Is a LinkedIn Endorsement Valuable?

LinkedIn is considered one of the premier social networking tools for business. One of the recent enhancements allows users to create a list of skills.  Those skills are very broad and you can develop a list of up to 50 personal skills. The skills are placed on the users profile page.  Skills may be used for search or categorizing like users (e.g., all Accountants).Thought

Periodically LinkedIn presents a person’s contacts with a list of skills that they can then “endorse.”  Skills with more endorsements bubble to the top of your personal list.

Broad questions arise as to how much are those "likes" are valued by the individual and third parties. What is the motivation to endorse someone?

Each month, LERNER Consulting conducts a poll.  We asked a wide audience of people on LinkedIn and Valueother social networks a series of six endorsement related questions. We also polled some basic demographic data regarding their functional role and years of experience. 

  1. What motivates you to endorse someone on LinkedIn?
  2. How much thought do you put into giving endorsements?
  3. On average, how long must you have known a contact before endorsing them for a particular skill?
  4. What value do you place on your LinkedIn endorsement?
  5. I have added skills to my profile
  6. What value do you place on a person's endorsements?

TimeThe respondents were all fairly experienced, only one had less than 10 years of work experience and the majority had 15 or more years.  Interestingly the majority of responses (~73%) were from people in non-IT roles.  Our population was made of senior people in a business or corporate role, generally at Director or above level.  These are senior decision makers with budgetary and managerial responsibilities.

What did we learn?

Via the four phases of Constructive Disruption

  1. Uncover – Most respondents believe that endorsements are important to theirs and others overall profile.
  2. Examine – People are genuine about endorsements. They give them only when they there are specific observable behaviors, generally over time.  They expend a good bit of mental energy deciding if someone merits the endorsement.
  3. Prepare – For endorsement to gain more credibility there should be other dimensions added to it.  Possibly offering or linking projects, awards and other LinkedIn artifacts would render them more useful and credible.
  4. Satisfy – Endorsements are valuable and genuine but only in the context of a holistic profile.  There is an opportunity for LinkedIn to build a more holistic and multi-dimensional view of an individual (or company).  The parts are evolving, now they need a way to pull them together.

Our final question asked if this survey had expanded respondent’s perspective regarding use of endorsements. Most said No with 18% Undecided and 27% answering Yes.

What’s been your experience? 

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