Why has LinkedIn introduced Endorsements when it already has Recommendations?


If you’re wondering why LinkedIn has introduced Endorsements when it already has Recommendations, you’re not alone. It’s one of the questions I’ve been asked most frequently about the recent changes to LinkedIn, and I’ve said before that the two are at least somewhat repetitive. However, the addition of Endorsements reflects a simple truth: numbers are quantifiable; narrative isn’t. In other words, if LinkedIn wants to create a scoring system of sorts (similar to Klout, as Andy Welfle suggested in a comment to this post), Recommendations won’t cut it.

I’m still not a big fan of Endorsements, but because they create data LinkedIn can exploit, they’re probably not going away anytime soon. Still, I’d highly encourage LinkedIn users to continue requesting and giving recommendations along with Endorsements. Both have value, but recommendations provide meaning behind the numbers–and numbers alone will never tell the whole story.

Still trying to make sense of Endorsements? In addition to my two posts linked above, here’s a good summary from Forbes (hat tip: Marla Schneider).

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7 Responses to Why has LinkedIn introduced Endorsements when it already has Recommendations?

  1. I will head over to LinkedIn and offer my quantification to this post 😉

  2. Good article, Anthony. I still write recommendations as often as I can, but endorsements are easier to perform as you have said- jist a click! What has happened to me is my most popular computer services are least endorsed on LinkedIn, while my least popular services are getting the most LI endorsements. I don’t know how this has happened.

  3. ajjuliano says:

    Thanks for the comments, Anneliz and Shane. Shane, I think it’s a matter LinkedIn promoting all Endorsements somewhat equally (or perhaps promoting the Endorsements that are least valuable to you a little more than the ones that are). In everything they’re doing to push Endorsements, there seems to be no way to control which Endorsements LinkedIn suggests to your contacts. However, our mutual friend Kevin Mullett has written about how to hide Endorsements (https://plus.google.com/+KevinMullett/posts/C4y7v8X2mPM). Just be sure you want to eliminate them altogether and not just deemphasize them.

  4. I was kind of “huh?” about Endorsements when they first appeared on LinkedIn and wondered why they were necessary when the site already had Recommendations. Then I received a few and it felt nice, sort of like an “Atta, girl” from colleagues and clients or the warm-and-fuzzy you get from a “Like” on a comment made on Facebook.

    And then came the day I requested a Recommendation from a very satisfied client I’d just completed a project for and he replied very enthusiastically, “Yes, I’d be happy to recommend your work!” and sent me an Endorsement rather than a Recommendation. It feels churlish and ungrateful to say, “Ah, no, wait, an Endorsement is not a Recommendation. Could you do it over, please?”

    So, now I’m trying to come up with wording for my next request for a Recommendation to make it clear that, while an Endorsement is lovely and I am grateful to anyone who takes the time to make one, what I really want after the successful completion of a project is a Recommendation that tells prospective clients specifically what I did to earn said Recommendation. Any ideas?

    • ajjuliano says:

      Hi, Candace. Thanks for the comment. I feel your pain. That’s one of the major problems of Endorsements as I see it–it’s possible that less active LinkedIn users won’t know that they’re different than Recommendations. I think a simple solution might be to add a postscript to your LinkedIn Recommendation requests that says: “P.S. While I also appreciate Endorsements, this is a request for a more substantive Recommendation. Here’s a brief description of the difference between the two: https://anthonyjuliano.wordpress.com/2012/10/15/whats-new-on-linkedin-part-1-endorsements/. (I’ve used my post as an example, but you could use any source that explains the distinction.)

      I hope that helps!

  5. One thing that bothers me about Endorsements is the fact that LinkedIn practically begs you to hand them out like candy. At the top of your screen it always asks you to endorse people for their skills. All it takes is one click of a button and suddenly your patting people on the back for skills you’re not even sure they have. A Recommendation, on the other hand, takes some effort on behalf of the sender, so it is more likely the recipient earned that feedback from specific work that they have done…I.e. something like “I was lucky to have Anthony as an instructor for Social Media 101 courses at IPFW…” is far more meaningful than endorsements someone sent by clicking a button (in my opinion). Recommendations typically provide specific details about what you actually did to earn that person’s respect. My conclusion: Although Recommendations can’t be quantified, they are still more tangible than Endorsements.

  6. Pingback: Von LinkedIn Empfehlungen und Endorsements | LinkedInsider Deutschland

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