Lately I've been feeling very uneasy about being asked to write one of those LinkedIn "Recommendations" on behalf of an associate. I think LinkedIn is an incredibly wonderful and powerful tool and use it often - can't imaging my professional world without it, in fact. Yet when someone asks me to write a "recommendation" for him/her on LinkedIn, I'm sorry to say, my friends, I do not want to participate. Personally, I think these reccos are stupid because they don't say anything real or genuine. It's just one big beauty pageant exercise and it offers no value because everyone follows the same protocol: get one of your best business friends to say something really nice about you, have them post it to LI, and presto, you're a Business Star! (A REAL recco is when people get on the phone and exchange specific information and CONTEXT about the candidate regarding the specificity of the role for which he/she is interviewing.)
Even though I realize we're all supposed to smartly promote ourselves online through various platforms and resources like LI, this "recco" exercise is akin to writing in someone's yearbook, and I think we're a little too old for that. I've done a few of these in the past for some folks, yet never felt comfortable and would write comments like, "Ed's a great guy, but if you really want to know the good stuff about him, just pick up the phone and give me a call." (Crickets.) That tells me I'm just honestly sharing here what you agree with: this feature wastes space and time. Now, I just won't go there anymore.
To all my peeps who actually DO want me to participate in advancing their careers, just call me and tell me who I can call on your behalf, and I will contact that person and frame your story in a magnificent, germane, and powerful way. There's a lot that technology can't replace...let's get on the phones, folks!
8/20/2014 06:14:04 am
I recently offered to do a recommendation. Not linked in but close. Of course I was all sunny I and happy in writing. About halfway thru, I stopped answering questions in a fake happy tone and said. For any further information, I would prefer a phone conversation to discuss the nuances of the above answers and below questions. The person called me within the hour. We talked for a half hour about this person. And they have a much better idea of who his candidate is. Isn't technology wonderful that we eliminate nuanced interaction for speed of just getting it done. I think the linked in recommendations are lame for the most part. Pick up the phone and call a reference.
8/21/2014 07:18:00 am
I LOVE LinkedIn... the recommendations are just okay, I don't think people take them too seriously. However, the endorsements are the biggest waste of time. People who I haven't met are endorsing me all the time. It's nice, but I just don't get it.
8/22/2014 06:22:16 am
I'm the Ed Michael is talking about - and even though he might not have gotten any actual calls, I think the gesture is powerful... it's one thing to take a few minutes to write a hyperbolic recommendation.. its another thing completely to make yourself available for a conversation.
8/26/2014 04:40:19 am
Michael - I've always loved your old school approach to doing business. 'Pick up the damn phone.' However, LinkedIn serves a different purpose. The recommendations on LinkedIn aren't going to take the place of a call, however, they are a statement of trust sitting there on the page in black and white. While I don't think a single recommendation on a person's profile is going to get them their dream job....it could help their profile look more trustworthy to potential employers.
9/2/2014 12:09:35 pm
Michael, I think there's more (and less) to it. These reccommendations aren't dispositive. They are there to give a little bit more color to the CV that sits above them. And to show the kinds of people who are willing to stand up for the candidate.
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