LinkedIn Introduces Endorsements: One-Click Mini Recommendations?

LinkedIn announced Endorsements Monday, a new feature that allows you to recognize professionals for their skills and expertise.

The official statement was published only this week though our own Jayadevan was endorsed for Radio (??) a week earlier, and the same day, yours truly was endorsed by an ex-colleague for CSS and XSL, skills I had actually missed on my profile. Looks like it was rolled out to a few people earlier than the official announcement that says the feature will be available in English across the United States, India, New Zealand, and Australia starting September 24th.

Endorsements work in two ways: you can either endorse someone from your connections for a skill or expertise that they have already listed, or you can recommend them for one that they haven’t added yet. Once they accept the endorsement, it shows up against the relevant skill in your profile, with a number denoting how many people have endorsed them for that particular skill.

As opposed to verbose recommendations, endorsements are just one-click away. This would mean a much higher number of people endorsing skills for their connections. Writing recommendation is a task, and most users refrain from it because it takes time and they are not confident of writing prose. In an earlier avatar when I have requested colleagues to recommend me, there were times when I was asked to write it myself and email it back to them. Of course I could never do that.

Endorsements are objective, and can add weight to the skill sets of a skilled worker, if you will, in a more efficient fashion than a heavily worded recommendation. Number of endorsements against a particular skill can work like a rating and provide a level of expertise. For head hunters too, it is easier to glance through a profile and find out the top skills.

One probable (mal)practice this may lead to, however, can be back-scratching: “I’ll endorse you if you endorse me.” Perhaps this is a trick to increase user involvement. Of course we already have Like and Comment on LinkedIn posts but only a handful of people use it. ‘Liking’ someone’s skills and expecting reciprocation can help in users spending more time on this professional social network. Accidental endorsing can obviously be undone. Another relatively incoherent issue is that if someone endorses you, you receive emails on the associated email id, but not as a notification on LinkedIn, till you visit your profile page.

Anyway, I feel the pros outweigh the cons, and how people use this new feature can only be seen given some time. Here is the official slideshow with the announcement that explains the gory details:

So what are you waiting for? Go ahead, endorse away to glory. Good karma will return to you.

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