Why LinkedIn Endorsements Don’t Change Everything

LinkedIn recently rolled out Endorsements — a new feature that lets you “Give kudos with just one click.” Like recommendations, endorsements are a way to publicly vouch for someone’s skills and expertise. But there are a couple of key differences:

  1. Endorsements are done with a single click
  2. LinkedIn continually suggests that you endorse your connections, and even suggests the skills to endorse them for

LinkedIn Endorsements Emails

In an article last week, Inc. proclaimed that “LinkedIn Endorsements changes everything,” stating:

It takes someone seconds to vouch for one or more of your particular skills, versus the 10 minutes to 15 minutes a recommendation might take. In today’s time-starved world, this is a critical difference. LinkedIn hasn’t released numbers yet, but if you look at several profiles, it’s clear that in just a few weeks, many users have generated way more endorsements than five years worth of recommendations. 

Amassing a large number of endorsements sounds great in practice, but there’s a huge problem where credibility is concerned. Let me explain.

Endorsing What You Don’t Know

When I look at who’s endorsed me, the first three people I see are:

  • My roommate
  • My significant other
  • My significant other’s mom

While I’ve spoken about my work with all of these people (and while I certainly appreciate the endorsements), the fact of the matter is that we’re in completely different industries and we’ve never done any sort of business together. So how much weight can these endorsements really hold?

And then when I go to reciprocate the gesture for one of the aforementioned people, I’m presented with these endorsement suggestions:

LinkedIn Endorsements
Pardon my French, but what the fudge are Catia, Nastran, and Unigraphics?

I’ve never even heard of the first three things and can’t in good faith attest to the fourth or fifth. So do I endorse this person? And if I do, should head hunters view the endorsements as representative of his skills?

The ease with which you can endorse someone is both the beauty and the beast of this new feature. I’m much more likely to endorse someone when the suggestion is already there — it eliminates steps for me, which is fantastic — but I also don’t need to know anything about what the person does.

How I Will Still Use Endorsements

As should be obvious by now, I will not weight endorsements heavily when screening or searching for job applicants. I will, however, use them to keep up with the competition.

As Inc. points out:

LinkedIn isn’t weighting endorsements in search results yet, but it will soon. This means, the more endorsements for your skills and talents that you get, the more often you’ll appear in search results, the more trusted you’ll be, and the more leads you’ll potentially generate from LinkedIn.

I want to reap these benefits, so I will gladly endorse others (partly in order to obtain their endorsements of me) and will gladly accept endorsements from my roommate, my significant other, and my significant other’s mom. I’ll also endorse them in return, so they can enjoy the same lift I do.

Finally, I can see myself endorsing someone to get on his or her radar. For instance, say you did an informational interview a couple of months back and are still hoping to get a job lead out of it. Why not endorse the person you met with, thereby reminding her that you’re around? It’s a thoughtful, subtle way to reopen the conversation between you two.

What do you think — is LinkedIn’s new Endorsements feature a game-changer? Let us know in the comments.

Written by

Rachel Dotson is a former digital marketing manager and former blog contributor at ZipRecruiter. She is based in Venice, California.

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