Hiring Managers Should Wonder: Are LinkedIn Endorsements Simply Overrated?

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Jul 9, 2015

Endorsements are a place where opportunities find you” — LinkedIn

LinkedIn endorsements are a great way for a job candidate to add value to their online portfolio.

First level connections can help them enhance their profile by endorsing acquired, listed, or unlisted skills. But, do the endorsements actually help them get their profile noticed by potential recruiters?

LinkedIn’s endorsement feature came out after the downfall of its much hyped recommendation feature. Endorsements make a profile more appealing without the hassle of requesting someone for a recommendation. They are like a third-party validation from the people a person has worked with.

It is an effective way for a candidate to build a personal brand by using their professional network, but the chances are that a potential recruiter might not take a candidate’s recommendations or endorsements seriously.

Here are some of the reasons why:

1. Promotion of unlisted skills

There have been cases where people have been endorsed for the skill sets they didn’t possess.

endorse2It’s not always necessary that the people doing the endorsing have worked with, or are even your close friends for that matter, and may not know exactly what the person’s capabilities are.

LinkedIn endorsements are highly subjective, which elevates the probability of someone getting endorsed for the wrong set of skills. Candidates need to tackle this by managing and filtering their endorsements consistently, and should either hide the endorsements they think are untrue or simply list the skills they want to be endorsed for.

For instance, Matt Mickiewicz, co-founder of & 99designs says of LinkedIn endorsements:

They are a joke. I have endorsements for things I know little about, from people I barely know, and who are wholly unqualified to endorse me on some of these skill sets.”

2. Credibility of endorsements

EndorseEndorsements can add value to a profile only when the right people promote a person’s skill sets. If the endorser doesn’t know them well, they might endorse the wrong skills and thereby paint an incorrect picture of their capabilities.

Knowing that LinkedIn is a community-driven tool, to get the right amount of endorsements for a candidate’s preferred skill sets you would require a larger number of people who know them well.

Andy Dent, CTO of Touchgram is of the opinion that,

If you are endorsed for a skill by someone you worked with who has also been endorsed for that skill by multiple qualified people, it counts for a lot more. The rest is just static in the system.”

3. Limitations in hiring

When someone is endorsed for an incorrect set of skills, they can become the wrong candidate for a potential recruiter.

Automated systems can exclude a profile as well. Managing endorsements can be a time-consuming task for those who  lead a busy life already and can’t constantly update their profile.

Ambra Benjamin, who works as an engineering recruiter at Facebook says that,

People who don’t know me and have never worked with me endorse me every day on LinkedIn for things they have no idea of whether I am qualified in or not.”

4. Finally, do endorsements really matter?

Serious recruiters don’t actually care about LinkedIn endorsements, so investing time and energy into something that isn’t productive for your profile will definitely not get you anywhere.

Companies now realize that most people just misuse the endorsement feature on LinkedIn, and that going through someone’s endorsement list is just futile.

Steven Raz of Cornerstone Search Group says,

The concept is good but the endorsements have become a little meaningless because everyone is endorsing everyone for everything.”

Finding the right job can be overwhelming for candidates, but avoiding certain mistakes would help them to leverage their profile over others.

The bottom line is, instead of relying so much on their LinkedIn profile, they should just try adding some real value to their resume instead.