A few days ago LinkedIn announced what they are calling LinkedIn Endorsements.
Immediately I got emails asking what I thought. People are confused. So confused that on some email lists I’m on with career professionals some people (who definitely know their way around LinkedIn) thought it was a big scam from bad guys impersonating LinkedIn.
Well, it’s not a scam. And from what I can see, LinkedIn thinks this is the next big thing for the product.
It might be really good for LinkedIn, but I don’t have the vision that it will be good for users (or recruiters, who this is apparently most geared for).
Because it is too easy for people to “endorse” you. You can stack a bunch of endorsements with no efforts, and they could be meaningless. We’ve already seen this a little with Recommendations, where people get a bunch of recommendations (I have a lot but I have rarely asked for them).
Can’t you image people saying “I have 200 people who have endorsed my skills: Project Manager.”
I think what LinkedIn is doing is trying its hand at a concept called “gamification,” where users of a site get excited because they have a metric (in this case, the number of skills endorsed, or the number of endorsements for a skill). I know this is going to be “gamed.” People are going to ask for an endorsement, and others are going to freely give them out.
It’s happening with Recommendations, but at least with a Recommendation you can get a feel for the depth or quality of the recommendation.
I’m reminded of the ability to apply to a job on the LinkedIn job board, and one of my recruiter buddies worried that this feature was only going to increase the number of unqualified applicants, which is a major pain for HR and recruiters.
I can think of some problems that need to be fixed, and I can think of some enhancements to make this more believable, but in the end, I’m not going to hold my breath that this is going to be an important part of LinkedIn. Would love to be wrong in a year or so… we’ll see.
Oh yeah, I know a lot of people who I meet are not going to be excited that they should be working on yet one more thing… “great, now I have to get endorsements??” There are still too many people who aren’t doing the basics.
Here’s a less positive review of this feature: No!! LinkedIn Just Went Klout On Us!
Here’s TechCrunch’s post on it: LinkedIn Debuts Endorsements As A Lightweight Way To Recommend A Professional Contact’s Skills
Make sure you read the comments on those pages.
What do you think?