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What is the value of LinkedIn Endorsements?

This morning, I checked my email as I was making my coffee. Among the typical morning push emails were two from LinkedIn. One stated the following:

li endorsements 2

At this point, everyone with a LinkedIn account has received this email. The person endorsing me is someone I know through a professional organization; however we’ve never worked together. Which raised the question once again: How valid/useful are Endorsements?

LinkedIn launched Endorsements in September 2012, and as of May 2013 the company reported there had been 1 Billion Endorsements given. That’s Billion. With a B. In 9 months.

What does the Endorsements feature do for LinkedIn?  It brings people back to the site that otherwise might not be active users–not networking or seeking a new job. If they click through using the email above, they might also click on a job posting (for which LinkedIn gets paid per click). It also gives LinkedIn an additional service to sell recruiters–enhanced sourcing through searching the skills highlighted in Endorsements.

LinkedIn’s idea with Endorsements is that it provides a crowdsourced validation of your key skills. I get that, and I like the idea. They also make it clear that you can actively manage your endorsements, accepting only the ones you feel are valid.

But at this point, everyone who has logged in to LinkedIn in the past year has been presented with the following:

li endorsements 4 boxMost people I asked about this feature said they either hit ” Endorse all 4″ or “Close”. The latter option is fine; the former option, in my opinion, makes this feature useless. There’s no real thought given as to whether you have real-world experience of the skill LinkedIn is requesting you endorse; you’re taking an action so the dialog box closes. That leads to junk Endorsements.

From my perspective as a recruiter, I like the theory behind the Endorsements feature. I’d like to use it as a search tool (which LinkedIn offers and clearly believes is a strong value add to recruiters in sourcing). In my experience, search results using Endorsements often have not aligned with the person’s profile (when seeking a specific technical skill, for example). 

I’m far from a lone voice, either. There’s a lot of talk on Quora, the LinkedIn site, and many other forums about whether Endorsements offer any real value.

What do you think about the Endorsements feature? How have you used it? Do you think it adds value to your LinkedIn profile/experience?

August 2013
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