LinkedIn recos

LinkedIn in general is a useful site. It’s a good place to maintain an “online CV” and also track the careers of your peers and ex-peers and people you are interested in and people you are jealous of. If you are a headhunter, it is a good place to find heads to hunt, so that you can buzz them asking for their “current CTC; expected CTC; notice period” (that’s how most india-based headhunters work). It also helps you do “due diligence” (for a variety of reasons), and to even approximately figure out stuff like a person’s age, hometown, etc.

However, one thing that doesn’t make sense at all to me is the recommendations section. Point being that LinkedIn being a “formal” networking site, even a mildly negative sounding recommendation can cause much harm to a person’s career and so people don’t entertain them. Also, the formality of the site prevents one from writing cheesy recommendations – the thing that made orkut testimonials so much fun. And if you can’t be cheesy or be even mildly negative, you will be forced to write an extremely filtered recommendation.

Rhetorical question – have you ever seen a negative or even funny or even mildly unusual recommendation on LinkedIn? I haven’t, and I believe it’s for the reasons that I mentioned above. And if you think you are cool enough to write a nice recommendation for me, and that I’m cool enough to accept nice recommendations, I’m sure you and I have better places to bond than LinkedIn.

Anyway, so given that most recommendations on LinkedIn are filtered stuff, and are thus likely to be hiding much more than they reveal, isn’t it a wonder that people continue to write them, and ask for them? Isn’t it funny that “LinkedIn Experts” say that it’s an essential part of having a “good profile”? Isn’t it funny that some people will actually take these recommendations at face value?

I don’t really have an answer to this, and continue to be amazed that the market value for LinkedIn recommendations hasn’t plummetted. I must mention here that neither do I have any recommendations on LinkedIn nor have I written any. To those corporate whores who haven’t realized that LinkedIn Recommendations have no value, my sympathies.


Commenting on facebook, my junior from college Shrinivas recommends . Check it out for yourself. It seems like this cribbing about linkedin recommendations isn’t new. I realize I may be late, but then I’m latest.

4 thoughts on “LinkedIn recos”

  1. I think one way in which these recos might add value is by the lack of positive information. For example, when a person has a lot of recos (and by assumption, all of them are going to be positive), if none of them mention a particular positive trait that you are looking for, then you know that person is highly unlikely to have that positive trait.

  2. SKimpy,

    I think one of the reasons some junta get recos put is to have profile completion.

    For instance, I’ve written hajjjjjar shit in my linkedin profile, but none of that has made any difference to the site in the absence of recommendations and my profile still says 90% complete.

  3. Linkedin recos can add value in some cases.

    For example, your profile might say “Did sales pitches for project ABC”. A reco would say “He worked on ABC, and did an amazing job doing sales pitches because of his smooth talking abilities.” This sort of a specific reco adds more value than a random “he was hardworking, blah blah”.

    There is also the signalling value. If you get recommended by a superior or by top management, it’s more probable that the reco is ‘genuine’, compared to say, recos by classmates/friends.

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