Monday, December 17, 2012

What does it mean when you are endorsed by someone on LinkedIN

When I initially signed up for an account on Linkedin, the site asked me to provide a list of my skills. I didn't think this unusual because  knew that LinkedIn was intended to be a site to help people build their career (as distinct from Facebook which is more intended to be more of a site for people to enjoy themselves and relax). However, since I was not seeking out a new job, I didn't pay too much attention to what I filled in there.

Recently I started getting notifications from LinkedIn to say that one of my contacts on the site had "endorsed" one of my skills. I never actively sought out these endorsements and so I was somewhat intrigued to know what was going on.

About 2 weeks ago, I got a LinkedIn connection request from someone I know and when I approved the request I was presented with a list of the skills this person claimed to have and was asked to endorse them. Since I knew this person to be reasonably competent, I clicked the "endorse" button beside some of the skills. Then the site asked me if I wanted to endorse more skills from other contacts. It began showing me an apparently random set of people/skill combinations and prompted me to either click on the "endorse" button or else click on the "next" button to see more choices.

In general, I endorsed contacts' skills when I had a reasonable knowledge that the person did hold the skill that they claimed. I sometimes declined to endorse someone's skills either because I did not know them very well of because I knew their abilities and I did not rate them very highly (two very different situations). Although I spent a while reviewing skills, I abandoned the endorsement exercise before I had a chance to review most of the people/skill combinations so many of my colleagues were not endorsed by me due to lack of time/motivation.

I suppose the bottom line is that when you see that the skills a person's LinkedIn profile have been endorsed by someone else it gives you a slightly increased confidence that the person does indeed hold the skill that they clam, but if there are no endorsements for their skills it does not necessarily mean they are not skilled.


  1. There's a rich-get-richer element to this as well. The skills that are suggested you endorse someone for are the ones that already have received endorsements. The lazy endorser will just further cement the lead these skills have over other the persons other, possibly more relevant, skills.

  2. Interesting point. I didn't realise that there was any pattern to which people/skills I was asked to endorse. If the policy is as you describe, those with existing endorsements will be likely to grow even more.

    I think it would be logical to expect that you could "un-endorse" a skill if you felt confident that the person didn't have it. The current system is like a thumbs-up only rating system.

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  5. And it comes down to trust. How easy and meaningful is it for someone to just click a couple buttons en mass when it gets prompted to them as opposed to actually seeking out to specifically endorse someone in a skill because you're feeling compelled to.