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Stop Devaluing LinkedIn!

I’ve been using LinkedIn for more than seven years now.  I’ve been a serious user and have been a part of building networks with it from the beginning.  I write this blog/rant as a guardian of an important tool in human resources management.

From as far back as I can remember, LinkedIn has had a Recommendation feature.  The Recommendation feature allows people who know you to write nice things about you and they can attribute their comments to specific roles you have held.

Maybe I’m a geek, but I read the recommedations. I place value on what people say about other people. Yes, I do know to treat some of it with a grain of salt because the recommendation feature has a tendency to create a mutual admiration society, but generally it helps to understand someone’s experience and the types of people they connect with.  They are written and their quality is easy to decipher.  It’s a great tool for us HR folks when we are recruiting.

Recently, LinkedIn added a new feature called Endorsements.  This feature allows you to endorse others for their experience on a wide variety of subjects.

This is where I’m getting quite annoyed.

It would be one thing if people were endorsing the experience of their connections based upon direct exposure to their work, but they aren’t.

I know this for a fact, because recently a number of my connections started endorsing me for things where they’ve never actually seen me in action. While nice, it is bad.  Some of the endorsements people have given me are so silly; they might as well have endorsed me for my skills at under water basket weaving!

The hard part is that I’d like to endorse some of my connections. They do good work and I appreciate what they do.  But there’s no point in doing so because this feature has been devalued by endorsement-hungry individuals who seem to have no idea that it is appropriate only to endorse people for their actual, not perceived capabilities.  Worse than that, there are those who accept endorsements when they know full well they aren’t accurate.

And is there any legal liability that can be traced to an inaccurate endorsement?

Unfortunately, there is no real way in LinkedIn to control this other than to edit your profile and remove the endorsements. It took me about 15 minutes to figure out how to do this, which means the average person won’t clean up their own profile.

All I’m saying is stop devaluing LinkedIn Endorsements.  I suggest the following:

  • Endorse only people you know well.
  • Endorse only the skills/capabilities you’ve observed directly.
  • Never give an endorsement to get an endorsement.
  • Manage your endorsements.

That is all.


  1. Great post Bonni…and I totally agree! The endorsements are probably the most annoying thing I’ve seen from LinkedIn in a long time…if ever. Like you, I have been using LinkedIn for 5+ years…and tried to stay active and relevant. I’ve received many endorsements recently – while I appreciate them, I kinda wish I could give them back. Same reasons you mentioned – not quite sure that these people have actually experienced these areas of expertise from me directly.

    Therefore, I hope that all my connections will forgive me for not endorsing them…because I’m not sure that it holds much value. I’ll stick to the “Recommendations” and using the old “word of mouth” method.

  2. Sorry Bonni, but you’re too late…the endorsements have already joined the recommendations as being completely devalued. I’ve had people that I don’t even know – that I’ve never met or even spoken to once – that have endorsed me. I’ve also noticed there are several groups creating conversations encouraging people to endorse each other by making posts saying they are “open to endorsements”, and I can see connections of mine that belong to these groups in my updates feed endorsing people from far away countries that I am sure they do not know.

    There will never be any ramifications, legal or otherwise; all you can do is forget them and move on…I only wish I could recant the ones I’ve already made.

  3. Great article, I’d have to agree with this. Endorsements are simply an area I ignore now unfortunately. However, when I see underwater basket weaving become an option to endorse you for, I will be the first one there clicking on that “endorse” button! 🙂 Happy Holidays!

  4. Bonnie – I had the same discussion with colleagues just this week as I was endorsed for my HR skills by my financial advisor. How would she know if I’m good at employee relations? Although I appreciate the thought, it really hit home how silly this whole endorsement feature really is.

  5. My initial reaction to the additon of ‘endorsements’ was concern about the potential for misuse and it appears that some people have experienced that. I have always maintained relatively tight control over my SN accounts which is something I recommend for anyone. I have only had one endorsement that didn’t make sense and I removed it. There was a helpful discussion on the SMinOrgs LinkedIn group when this first came up and it changed my concern about misuse to deciding I could and would only be able to control how I use it. What others do is their responsibilty -I believe that it will soon become obvious who has endorsements that are reasonable and realistic and who is gaming the system.

    It is best to look at any social network tool from a stance of quality and not quantity. Setting a goal of having thousands of LinkedIn connections, Facebook friends or Twitter followers will not help gain the real benefits of participating online. Nor will having a hard to believe number of endorsements create the desired effect.

  6. Great post, Bonni!
    I couldn’t agree with you more.
    I do support the recommendation feature. But, “endorsements” is totally not what it should be. I noticed the same that I was being endorsed by people who were endorsing skills they never saw me exercising. And I do feel humbled but that doesn’t give the accurate picture.

    Great tips for managing this tool!

  7. I have also had many endorsements lately – too many from people that I barely know and have never worked with.

    I don’t value endorsements at all and have felt that way from the first time the popups started to appear every time I entered LinkedIn. It’s too easy to check the endorsements without putting any real thought to it.

    I think LinkedIn should scrap this feature rather than expecting individual users to clean up after the fact. I imagine some kind of legal/ethical issue will crop up eventually when an unsubstantiated set of endorsements gets found out.

  8. Can’t agree more with you on this Bonni,

    I have found that people are using this to increase their exposure & visibility on Linkedin. People whose profiles are viewed more have more people endorsing their skills.I do not know majority of the people who have endorsed my skills.It is a great networking opportunity for them,& they are grabbing it with both hands.It is only going to increase as more & more people use it as a tool for networking.

    I feel that you should allow/suggest people to share this article on Linkedin as an update. You should also allow people to curate, improve and post the same in the groups.

    The results may not be revolutionary.But may be we can hope for some improvement.

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