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Linkedin Endorsements - Who are they for?

Author: Emma Allison
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A large part of my role here at Forward Role Recruitment is to engage with people via our social media channels, such as Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and of course, Linkedin. When I joined Forward Role in the summer of 2012 I had a miserly 185 connections, all of whom I was friends with or had worked with in the past. Fast forward 18 months and I have well over 2,000 relevant industry connections, the majority of who are marketing professionals based here in the North West. Over the past year Linkedin, for me, has become an excellent tool to advertise jobs, share articles and connect with professionals in our region who may be interested in the vacancies we are advertising. However, there is one part of Linkedin which I find hard to understand: who are endorsements for?

Firstly, I need to clarify that Linkedin endorsements are described as areas of “Skills and Expertise”, and working at one of the biggest marketing recruitment agencies in the North West, we at Forward Role find these areas somewhat important. However, the main problem I have is the fact that we can endorse people until we are blue in the face, but are unable to actually search for people who possess certain skills within the endorsement database. So who are Linkedin endorsements actually for? Linkedin… but none of its users? What baffles me is that we are paying to use Linkedin, and if we can connect with people and endorse each other for as many skills as we like, surely we should be able to utilise this function and search for specific people via their “Skills and Expertise”.

The element of Linkedin endorsements which confuses me the most is the fact that there is some kind of etiquette which I was unaware of until recently. A connection of mine ended up removing me from his connections (and kindly messaged me first to inform me) as I didn’t reciprocate when he endorsed me for a few marketing skills. The issue here for me was mainly that there is a slight danger when endorsing people you don’t know – how can it be proven that Linkedin endorsements are an accurate reflection of someone’s skills? When did LinkedIn get so political?!

Generally speaking, Linkedin endorsements look great as they visualise each person’s range of skills and experience without having to read through every job and role description on their profile. However, from a recruitment agency’s point of view, I think the easiest way to search for people on Linkedin would be via the endorsement tool as opposed to the “Advanced Search”, which in my opinion is a bit long-winded and time consuming. Seeing “Digital Marketing” as someone’s endorsement and being able to click on this link to view other people with the same skill working in a similar area or industry would be a quicker and easier way to find relevant connections; not only for recruiters but for all professionals. Linkedin states, “Our mission is simple: connect the world's professionals to make them more productive and successful.” If this is so, enabling users to access the endorsement database should be at the top of their list to make their “mission” easier for everybody.

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