LinkedIn Endorsements – Value or Hype?

On a recent earnings call, LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner touted the new product hitting 1 billion Endorsements in just under five months. He pronounced how the service has done a “nice job … of creating the right kind of viral loops…”

I have a reasonably sized network. It started out with people I knew well and has grown to the size where many of the people I am connected to, I’ve never met but we have a similar interest, expertise, focus area, passion, group, etc.,  maybe we interacted during a search…

I get endorsements everyday but many of them are from people who could not possibly endorse me for any specific skill.  I saw a comment recently that I just love and it was something like this- ‘if you endorse me for a skill you couldn’t possibly know anything about, I will endorse you for something ridiculous.’ (Sorry I can’t give credit for this but I don’t remember who said it.)

In my two worlds of executive branding/coaching and recruitment/talent acquisition, I put absolutely no stock, no weight into someone’s endorsements. There is no proven value to the individual in having endorsements. There is certainly value to LinkedIn in having people spending more time on LinkedIn but for the individual, I don’t see it. I also don’t see anyone else out there telling me about the value or providing me with another point of view. In browsing many blogs and comments on this topic the consensus seems to be – don’t waste your time. If you have time to kill, play Candy Crush or another game. At least that’s more fun!

My personal philosophy used to be never endorse someone unless you know from direct experience that this person really deserves the endorsement.  If everyone held to this philosophy, the endorsements may have had value. But because so many don’t they have made this a useless feature. And because it’s useless, I now don’t endorse anyone for anything.

If you feel strongly about endorsing someone, recommend them instead. Those have more weight!

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