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What's The Point of LinkedIn Endorsements?A couple of months ago I received an email from LinkedIn explaining that someone had “endorsed me” for Recruiting Skills. Interested in finding out what this meant, I checked my profile and realized I had been endorsed by someone I had never actually spoken with, albeit we were connected on LinkedIn.

This leads me to question the credibility of endorsements on LinkedIn, and why they have been implemented.

Is There Any Real Value to LinkedIn Endorsements?

I understand that most likely LinkedIn wants their users to interact more often with each other, however I’m not quite sure this feature is adding any value to the platform as a professional networking site.

As a recruiter, I am likely on LinkedIn 100% more often than the average person. I’m logged on during my entire work day. I tend to notice any changes and activity with LinkedIn and quickly assess whether it will improve my experience using the site or not.

One particular aspect of LinkedIn that I highly regard and respect are the recommendations. If someone has taken the time, energy, and thought into writing a recommendation on LinkedIn, they must truly commend the person they wrote about. I value recommendations, and I’ll generally view candidates with exceptional recommendations as ahead of the pack.

What I dislike about the new endorsements feature on LinkedIn is that it seems to be taking away from people writing recommendations.

Rather than writing a thoughtful piece, a person can instead easily click on a skill and “endorse” someone. It should not be that easy to truly endorse someone for their skills and knowledge. It takes about two seconds, and there is zero factor of credibility behind endorsing someone.

I have also noticed connections on LinkedIn will endorse me for a particular skill, only to request me to endorse them back.

In no way, shape, or form does LinkedIn regulate the way people are endorsing each other. I could VERY easily list a skill such as “neuroscience” and ask a few friends (or strangers!) to endorse me for it. Before you know it, I’m a surgeon slash recruiter extraordinaire (sounds like grounds for a reality TV show!)

I very much like using LinkedIn as a recruiting tool and I would hate to see the credibility of the site decrease.

Overall, I would like to see LinkedIn get rid of this fluff-filled feature. If they keep it, I highly encourage individuals to endorse people for skills they genuinely know those people are able to perform.

What do you think? Do you like the endorsements feature on LinkedIn or do you think it’s a waste?

Katy Smigowski is responsible for recruiting initiatives for both the firm and its portfolio companies.

  • Adrian

    Good article

    I think Endorsements help to give meaningful data and depth to otherwise poor profiles with no searchable information.

    As there are a lot of incomplete profiles on Linkedin, endorsements allow for other people to “skill up” someones profile.

    This helps recruiters as it provides better insight that persons skills. Depending on the Linkedins search algorithm, it could possibly even make them appear in more searches.

    It wont replace recommendation, but may help to quickly rectify the issue that Linkedin has with a lot shallow profile data.

    Adrian

  • disqus_ATi7AgVMpr

    Good article. A suggestion to LinkedIn…what if for each endorsement you had to write a sentence about why you are endorsing the person. This would make each endorsement more meaningful I believe.

  • manish gupta

    I somehow do not agree Katy. Reason for this is primarily linked to a question “Why you are connected with a person on LinkedIn and how?”. When you say that you do not know a particular person in question and are just connected, how the connection happened, who initialized it? If you really have not reviewed the profile of that person before clicking ”accept invitation”, not really knowing that this connection will add some value, he/she shall not be in you connections list. But as you did see reveiw and accepted the request, you thought at that time that this person will add some value and be of use to be in your network. Surely enough I can not go on ENDORSING anyone and everyone, but definitely YES for those who are in my network who request for it (I have spent time reviewing what they do so quite aware of what they do).

    Agree, if one liner is also requested to add when you endorse someone. This will bring more value.

    • http://twitter.com/KSmigowski Katy Smigowski

      Manish – I can see what you’re saying here. It’s true, some folks might genuinely know each person they are connected with on Linkedin. And in that case I could understand endorsing someone for their skills. However, I believe more likely than not we are connected to people we have not worked with directly, or know personally. I think that is the nature of an *online* networking platform. I do believe we connect with someone assuming they will add value to our network (otherwise, you should decline). Personally (especially as a recruiter, hiring for positions across the country), I do not personally know everyone in my Linkedin network and would not encourage them to endorse me on skills which they have not seen in action.

  • http://twitter.com/salesgrok Dennis Hall

    Thanks for the thought provoking article! The greatest threat to LinkedIn’s credibility is people connecting with people they don’t know (at all). The “worthiness” of Endorsements are a symptom of the larger problem.

  • http://twitter.com/mattbertuzzi Matt Bertuzzi

    One idea is to regulate the number of endorsements a user can generate in a given time period (or ever). If I only have 10 endorsements to spend, I’m less likely to game it. Another thought: given how easy it is to give endorsements, what does it say about a profile that is entirely lacking?

  • http://www.facebook.com/ronnie.somerville Ronnie Somerville

    I suspect that LI may start to weight the endorsements once they have enough data. A kind of “PageRank” algorithm.

  • http://twitter.com/ragneyi Sampathkumar Iyengar

    Definitely endorsements are a waste and are better dispensed with

  • http://twitter.com/Keithfinger Keith Finger

    Adrian, how about we have the people with poor profiles “skill up” their own profiles like the rest of us work to do? If you really want to help someone, tell them how to improve their profile or give a personal recommendation, which requires some thought and more effort than just the click of a button.