Archive for November, 2013

Linkedin Endorsements – They Don’t Matter!

Monday, November 11th, 2013

One of the bright spots of this summer’s television schedule has been the return of the improv comedy show “Whose Line Is It Anyway”. The show’s famous tagline declares that it’s “the show where everything is made up and the points don’t matter”. When Drew Carey hosted the show in its earlier incarnation, he would typically add a joke line; if he were hosting the show today, he might say “the points are useless, just like endorsements on LinkedIn”.

LinkedIn launched their endorsements feature in September 2012. It must have sounded like a good idea on paper: a way to bolster a resume with positive feedback from former bosses or co-workers. Unfortunately, there were no limits established on who could leave endorsements. As a result, anyone who left their profile open to all could get an endorsement from someone they don’t know! Some members have abused the program by publishing endorsements from relatives and personal friends, but many seem mystified by the sudden appearance of an endorsement from a stranger, sometimes listing skills that they don’t possess!

So what is a recruiter to do when discovering a LinkedIn profile with tons of endorsements? Well, follow the advice of the Latin phrase caveat emptor (let the buyer beware). Examine the profile/resume and personal information first, and decide from there whether the candidate deserves a closer look. If you decide to look at the endorsements, be sure the skills mentioned in the endorsement matches with the profile/resume.

For its part, LinkedIn seems fiercely committed to the endorsements principle, with CEO Jeff Weiner boasting about adding 1 billion endorsements in less than 5 months. Well, naturally, Weiner likes it: it gives him more traffic on his website and more earnings for his company. But legal experts have repeatedly questioned the ethics of LinkedIn endorsements, especially from distant acquaintances. So, in the long run, you might be better off to just stick with a candidate’s resume and old-fashioned referrals, and leave the LinkedIn endorsements in the trash where they belong. – Thomas Cunniffe