Posted by: brandextenders | November 27, 2012

Are Linkedin Endorsements a Popularity Contest?

At the end of September, those of us connected on Linkedin had the interesting opportunity to begin endorsing one another for the skills and expertise we list under “Specialties.” The premise, according to David Breger, a Senior Product Manager at Linkedin, is to recognize your connections for their skills and expertise. So far so good, however the challenge is if you’re like me, you’ve accepted some Linkedin requests from people you know vaguely or not at all thinking one day the connection might prove beneficial. So all of a sudden people who don’t really know you or your level of expertise are endorsing you for whatever pops up on their monitor. And then the question arises, should you reciprocate and endorse those you don’t know as a way of saying thank you?

The infamous Endorsement box that shows up

Let me clarify recommendations vs. endorsements on Linkedin just in case there is confusion. You must ask for recommendations from your connections and approve them prior to their appearance on your profile. Endorsement boxes though pop up randomly and you can simply click a skill or expertise for a connection and your picture will show up as endorsing them, no approval needed.

In researching this topic I’ve seen few positive comments or articles about this newest addition to an otherwise professional website. Almost universally the articles and comments question why such a poorly thought out “app” was added to the site. Linkedin was launched in the spring of 2003 and has grown into the world’s largest professional network. A few facts to consider gathered from various websites:

  • As of the end of September there were 187 million Linkedin members in over 200 countries and territories.
  • The average age of a Linkedin user is 44.2.
  • 77% of LinkedIn members use the site to research people and companies, 69% to reconnect with past business associates and 50% to build new networks.
  • Over 25 million LinkedIn profiles are viewed every day and 28 people search the mobile app for information every second.
  • Over 10 million endorsements are given on Linkedin every day.

It’s strange to me a professional network so highly rated in every other way would implement a feature so vague and controversial. Has Linkedin become a popularity contest? Should you endorse those who endorse you? Is there a way to hide or delete endorsements on your profile?

I can understand the reasoning behind the idea as a way to further define each of us by those who should know best. Unlike adding people to your network or being added to other people’s networks though, there is no approval process involved. People can randomly endorse you for skills and you get an email you’ve been endorsed by that person. Ironically, when someone views our profile now they may look at the endorsements section and if there are few or none may wonder why.

Since it doesn’t look as though this new feature will be going away here are a few things to consider regarding endorsements:

  1. You don’t have to endorse people just because a box pops up asking you to. If you know that person and feel they truly do have an expertise or skill you want to endorse then click away. If not, close the box and move on.
  2. There is no obligation or penalty if you don’t reciprocate endorsing someone who has endorsed you. I’m almost to the point of not endorsing anyone, whether I know them or not, because I truly don’t feel it has any real meaning.
  3. If you don’t want people to see endorsements or if you want to hide specific endorsements there is a way. On the right side, after the pictures of each endorsement there is a right pointing arrow. Click on that and it shows each of the people who have endorsed you for that skill and gives you an option of hiding the endorsement. You can do this for people you don’t know however once hidden there is no way to unhide them.

There is an upside though to endorsements according to a blog by Saqui Research. By seeing what people are endorsing us for we can determine whether there is an alignment between what our connections see and how we see ourselves. If you have 20 endorsements for a particular skill you don’t feel is that important and only two for a skill you deem essential then there is a disconnect in how you are being perceived. Over time you might see a need to change your messaging to better align the perception people have of you.

Endorsements are but a small part of an otherwise robust and useful site that helps millions find jobs, research people and companies and connect with like-minded business professionals. Which reminds me, I need to get onto Linkedin and see if someone I know is connected to a potential client I want to meet. Ciao.


  1. … [Trackback]…

    […] Read More: […]…

  2. Thanks for the mention. I am going to do a follow-up to that post as it has been enlightening to see what I have and have not been endorsed for.

  3. … [Trackback]…

    […] Informations on that Topic: […]…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: