Downward trend?

It’s hard to know why LinkedIn followed this trend. I can only assume that advertising revenue is correlated to member engagement and page views.   This is one way of generating inter-connectivity via the alerts which appear on your LinkedIn dashboard, in your updates and as an email.

The other is that apparently as many as 60% of profiles on LinkedIn are incomplete,  making it difficult for recruiters to tap into profiles via keyword searches. By allocating keywords to each other,  we very obligingly save the individual work and provide the LinkedIn algorithms with the necessary keyworded skills on his or her behalf.  So this seems to be a way of improving results for recruiters, thus making LinkedIn more attractive and by extension enhancing their revenue stream.

Downsides

The danger is that we can endorse skills provided conveniently in the pop up window which may not be skills that the person actually has. I am regularly endorsed for very peripheral skills and even activities in which I don’t specialise. I can only assume that someone has clicked the yellow endorse button, which covers all skills,  rather than deleting the spurious skill which I don’t have.

LinkedIn endorsements

However, despite this, I do confess to being something of a convert. I have not done a complete 360°, but certainly a bit of an about turn. Definitely  a 180°!

Here’s why.

  • Although not as strong as  a recommendation, a LinkedIn endorsement is a way for a person to acknowledge a small courtesy or service.  I have received endorsements from individuals whose path I have crossed years ago, perhaps in some minor way.  It’s a way of saying thank you and showing appreciation.
  • It can be a form of networking and staying in touch. It’s a quick and easy way to let someone know you have been on their radar with a bonus of public recognition,  rather than just an email. It’s a way of leaving a digital footprint in your network while eliminating  the nuisance factor.
  • It can be a way of acknowledging skills the individuals  themselves don’t recognise  or perhaps they don’t even understand they have. It is really useful for introverts to have that done for them, or those starting out on the online profile path. I’ve just endorsed the deserving members of my MBA  Career Management workshop for leadership, team playing and engagement. All important factors in contributing to the success of my sessions.
  • We can manage our endorsements  – we  have full control over which skills are endorsed and which endorsers are visible on our profiles. If  specific skills are targeted or even if the preference is to have endorsements hidden, this is our choice. We can leave key influencers in our networks visible.
  • Endorsements provide feedback.
  • Endorsements provide an opportunity to strengthen relationships,  not by automatic reciprocation but via the initiation of dialogue.
  • We don’t have to approve endorsements from people we don’t know.
  • We don’t have to reciprocate if the endorsement is not genuine.

LinkedIn logoSo  it seems provided that we all behave sensibly, genuinely and with integrity there is no reason why the endorsement system can’t provide some added value.

Like with many other processes, it’s the responsibility of the user not to become the abuser.

How do you use LinkedIn endorsements to enhance your online presence?

23 responses to “LinkedIn endorsements – why I’ve done an about turn

  1. Hi. If you had done a 360, you would’ve ended up the same as you started 😉

  2. I’m with you on this. I will only endorse those who I know and expect the same. However, there is nothing like a written recommendation from a respected colleague or business associate.

  3. Great thoughts! I also think that the things that are most recommended can point to the things that the person is truly capable of. You can also cross reference the recommendations with other items on the LinkedIn profile: career history, education, written recommendations, etc.

    I have also been careful with who I recommend and for what capability, it reflects on my character and judgement.

    • Hi Andrew – how are you? Hope all is well. I agree. We devalue our recommendation currency if we are indiscriminate. I also use the tool sparingly and appropriately. Worth it in the long run I think. Thanks for your comment.

      • Andrew McKeown

        Hello Dorothy. I am doing quite well. Now that the MBA/MS is behind me I am looking forward to the next chapter. I often think of the workshop that we had with you in Paris. Thank you for everything!

      • Those were the days! My Paris MBA “season” finished last week for the new cohort!

  4. I went through similar process. From denial to acceptance, and I still don’t like to be endorsed by someone who is not familiar with my expertise.

  5. Dorothy – your thought process mirrors mine – was initially uncertain of the value, now I can see a few benefits. The sticking point to me is that not everyone will use the common sense that is requisite in any social media interaction. So, we will still need to suffer the random “endorsement” in an area that doesn’t make any sense.

    Great post – thanks for a thorough and thoughtful analysis of this “quick hit” social media feature.

  6. Thanks for sharing your journey on this. I’ve come to feel it’s more useful to make the best we can of LinkedIn’s changes than to rail against them, and we do have the capacity to manage this one, as you make so clear.

  7. Hi, I think when used properly the endorsements do make sense but it often feels more like a popularity contest.

  8. Reblogged this on Simon Hamer and commented:
    Another post from one of the “Top recommended People” group on LinkedIn, featuring Endorsements

  9. Re-blogged Dorothy, I think it does make search for the right person easier, and then they can look through their recommendations to back up the statistical data from endorsements.

    It amused me the other day, as we are allowed 50 skills, I chose the ones I thought were appropriate to me, and reflected what I’d like others to find me for, but I’m clearly simply not creative enough. I was endorsed for 81 skills by one person, now I know I’m skillful, but 81 …. there’s only Ross Dodwell with that many skills. 😉

  10. “So it seems provided that we all behave sensibly, genuinely and with integrity there is no reason why the endorsement system can’t provide some added value.” Wise words: couldn’t say it any better. Cheers! Kaarina

  11. Such a great article, thanks you

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