You know those LinkedIn Skill Endorsements you have on your profile… the ones where friends, co-workers and check a box indicating that you possess particular skills?
They are meaningless.
This is according to Raj Goel, co-founder and owner of IT consultancy Brainlink International. For Goel, the endorsements simply are not an accurate measure of a candidate’s skills.
“Any [candidate] who brags or even mentions their skill endorsements is automatically disqualified,” he says.
Likewise, Thom Qafzezi, CEO of Molto Crescendo, a professional development company, says he doesn’t see much credibility in the endorsements, which LinkedIn rolled out a year ago.
“It’s too new and not being utilized correctly,” Qafzezi says. “For the most part, I see individuals endorsing skills for which they have had no first-hand knowledge,” he says.
Goel and Qafzezi aren’t the only employers who feel this way. In fact, we asked more than 25 hiring managers and found that most of them don’t care much about how many people endorse your skills.
Still, users have given a total of more than two billion endorsements.
This massive endorsement activity is not a huge shocker, considering close to 100 percent of job seekers embrace LinkedIn as their number of social media site for job hunting. Plus, hiring managers use LinkedIn as a top hiring tool by two to one, according to a recent Survey by Right Management.
So, why aren’t hiring managers warming up to the LinkedIn Skill Endorsement feature?
1. The Endorsement Numbers are Easily Inflatable
Online Marketing Director Chris Wise at DMEDelivers.com says he honestly could care less about the number of skill endorsement because it’s easily manipulated.
For instance, “sites like fiverr.com and goferr.com are actually selling LinkedIn endorsements and recommendations,” Wise says. You can get 100 people to endorse you for a skill – but that doesn’t directly translate to strong technical skills.
“There’s no way to tell whether or not a person with 100 endorsements for photography is more skilled than someone with 10,” says Ian Aronvich of GovernmentAuctions.org, a database of government auctions.
2. Endorsers Are Often Not in the Same Field
Touching on Qafzezi’s aforementioned point, many managers said folks who aren’t in the same field as you don’t have much authority to judge your skills.
In fact, “complete strangers that you happen to add on LinkedIn for future collaborations, for example, can also endorse you without having met or spoken with you at all,” says Aronvich.
If a sales professional endorsed a web developer’s HTML5 skills, Wise says there’s not much credibility in that action.
Steven Lowell at Bodalgo would agree and says that folks often endorse skills of folks with whom they’ve never even worked with.
3. Endorsements are Too Easy to Give
“Skill endorsements appear at the top of a page, and quite often people get endorsed just to get the pop-up to go away,” Lowell says. It’s like a game, says to Jim Jones, founder of Jones Systems, an IT consultant company. “I’ll endorse you and maybe you’ll endorse me. Or perhaps some people are just bored and sit around — often during work hours — going click, click, click on endorsements button,” Jones says.
The easy, game-like quality makes it hard for these managers to take the endorsement section seriously.
On the Flip Side, Large Endorsements Can Signal Networking Skills
Some say the endorsements aren’t completely useless. Simpleology CEO Mark Joyner says he might look at skill endorsements if the open position requires networking skills.
“It’s not perfect information, but it’s information nonetheless,” he says.Neil Warlicht, president of Wahl & Case Inc., looks at LinkedIn endorsements for mid-level hires. Warlicht says: ” Anything above 40-50 endorsements for a few specific skills are meaningful and show that people have at least a certain level of expertise but perhaps more importantly it also shows that they have built up some good business karma.”
So, what do managers value most in your LinkedIn Profile?
1. Personality and Culture Fit
For Bryan Elliot, executive producer at The GoodBrain Digital Studios, personality, culture fit and drive take priority over skills. “As [Virgin America CEO Richard] Branson and others have said, skills can be taught. Personality, attitude, heart, initiative and guts more usually cannot.”
2. Relevant Written Recommendations Carry More Weight
Almost all managers we surveyed agreed that written recommendations carry much more value than the quick, easy LinkedIn Endorsement section. Michael Freeman, senior manager at ShoreTel, is more impressed when he sees a written recommendation, though he still checks out the trustworthiness of the recommendations.
Written recommendations “require a level of trust and commitment for someone to be asked to write a recommendation and then for them to do so with their name published next to it,” he says.
3. Detailed Projects and Published Works
When Wise is browsing a candidate’s LinkedIn profile, he’d be way more impressed if he saw “unique past projects with detailed descriptions,” he says. “Whether they be websites, mobile apps, marketing campaigns, PPC stats, etc., that’s what counts, and not how many people are endorsing you.”
So, if you haven’t already, take advantage of LinkedIn’s new visual content feature.
For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at CareerBliss!
About the Author: A nationally recognized resume expert, Jessica Hernandez is President/CEO of Great Resumes Fast and a former human resources manager and recruiter. With more than ten years’ experience directing hiring practices for Fortune 500 companies, she has developed innovative and proven resume development, and personal branding strategies to generate powerful results for clients.
As a global resume authority and trusted media source, Jessica has been featured and quoted on CNN.com, Monster.com, Job Talk America radio, SmartBrief, International Business Times, and more. Jessica has her Bachelor of Science degree in Communications/Public Relations from the University of North Florida. Contact Jessica on Twitter!
Image courtesy of wired.com… thank you!