LinkedIn Endorsements

September 28th, 2012 | by Jason Alba |

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).

Why?

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?

 

  1. 11 Responses to “LinkedIn Endorsements”

  2. By Lara Taeuber on Sep 28, 2012 | Reply

    This is like the poke button on Facebook. It needs to take an effort to be taken seriously.

  3. By Jason Alba on Sep 28, 2012 | Reply

    Lara, interesting idea… thanks for sharing!

  4. By bert on Sep 28, 2012 | Reply

    Can you reject them?

  5. By ted poppitz on Oct 3, 2012 | Reply

    I think it is annoying. I don’t want Linked-In randomly contacting my contacts and asking them to endorse me. If I want an endorsement I will talk to my contact. I will probably quit using my Linked-In account now, this is over the top.

  6. By Thea Kelley, GCDF, CPRW on Oct 8, 2012 | Reply

    I agree, it totally cheapens LinkedIn.

    Do we know yet what the effect is on SEO within LinkedIn search results? If it affects search rankings, some of us may feel forced to play along. :(

  7. By Jason Alba on Oct 8, 2012 | Reply

    No idea yet Thea. I have heard it has a big impact, but I haven’t tested it. I usually give LinkedIn a while to let the dust settle :p

  8. By Jason Alba on Oct 13, 2012 | Reply

    @Bert – I don’t know, I haven’t played around with it. I understand you can remove some skills from showing up on your Profile.

    I don’t like to play around with new stuff until the dust settles…

  9. By Diana Schneidman on Oct 18, 2012 | Reply

    Jason,

    I agree totally.

    I didn’t know about Endorsements until I received my first one. I’ve received several, half from people I’ve never heard of. I’d guess the idea is that I’ll endorse them in return.

    I’d like to delete endorsements from strangers, just as I don’t accept connections from strangers. I have no interest in accumulating empty votes in any Internet venue and that includes even Google.

    -Diana

  10. By Trav on Oct 18, 2012 | Reply

    I agree, recommendations are far more value adding than your friends simply “endorsing” you. What would be interesting if there was an up/downvote button on LinkedIn… then your real online qualities would show through!

  11. By Jesper Sloth Andersen on Oct 24, 2012 | Reply

    I agree, that the concept for endorsements could have been better. For example would it be better, if each endorsement was assigned to a job, and only people working with you in that job, could actually endorse you. That would increase the value and validity of the functionality, but might be a lot more difficult to implement/administrate.

    With that said, I do hope that this does have an effect on the SEO for the LinkedIn search. People actively asking for this, are putting in more work, and must therefore be more active in their search (as in job hunting). It should come as no surprise to anyone, that the more activity you have on LinkedIn, the more likely you are to appear in a search.

    Therefore a headhunter searching for a specific skill, should get those with most endorsements at the top of the search, combined with a rating of the activity.

    I have asked specific colleagues to endorse me, but only for the areas they think apply to me (so not just blindly clicking on all selected skills) and that has worked fine. To encourage them to endorse me, I have endorsed them in the same way first.

    @Diana Schneidman: Why not connect with people you don’t know? They could attempt to connect with you, because they have a job offer for you? And if you use tags (and comments) for each person, then it is easy to find those that are really known to you, and those that are more distant in your network. If you appear in a search, and the person searching, can see that you are connected directly or even in 2nd degree instead of 3rd degree, then you are more likely to be contacted.

    @Jason Alba: Thanks for a lot of great posts! I have only just found this site today, and have already spent loads of time reading, and will surely return again :)

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  2. Oct 16, 2012: Continuing the conversation LinkedIn Endorsements

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