LinkedIn Endorsements - 6 problems and how i deal with them

If you have a LinkedIn account, i am sure you stumbled upon their relatively new feature "Endorsements". The main idea behind this is a quite good one: you get recognised for your skills. In reality you probably do the same: you try to get opinions from your network about some person to judge the skills of this person.


Endorsements - why they suck

Despite the good core idea the design of the feature at LinkedIn leads to a couple of severe problems: 


1. Skills are pushed up by the LinkedIn algorithm

If you start getting endorsements, the algorithm of LinkedIn shows the skills you got already first. This leads to the fact that - if a couple of people started giving you endorsements for topics you don't like to have on top of the list or that are just plain wrong, you cant do anything about it. You don't have a chance to change the endorsements or not show them. 

See my example: i do know alot of SCRUM and have worked with it for many years, but i would not state it as my Top-1 skill. You can visit my LinkedIn profile to see my full spammy list of skills. 


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2. Everybody can give endorsements

In reality you would only ask people in your network who you trust to provide a proper judgement of the skills of a person, not EVERYBODY in your network. Together with the fact that LinkedIn suggests the skills that you are most endorsed for, people that barely know you endorse you for this skill - and bam! Another misleading endorsement...


3. My skills change over time

I happen to work in the IT industry as a Solution Architect and Software Developer. This requires that i have to learn new frameworks, languages etc almost every week. If you have some topics on your list that you've been working intensively lets say 3 years ago, you have no chance to move them down or don't show them. Since the endorsements are listed by the number in a descending order they just stick at the top... (see my example above, SCRUM is no focus right now)


4. Endorsements within a split of a second

Another feature of LinkedIn - Recommendations - can be used to give some in-depth information about the person. But since its a free text, the person that gives the recommendation has to think what he is actually recommending! If you reduce the fact, that a person owns a skill to a simple click (and even 5 skills with one click or 4 persons at once!!), you just devalue this information. Its too easy to endorse. Just as the dumb "like" button at Facebook, the +1s and so on ...


5. Endorsements are way too spammy

In the beginning i got excited about new endorsements. but if you look on my profile now, it really is too spammy. And if you hit the 100, LinkedIn just displays "99+"...  


6. Influencing (manipulating) the endorsements

Recently i saw, that a lot new endorsements came in for "Entity Framework" for my profile. I know the concepts behind it, some basic stuff, but i would not list it as one of my skills. Interestingly somebody did introduce this skill and now LinkedIn is suggesting this to my contacts. 


This also means that I probably can influence my skills by introducing new skills by myself, asking some of my friends to endorse me for that and get it up in the ranking. Though i could influence my skills-listing with this, thats not the way how i would like this to be handled... 


To my contacts at LinkedIn

Here we come to the main point of this blogpost. I am fed up with all the problems of the endorsements feature of LinkedIn.  


Please prefer to give me a recommendation, and do not endorse me anymore. Recommendations are the superior feature and i think they give a much better idea about a person and his/her skills. Just take some minutes and think, why you recommend me and write it down in a couple of sentences - just clicking one button is too cheap for this.   


If you really want to endorse me, do me a favour and endorse me for stuff, you know that i can do. Don't endorse me just because you can. Also lets have a chat before you endorse me for stuff, i don't to be endorsed for. E.g. i did a lot of XSLT in the past, but don't you dare to endorse me for that! :)  

Posted on August 14, 2013 and filed under social networks.