I read another article today bagging on LinkedIn “endorsements.” Hard not to see the logic in the argument, especially when you see various skills being endorsed by people with whom you are not close. As Ms. Siegel points out, the whole endorsing process feels very much like the “Like” feature on Facebook; and that’s a bad thing…..right?

Maybe, maybe not.


“Allow me to retort.”

Here’s another perspective, as I’ve also been watching the endorsement phenomena with a vested interest ~ my network is my professional lifeline, I certainly don’t want any artificial filler or “Facebook-ish” garbage polluting the greatness of LinkedIn. So, why in the heck would I “endorse” the endorsement feature? Here’s a few reasons:

  • It hasn’t become a “free-for-all” ~ I know a lot of people, including me, worried that the endorsement feature would be abused. People would click for shtick, not caring who they endorsed. Hasn’t happened. Look at your own endorsements – do you have hundreds and hundreds of skill validations? Betcha don’t. I have 900 connections, a lot of which are friends, but I don’t endorse unless it’s something I can vouch for – maybe we’re more ethical than we think we are?
  • Self-awareness ~ If, after a few months, you have zero endorsements for a skill you consider one of your top offerings, it may be time for a reality check. You’re allowed 50 slots for skills, this is your chance to start examining exactly what you are promoting. If you’re a professional speaker with no endorsements for “Facilitating Skills,” I’d be concerned.
  • It’s nice ~ That’s right, I said it, it’s “nice.” Be nice to someone who did a good job at something and endorse them. If you endorse someone you don’t know, you’re a doofus. Don’t abuse the privilege if you expect legitimate endorsements on the return.
  • My hunch ~ Ms. Siegel is making a prediction that the “endorsement” feature will be a memory by the end of the year. I’ll take that bet. I’m betting on a different scenario; would it surprise you if LinkedIn started highlighting or recommending people in “skill searches” based on endorsements? It wouldn’t surprise me a lick (sorry that’s the Texan in me).

I could be completely off-base with this, but I’m not ready to throw the baby out with the endorsed bathwater yet. Whaddya say Rene, you interested in a wager?

John “Whit” Whitaker is Founder of the HR Hardball™ Straight talk, no-nonsense approach to workplace issues and occasional lucid brilliance. Follow me on Twitter and LinkedIn for more samplings of the Hardball message.


@HR_Hardball whit@hrhardball.com