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.