LinkedIn Recommendations – Valuable or Waste of Time
Now before you start feeling sorry for me – like I’m some kind of friendless Schmuck who no ones likes, realize that this is largely self-inflicted. You see, I don’t really WANT any recommendations on LinkedIn because honestly, I just don’t see the point.
Now LinkedIn claims that “Users with complete profiles are 40 times more likely to receive opportunities through LinkedIn”. In order to get “complete profile” status, you have to have, not one, not two, but THREE recommendations! So, I guess I’ll be missing out on all those “LinkedIn Opportunities”…whatever that means! In MBA speak, I would define that as a completely benign and unmeasurable metric.
When I interview someone and they provide me with a list of “referrals” the first thing I do is resolve NOT to contact any of them. These are the people who have been hand picked and coached by the prospective employee. It’s worthless feedback – you might as well ask the prospective employee what they think of themselves! Instead, I work the back channels and find people who know the person well, but who have not been coached. Past work associates and/or clients are a much better source of real information.
Scratch My Back and I’ll Scratch Yours!
I believe the same is largely true about LinkedIn. One person says “hey, you recommend me and I’ll recommend you back!” How valuable is this information? It’s crap. It means nothing. Now, I don’t know the circumstances of the situation above. I’m sure they are both good guys. Perhaps one received an unprompted recommendation and then reciprocated. But does this boost the value? I don’t think so.
Stuck at 85% for the rest of my life
So, I guess my LinkedIn profile will remain at 85% until I die. But I’m cool with that. If you want to know if I’m smart, if I do good work, if I can be trusted…then track down my friends, colleagues (past and present) and my clients. Ask them, don’t ask me.