Talking tech since 2003

The other day, I got an email alert that said my plumber had endorsed my HTML skills on LinkedIn.  I wondered, how did my plumber know anything about my HTML skills, and why is he allowed to do that anyway?  Endorsing skills on LinkedIn has become way too easy.

LinkedIn introduced “endorsements” last September, as a quick and easy version of its professional version “recommendations.”  When you click on your profile, a banner appears at the top of the screen saying, “would you like to endorse Joe Smith for Microsoft Excel?”  All you have to do is click a box and you’re done, he’s endorsed.

Now that endorsing someone’s skills is just a click away instead of a time consuming task of writing a comment (like “recommendations”), I am getting endorsements left and right from people that don’t know anything about my skills.

According to LinkedIn’s blog, it has registered more than 550 million endorsements since the feature was introduced in late September. The “New LinkedIn” says it has 200-million members who are completing more than 10 million endorsements every day.  In fact, every time you accept an endorsement from someone, LinkedIn prompts you to endorse up to four more people!

This just begs the question; with so many endorsements flying around- don’t they lose their value completely?  If anyone can endorse anyone for any skill, how can you trust endorsements at all?

LinkedIn introduced endorsements in an effort to remain relevant, similar to Facebook’s “likes” feature for posts, but what value does it actually add?  Will an employer hire someone for the sheer fact that they have been endorsed 20 times for their Microsoft Excel skills?  Probably not.  Especially because anyone can endorse any skill (including your plumber, if they are a connection).

Maybe LinkedIn can find a happy medium between “recommendations,” which has proved too time consumer for many, and “endorsements” which just takes a click.  In the meantime, you do have the ability to hide an endorsement, although LinkedIn won’t allow you to delete it.  Here’s how:

Go to the “Manage Endorsements” link in the Skills and Expertise section of your LinkedIn profile, find the “Project Management” skill and uncheck the box next to the person whose endorsement you want to hide, that’s it.

At the end of the day, it doesn’t fix the issue that endorsements have become meaningless, but it may make you feel better that your plumber doesn’t have say over your HTML skills.

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