(This is a follow-up article to an earlier blog in which we shared our initial impression of LinkedIn’s “Endorsements.”)
When LinkedIn unveiled its new “Endorsements” section, I don’t imagine that it intended for them to mute LinkedIn’s image as a professional social media site. Yet, I have to wonder if that is exactly what is happening.
I receive notifications daily that people have endorsed me for certain skills. No doubt this happens to you. I have been endorsed by friends, former colleagues, relatives and even a few people who know of me, but with whom I really do not have a relationship. Some of the endorsements have even challenged me to be honest: though someone thinks I might have a particular skill, if I know that it really is not in my skillset then I do not accept it. I’m tempted to accept it, but then my ethics compass would be constantly spinning. Perhaps you have had the same reaction.
I suspect there are profiles on LinkedIn that accept all endorsements people make. I think that is unfortunate, either because the person is being deceptive or the person has a skewed self-reality. A third reason might be that the endorsee does not want to “offend” the endorser. Sentimentally, that’s a nice reason. Professionally, it is a conflict that must be dealt with. And if you don’t know how to do it, then you could probably use some work on your conflict resolution skillset.
Kristin Burnham, a writer for CIO.com, encourages turning off the Endorsements section on your profile, or at least editing them. Her reason is that they can be false representations. It makes sense. What if someone hires you because they see an endorsement for a certain skill that you really don’t have?
LinkedIn unveiled this feature in mid-2012. But, there are some analysts who predict that Endorsements will be discontinued in the near future. In an article on the Inc. Magazine website, Rene Shimada Siegel writes that executives and other professionals will soon realize that Endorsements on a LinkedIn profile “are worth as much as the effort it took to award them to someone: Nothing.” Endorsements are easy (lazy?) ways to give a Recommendation on LinkedIn.
In the earlier blog referenced above, we made note of the difference between Endorsements and Recommendations. The distinction remains—Endorsements are about skills and Recommendations are about the person. But the value of Endorsements may prove to be diminished.
We recommend you exercise discernment if using Endorsements on your LinkedIn profile. Do not be afraid to reject an endorsement, and be prudent when making an endorsement for someone else. Better yet, write a recommendation.