Is a LinkedIn endorsement as valuable as a recommendation?

LinkedIn has recently introduced the endorsement feature making it very easy for your connections to endorse you for the skills you have in your profile, which raises the issue of having a great profile and making sure your skills are complete and prioritised but we’ll talk about that in another post.

Now I use LinkedIn to source leads for my businesses, but it is also one of my major sources of good suppliers for me. And I use it to find out more about he businesses I work with before a project starts.  So I’m a little sceptical about the benefit of these endorsements on your profile.

I am a huge fan of good recommendations. Not the ones that say “I met Philippa at a meeting and she was lovely” – which are great for the ego, but they don’t really help me when I want to find a new service provider, or to learn about the people I work with.  I like the ones that add value to a profile by telling me how the people are connected, what they have worked on together and, hopefully, what the outcome was. If they tell me that they would work together again or recommend this person to someone else then that is even better. This gives me the confidence that the person being recommended can do what they say they can do. I can also check out the person who has given the recommendation to see if they have a business similar to mine which again allows me to see if the supplier would be suitable for my business, or has experience that would be relevant.

I can also see if the recommendation is what I call a “stand alone” recommendation, or if it is a reciprocal one, which I tend to ignore.( I’m sure that the majority of these recommendations are genuine, but they always make me suspicious.)


So what value do the new endorsements bring? Well firstly I have no idea how the people are connected, if they have ever worked together, or why the endorsement has been given. In its favour it can allow me to endorse someone who I know has certain skills, but haven’t worked with yet. Someone that I wouldn’t feel comfortable giving a recommendation to, but who I am confident has a particular skill, perhaps because I’ve heard them talk about it, or have heard someone else recommend them. And if someone has a large number of endorsements for a particular skill perhaps that will become something we can all trust to make our decisions.


So what do you think about an endorsement vs a recommendation? And have you given any?

Written by Philippa Bowen

Philippa is an enperienced business owner who has worked in the private , public & charitable sectors and for large & small businesses. Her passion is helping business owners to get the best from their businesses in the most efficient manner & using social media to do that. You can usually find her on twitter at @philippabowen
or you can contact her via:
07885 610228

4 Responses to “Is a LinkedIn endorsement as valuable as a recommendation?”

  • Avatar Yvonne Walker:

    Sorry – I mean thanks for the blog Philippa!!! <– blonde moment and "big picture" thinking not detail!!

  • Avatar Yvonne Walker:

    I agree with the content of your blog, Lesley and subsequent comments from both you and Marilyn. I also think carefully about who I endorse when the suggestions pop up.

    An additional issue I have found with endorsements is that people often have a different understanding of what the skills mean (or in some cases, no understanding). It’s like having a competency structure without definitions of what the competencies actually are.

    Some of the endorsement suggestions have me raising an eyebrow because I have a very different understanding of what the skill means, than I think the person who has listed it as one of their areas of experience does. Likewise, if people don’t know what a particular skill involves, they’re less likely to endorse for it.

    For example, one of the areas I specialise in is workplace diversity and inclusion. That incorporates a broad range of issues around attracting, having and keeping a diverse workforce. It includes things that used to be called Equal Opportunity, anti-discrimination, harassment, workforce planning, etc. I know these kind of things backwards and people who know me will get this – but if you look at my profile there are very few endorsements for it because people don’t know the terminology.

    On the other hand, i have more than 60 recommendations for performance management because that’s something that is more easily understood (conceptually, if not in practice!!)

    The value for me in endorsements is the trend. You might hear something once or twice and discount it. If you hear it several times you are more likely to believe it. So if 60 people suggest that I know my stuff around performance management, I would think that anyone viewing my profile will take individual ratings with a grain of salt but look at the overall volume of ratings.

    Just my humble opinion!! Thanks for the blog Lesley!

  • Avatar Marilyn Edelson:

    I love LinkedIn but on this one, I agree completely! While I have a lot of endorsements (fortunately, none for things I truly know nothing about), I know many are from people who know me but really aren’t familiar with what I really do. When LinkedIn asks me to endorse others, I often have to think carefully about whether I can justify the endorsement and resist pulling the trigger on automatic pilot because I recognize the face, I also wonder if this new “gadget” or “widget” keeps people from writing actual testimonials that might actually mean something. — Marilyn Edelson,

  • Avatar Lesley Morrissey:

    I totally agree. Recommendations are for people whom you have experience of and can recommend with confidence. I generally politely decline to give a recommendation to someone who I have not experienced working with in some way, even if I know them really well from networking. I know to my cost that talking a good talk doesn’t always mean that someone delivers their services at that level!

    Endorsements are simply saying ‘yes, I know that this person does this’. I think that Linked In are trying to add ‘gadgets’ to their site as they are evolving after years in being a sterile environment where people could only ask to be connected with others or find jobs. It’s a much better site now, but some of the ‘improvements’ seem to be a bit ‘me too’.

    I don’t totally trust the Endorsements tool as I have had at least 3 for Property Management – which I have no expertise in at all (and have deleted from my profile)!

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