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What LinkedIn Endorsements Mean To You

LinkedIn's new Endorsements feature lets people easily recommend each other, but it will be the quality--not the quantity--of kudos that count.

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"Wayne has endorsed you," read the subject line of a message from LinkedIn in my Gmail inbox. "Oh, how nice," I thought. A long-time colleague took the time to recommend me. Then I saw that Mary had endorsed me, then Fran, and so on, and so on. Now I was suspicious. "Was this some kind of phishing scheme? Did something I wrote go viral? Why all the attention, all at once?" Then I actually opened one of the messages and saw that these endorsements were a new LinkedIn thing. I also saw, when I went to the LinkedIn site, that I could return the favor and endorse my own connections. To be honest, my next thought was, "What fresh social hell is this?"

OK, maybe I got a little dramatic there, but what I was responding to was, one, another surprise update from a social network and, two, what seemed like on its surface another social obligation--in more ways than one. I also worried that LinkedIn was becoming Klout-like, with a single (albeit aggregated) metric determining worth and value. (This is a premise being tested by a University of North Carolina professor who is basing 20% of his Social Media for Reporters students' grades on the number of points their Klout scores rise over the semester.)

So, what is the new LinkedIn Endorsements feature?

In a Sept. 24 blog post, LinkedIn's David Breger explained it this way: "On LinkedIn, you have many smart, talented, and skilled professional connections. Starting today, we are introducing Endorsements, a new feature that makes it easier to recognize them for their skills and expertise. With just one click, you can now endorse your connections for a skill they've listed on their profile or recommend one they haven't added yet. Think your connection is great at programming AND project management? Let them know!"

[ Learn about Facebook's new feature. See Facebook's Promoted Posts For Individuals: A Bad Idea. ]

To endorse a connection, you can click on recommended skills in their profile. Connections can also be endorsed from the new Skills & Expertise section at the bottom of profiles. When you have been endorsed, you receive notification in email and on LinkedIn, and these endorsements will show up in your own Skills & Expertise section.

LinkedIn has launched Endorsements in English across the United States, India, New Zealand, and Australia, and plans to add languages during the next few weeks, according to Breger's post.

What's in it for you?

LinkedIn Endorsements will provide an easy-to-read skills dashboard of sorts--a very streamlined version of your resume. This could be useful for people looking to connect with someone on a particular topic--one of the core functions of social networking for businesses--or for LinkedIn users in the market for a new job or otherwise looking to promote their expertise.

"Having a range of people in your network specify certain skills that they feel you do best provides an interesting data point for recruiters looking at your profile," said Tony Deblauwe, senior HR manager/business partner at Citrix.

LinkedIn Endorsements may also reduce some of the risk associated with bringing a new employee into the company.

"LinkedIn Endorsements might be a useful business tool for customers to review people," said Larry Stybel, president and CEO of career management and leadership development firm Stybel Peabody Lincolnshire, as well as executive in residence at the Sawyer Business School, Suffolk University. "For example, I have a search for a VP and I see two potential candidates rated highly in a skill. But one candidate is rated highly by someone I respect. I will contact that individual for a detailed reference without the candidate's knowledge. In other words, this may be a tool that can reduce risk to 'buyers.'"

So will there be a mad rush as people look to endorse and be endorsed, vying to attain as many endorsements as possible in a particular area? Is this the classic "I have more marbles than you so I win" paradigm?

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flyzipper
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flyzipper,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/11/2012 | 6:01:40 PM
re: What LinkedIn Endorsements Mean To You
I don't understand the "another social obligation" criticism.

Do more of what you want, and less of what you think is expected.

You'll be happier if you follow this approach in general.

In the case of endorsements, endorse if you want, or don't.

Simple.
Deb Donston-Miller
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Deb Donston-Miller,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/11/2012 | 10:14:03 PM
re: What LinkedIn Endorsements Mean To You
I understand what you are saying, but I think there is the whiff of, "I'll endorse you if you endorse me." I guess the level of obligation you feel has something to do with how secure you are in your position, whether you are in the market for a new job, your age (younger people trying to establish a foothold in an industry might be more eager to endorse and to get endorsed) and, ultimately, your nature. (I, for one, am a people pleaser :)

Deb Donston-Miller
Contributing Editor, The BrainYard
flyzipper
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flyzipper,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/11/2012 | 11:49:15 PM
re: What LinkedIn Endorsements Mean To You
Agree with your points, it can and will be used in the manner you're describing. I'd just expect people to grant endorsements only if they're genuine and heartfelt ... that's my nature, and that's the way I've been using it.

Maybe a default 'ass-kisser' skill should be added to everyone's profile so abusers could be called out by giving that attribute a +1. :)
HiltonB1
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HiltonB1,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/11/2012 | 6:17:22 PM
re: What LinkedIn Endorsements Mean To You
Debra - for me Endorsements has become LI's version of Likes and Check-Ins with a mad rush to accumulate as many as possible. Another Social Media "Arms Race". For an ardent fan of LinkedIn as I am, I consider this a "fail". I wrote a post on the subject of Endorsements last week and, judging by the comments, I'm not alone in considering it an error in judgement by LI. For reference, the post is here: www.hiltonbarbour.com/wordpres...

I do, however, appreciate your effort to bring a more rounded perspective to the discussion.
Deb Donston-Miller
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Deb Donston-Miller,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/11/2012 | 10:15:15 PM
re: What LinkedIn Endorsements Mean To You
I think "social media arms race" is the perfect way to put it.

Deb Donston-Miller
Contributing Editor, The BrainYard
ccarr770
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ccarr770,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/11/2012 | 6:20:47 PM
re: What LinkedIn Endorsements Mean To You
The problem with reciprocity is that I may, at some times, have to "return the favor" with an endorsement that is not heart-felt - merely obligatory. That, in my opinion, renders the whole scheme worthless.
MarkPorter
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MarkPorter,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/11/2012 | 6:48:45 PM
re: What LinkedIn Endorsements Mean To You
I have to concur with the "social hell" comment. Although I also have to say that I found endorsing people to be somewhat hypnotically addictive...particularly because they just keep coming...so maybe it's more a "Social Space Invaders" phenomena...<grin>
</grin>
Deb Donston-Miller
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Deb Donston-Miller,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/11/2012 | 10:18:21 PM
re: What LinkedIn Endorsements Mean To You
I think that is where the gamification comes in!

Deb Donston-Miller
Contributing Editor, The BrainYard
$487483
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$487483,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/11/2012 | 7:40:25 PM
re: What LinkedIn Endorsements Mean To You
Our anatomical systems are endorsing others viruses for which we have become immune, so I suppose a fractal of that behavior is only a reflection of an already good thing...unless it's serious!
Deb Donston-Miller
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Deb Donston-Miller,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/11/2012 | 10:10:47 PM
re: What LinkedIn Endorsements Mean To You
I was surprised by it, too. Perhaps more upfront notice and context around the feature would have made it more useful--and at least understandable.

Deb Donston-Miller
Contributing Editor,
EricLundquist
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EricLundquist,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/11/2012 | 10:15:09 PM
re: What LinkedIn Endorsements Mean To You
Good topic. The endorse feature quickly leads to an endorsement overload. I don't think LinkedIn is ready to step up to the plate with an "Unendorse" or "Nowaynohow" feature.
Deb Donston-Miller
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Deb Donston-Miller,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/12/2012 | 9:11:04 AM
re: What LinkedIn Endorsements Mean To You
Thanks for the comment, Keith. It's interesting to hear from the hiring side. It also seems to me that this feature could be easily manipulated, a la Facebook likes.

Deb Donston-Miller
Contributing Editor, The BrainYard
tv22
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tv22,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/12/2012 | 12:22:45 PM
re: What LinkedIn Endorsements Mean To You
The bigger issue is that since this "feature" has come on line I've been receiving endorsements from people who I haven't spoken with in years, endorsing me for skills that they either would not have known I had or were secondary to the skills that I was known for and demonstrated when we worked together. Just today I received one for a skill that I use now, but not so much before, from a guy I haven't spoken with in at least 10 years. It is already becoming noise.
BD..4
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BD..4,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/14/2012 | 9:00:38 PM
re: What LinkedIn Endorsements Mean To You
The whole concept of endorsements and # of connections really lame. Seriously, if an HR person uses these screens to find quality candidates, they are less than qualified for their job. Rather than relying on software algorithms and check boxs, how about actually talking to a prospective candidate. You'll find out more in 10 seconds than looking at all of the self-promotion (i.e. social media) pages out there.

I can't tell you how many times I have reached out to people on LinkedIn only to be told that they really don't know the person that they are connected to that well or that they haven't talked to them in years. Endorsements and Skills lists are in the same category - useless.

To the poster's comment about seeing an endorsement of someone by a person that they respected - wouldn't you see them as a connection anyway and reach out to get their opinion of the person anyway? Where is the value has been added by endorsements?

Deb and others make a valid point about gamification. I feel no obligation to give endorsements, nor do I seek them.
Albert Kurucz
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Albert Kurucz,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/15/2012 | 9:22:57 PM
re: What LinkedIn Endorsements Mean To You
How one can get reputation on that other site, stackoverflow, that is the example to follow!
IHAUERL6H
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IHAUERL6H,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/16/2012 | 12:07:09 PM
re: What LinkedIn Endorsements Mean To You
Last month our company dismissed a marginal employee.

Yesterday I noticed a large number of endorsements that appeared in his profile.

LinkedIn profiles are often misleading (another employee who was let go more than 6 months ago still claims to be working for our company), recommendations are nothing but self serving puffery, and endorsements are meaningless.

I doubt that LinkedIn's mutual admiration social network will have much positive effect on employers.

Tom Simeone
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Tom Simeone,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/16/2012 | 3:23:42 PM
re: What LinkedIn Endorsements Mean To You
As with anything else on the web, you will think of endorsements based on your own personal slant. If you are more cynical, you will believe that people are gaming the system for their own benefit. If you are more positive, then you may see the endorsements as thoughtful representations of how people view their connections. Many people are intimidated by the thought of writing a recommendation simply because they don't care for writing. The endorsements are far easier. I have endorsed many of my contacts for skills that I personally know they have. If it is someone I haven't worked with in a while, they may very well have developed new skills, but, since I have no direct evidence of them, I do not endorse for those. I am naive (or hopeful) enough to think that most people will endorse based on positive motivations. As such, I am positively swayed by the endorsements I see on profiles.
@AMULETAnalytics
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@AMULETAnalytics,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/25/2012 | 11:04:13 PM
re: What LinkedIn Endorsements Mean To You
LinkedIn was a trailblazer with recommender systems when it released its unobtrusive feature that recommended people to add to your network. It works pretty well as was often impressed by its selections. LinkedIn wisely continues to use machine learning technology for competitive advantage. Its nice to see us Data Scientists creating real-world impact.
Ed Brophy
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Ed Brophy,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/27/2012 | 8:46:55 PM
re: What LinkedIn Endorsements Mean To You
"Technical Endorser...or "People Skill Endorser?"

The most important and the most highly paid form of intelligence in America is social intelligence, the ability to get along well with other people. Social intelligence is also known as human engineering or Gǣyour people skillsGǥ:

Personal Branding & Profiling Your People Skills:
Examples:

Imagineer, problem solver, open minded, sense of urgency, encourages others, meaningful specifics, father, open networker, takes initiative, mom, change leadership, resourcefulness, unshakable optimist, pay it forwardGǪand the list keeps going.

GǣSome painters transform the sun into a yellow spot; others transform a yellow spot into the sun.Gǥ ~Pablo Picasso

Many people say that most skills belong to skill sets.

GǣEven in lines such as technical engineering about 15% of ones financial success is due to technical knowledge and about 85% is due to oneGs skill in human engineering.Gǥ ~ Dale Carnegie, Carnegie Institute, GǣHow To Win Friends and Influence peopleGǥ.

By profiling the Gǣ85%Gǥ or so of your people skills, you can highlight your emotional intelligence and how you go about orchestrating your technical knowledge.

GǣTrue effectiveness is a function of two things: what is produced (the golden eggs) and the producing asset (the goose).Gǥ ~Stephen Covey

A complete stranger from a resume service will beef up or 'reframe' your skills and qualifications on your professional resume. Why?

...Because, unfortunately, people from professional resume services have seen from the people they sometimes fail to help get hired that:

Employers don't hire employees, they hire certainty. They hire trust and likeability, they hire perceptions and reputations.

How you are known to employers is your most valuable asset when seeking employment, not necessarily how good your work or skills really are.

Like marketing Coca Cola or Pepsi, personal branding often works the same way for why people choose one employee and not the other.

Do you suppose Britney will ever join and endorse people on Linkedin?
Bob LeBlanc
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Bob LeBlanc,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/24/2013 | 2:55:57 PM
re: What LinkedIn Endorsements Mean To You
I have connections with people who aren't qualified to make these endorsements, meaning they have no clue what I know, what I do, or how well I do it, and yet they're just clicking at anything. This endorsement thing started out with good intentions, but people have turned it into a joke. and that's my opinion.
Sylvie St-Amand
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Sylvie St-Amand,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/6/2013 | 12:25:36 PM
re: What LinkedIn Endorsements Mean To You
I don't quite know what to think yet about this new feature. It has some good points, namely that it requires less engagement from the people in your network to recommend you - oh wait, is that a good point?

Of course, getting written recommendations may be difficult because it involves time and reflection from the other party. However, don't these same factors add value to the said recommendation?

As with the number of contacts, this could easily become a popularity contest where some people aim at quantity above anything else. Does the fact that someone has more endorsements a real measure of his or her expertise? Maybe so, and maybe not...Many people with a staggering amount of connections don't actually know half of the contacts in their network. Some of them may, some of them not.

Whih brings me to the crucial question here: does the fact that someone has less connections or endorsements mean that they have less expertise? Or does it simply mean that the members of their network are less active?
Sylvie St-Amand
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Sylvie St-Amand,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/6/2013 | 12:26:08 PM
re: What LinkedIn Endorsements Mean To You
I don't quite know what to think yet about this new feature. It has some good points, namely that it requires less engagement from the people in your network to recommend you - oh wait, is that a good point?

Of course, getting written recommendations may be difficult because it involves time and reflection from the other party. However, don't these same factors add value to the said recommendation?

As with the number of contacts, this could easily become a popularity contest where some people aim at quantity above anything else. Does the fact that someone has more endorsements a real measure of his or her expertise? Maybe so, and maybe not...Many people with a staggering amount of connections don't actually know half of the contacts in their network. Some of them may, some of them not.

Whih brings me to the crucial question here: does the fact that someone has less connections or endorsements mean that they have less expertise? Or does it simply mean that the members of their network are less active?
aryavaru
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aryavaru,
User Rank: Apprentice
9/24/2013 | 6:25:43 AM
re: What LinkedIn Endorsements Mean To You
I got so irritated with the skill endorsement feature on LinkedIn that I wrote a piece on it. https://medium.com/tech-bloggi...
NJ Mike
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NJ Mike,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/29/2013 | 6:47:38 PM
re: What LinkedIn Endorsements Mean To You
OK, so Endorsements are a year old, and all I have to say about them is they are utterly worthless. I'm not a devoted user of LinkedIn, but I have racked up a large number (at least I think it is) of endorsements. Almost with everyone of them my first thought has been "This person has no idea of my skills in that area." With that in mind, if I was in a hiring position, I wouldn't bother looking at a person's LinkedIn endorsements, because all I see them is a way for a friend or colleague tries to be nice to you.
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