Tuesday, 23 October 2012

LinkedIn endorsements

Following on from my last post about LinkedIn endorsements, the other day I got email notifications out of the blue from LinkedIn saying a few people had endorsed me (thanks guys!) so this functionality must now be live in the U.K! Heading over to my profile I found the following box at the bottom with images of people who had recommended me, next to the expertise they agreed I had:

There was initially also a box featuring many of my contacts, and asking if I would 'endorse' certain skills for them, but this seems to have now gone. To endorse people now I can click the plus button at the side of thier professed skill when on their profile (this can apparently also be undone if necessary!).

It all seems very simple so far and because the skills are sorted from top to bottom by how many people have 'endorsed' them, it may be an attempt to counter the claims that many LinkedIn profiles are fabricated.

But does a one-click endorsement really have any value? There is the option to hover over the endorser to see their details and click through, but you can't see their relationship with the person they are endorsing.

From a first look I think it's a good way to highlight individual skills and abilities but it isn't as strong as a personal recommendation - there is no way to expand on the 'endorsement' and say why or how they are good at this skill or give any annecotes. It would also be a shame if strengths lay unrecognised at the bottom because no-one who has experienced your skills in that area is on LinkedIn for example, so we may see people working harder to gain endorsements for skills that are important to them.

What do you think? As a recruiter or employer would you trust an endorsement? Are you busy endorsing contacts?

Monday, 1 October 2012

LinkedIn Recommendations - online endorsement pitfalls

LinkedIn has announced the launch of 'Endorsements' in the U.S, a way to recommend someone with just one click. This isn't live in the U.K yet so I can't trial it, but it got me thinking about the various pitfalls of online professional recommendations. Certain issues should be considered and a 1-click endorsement may not always be a good thing!

When used properly, LinkedIn recommendations are a powerful tool for advancing your career but if you don't use them with care they can give a negative impression about you, your contacts and the company you work for. It's helpful to think of them as a 'reference' from a  previous or current employer, but they're not exactly the same, so below are some things to think about.

Consider carefully who you ask. Offline, a great reference might come from someone well respected within the industry and their endorsement of you would add something extra to your application. This is no different on LinkedIn - do not just ask your friends to do it! Before requesting a recommendation ask yourself the following questions of the individual:

- Does he/she have an established LinkedIn account with lots of connections? (it may be assumed that a new account is fake)
- Is it obvious that you know the individual in a professional capacity? (avoid anyone with the same surname for example!)
- Is this person your junior? (If you want to highlight your management skills, you may ask for a reference from someone who has previously worked under you. Note that a reference from someone currently working under you may have the opposite effect, as it shows you have put your junior in an awkward situation!)
- Have you already recommended this individual? Reciprocal recommendations do not look genuine!

You should also consider the impression this gives within your current position:
- Most HR teams and management are aware that individuals updating their LinkedIn profiles may well be looking to move
- Colleagues may wonder why you want a recommendation from them and it may indicate you feel insecure in your position.
- Business development roles can be the exception to the rule - if the company employs you to find new business through LinkedIn they won't be suspicious if you are trying to improve the credentials on your profile!

Even so, a good recommendation from the right person at the right time may well mean you are considered for a role, so follow the guidelines and don't be afraid to get recommended. I'll blog more about 'Endorsements' when they become available to U.K users - watch this space!