Having recently returned from a trip booked through Travelocity, I wasn’t surprised that they asked me to provide a review of my hotel. After all, Travelocity recognizes that user-generated content is the best way to provide shoppers with product feedback and insight on their website.
But also, in that same email in-basket, was a request for a personal endorsement on LinkedIn — from someone whose name I did not recognize.
Curious, I read their profile to reacquaint myself with the individual. Funnily enough, I barely knew this person; I never actually met them, but their organization was one of our company’s clients. After chatting with my account team, none of them remembered this manager either and we concluded they were on the team, but not involved in our day-to-day activities (at least we think that’s who they were).
A little additional digging revealed that they had sent me a LinkedIn request only a few weeks earlier. I remember thinking at the time that I didn’t actually know this person, but because they worked at one of our clients companies, I wasn’t going to turn them down.
Next, they chose to endorse me for some of my skills (gee, thanks, although how did they know if we never actually worked together?).
Now, a few weeks later, they actually sent me an InMail asking me to click/endorse them on six specific skills because they are currently seeking a new leadership position. And here’s what’s really fascinating: When I looked at their LI profile, it seems the number of people who have endorsed them for the six skills they requested, has recently exploded to over 100. Some of those now endorsing don’t seem to have ever endorsed anyone else for these particular skills on LI, so is their profile really a marketing ploy for recruiters?
I know LinkedIn is an important business tool for networking and is used by many HR people to identify potential candidates. Plus, if you submit a resume for a position, the first place the hiring manager looks is to your LinkedIn profile. So by beefing up your profile with endorsement volume (possibly from people who don’t really know you), is that an authentic way to promote your personal brand?
Personally, I don’t give out recommendations lightly. If I know you and your work, I’m happy to be a reference — and can often help you find that next “right” job. I’m always networking and am thrilled when I can put somebody I’ve worked with and admired together with a similar marketing colleague who is looking to fill a slot. If I’m a personal reference, I want to be sincere and honest — because after all, it reflects my brand.
I admit that I often review dining experiences on Open Table; hotels and resorts on Travelocity, Hotels.com or other travel sites; or product reviews on Amazon; under an alias. I choose to do so because I don’t really want to mix my business brand with my personal life. But any kind of endorsement on LinkedIn is a direct reflection on me as a marketer.
Perhaps I’m the only one who feels this way; perhaps I’m being too harsh. But if I’m disingenuous with my endorsements, then what does that say about me?
I’m curious to know what other marketers think. Do you randomly endorse skill sets for colleagues/friends/associates on LinkedIn? Do those skill set endorsements really matter?