Gamification of Our Careers – Do You Play The Game? LinkedIn Endorsements.


I’ve been thinking about these one-click LinkedIn endorsements lately.  And while it’s lovely to see your names pop-up when you click to endorse me on a match that LinkedIn has suggested in it’s gamification of our careers, I really wonder how many of you use those in hiring decisions.

I’ve really been noodling this new approach to endorsements and recommendations since LinkedIn launched this new feature.  Their recommendations always were a conundrum to me – you may remember past questions about whether it’s tacky to ask for a recommendation or whether it’s just good career management.  I know from experience they aren’t quick to whip up and I generally take much longer to craft a recommendation than I think the asker is expecting.

I also received an email recently from a friend & colleague asking me to by-pass these one-clickers and just endorse him for skills I have personally seen in action and that match the areas he is actively trying to highlight.    Really, who needs “MS Office” as their most endorsed Skill & Expertise… (and while I’m at it, aren’t Skills and Expertise different things? ah, but I quibble.)Linkedin-skills-expertise

I do like that LinkedIn has reduced the effort of endorsing a colleague and that they are using the one-click Hot-or-Not endorsement model  (because it’s easy, not because it’s objectifying.)

I’d just like to see a way for professionals to identify the skills or expertise they don’t want in the game but do want in their profile in case knowing Balsamiq is a deciding factor in HR’s evaluation of who to interview.

When LinkedIn started they really emphasised only connecting with people you have worked with and would recommend.  That has obviously changed since I get daily requests to connect from people I’ve never heard of, let alone know personally.  I guess in the early-days, if you had followed LinkedIn’s recommendation, these endorsements would only come from people who knew you and had worked with you.  These days, well, it’s a bit of a crap shoot.  And for me, that effects the validity and relevance of this endorsement.  And of course, the game-play aspect means that you aren’t presented with a list of skills to pick the one you’d endorse first, just one from the list. Making me wonder how often the skills that are more rarified, more senior and likely more critical to your career development, are actually presented to the people who would know if you have them.

So time for you to weigh in:

  • do you play LinkedIn’s little endorsement game?
  • do you use these endorsements when evaluating a candidate or someone’s profile?
  • do you get endorsed by people who’ve never seen you in action?
  • Recommendations or endorsements – which way do you swing?

12 Comments Add yours

  1. says:

    And to be clear, I did click “endorse” for all 4 of these fine folks.

  2. Carol Harrison says:

    I hate the feature. I’ve had “endorsements” from people who I’ve never worked with. I think it cheapens LinkedIn and lessens its value for some people. There is a way of turning off the endorsement feature, or at least filtering it out, which I’ve done in the past then turned back on. I’m inclined to turn it off again. In terms of “gamification,” I think accumulating contacts is more of a game than endorsements.

  3. Rob Tyrie says:

    Lol… I resemble this comment. I do know about Product Marketing… taught by best… like I generally think that this simple idea is good enough. It gives some visibility and transparency, but like any system it can be gamed.. and it so easy – slacker support is questionable. LinkedIn would have to do some statistics that there is a correlation of expertise and endorsements. I don’t do endorsements lightly, just like i do not give references lightly. Like all tools, I consider them neutral. It’s up to the users to gain benefit from them. Right now, in B2B Enterprise Software, if one is in sales and does not have a dozen positive uses of Linked in, and are articulate about them, I would not endorse that person in Enterprise Sales…. get’s tricky doesn’t it 🙂

  4. Rob Tyrie says:

    Also… knowing how to use FB counts a bit too 😉

  5. watersanne says:

    I think LinkedIn is a bit a mess as a networking tool.  To me, it has turned into a glorified Facebook for people who only want Facebook, the Professional Edition.  I have a very primitive profile.  Enough to say I exist on this planet.  I only link with people that I know and can comment on if ever asked. (No guarantees that the comments would be flattering.)  I do not use it to stream my latest news.  Some do.  Just seems a bit to braggy for my taste.  The whole self promotion thing seems to have gone to a whole new level. Some of my connections have so many skills attributed to them that it’s a wonder they aren’t running the world.  I am not sure they would junk up their paper CV like that in the good old days.  The endorsements feature is what confirmed for me that LinkedIn has totally lost its value as a tool for sourcing people.  I have endorsements from people in skill sets for me for which they have no valid reason for endorsing.  We just don’t have a connection on that skill set. There is no way to know what content is truly credible anymore. So therefore none of it is. I do not and will not participate in the endorsement feature.  LinkedIn has diminishing value to me.  Too bad.  They tried to be too many things to too many people.

    1. AlexaClark says:

      watersanneI hear you and agree that it is much less clean a networking and sourcing space than it was originally.  I know a lot of people who do find LinkedIn very valuable, though as
      another commenter said, many are in Enterprise Sales.  I think how and
      why you use it really does drive it’s efficacy.
      Personally I like the ability to have what I consider a more fully fleshed CV on LinkedIn, complete with co-workers on projects and recommendations tied to the work I did with that person.  I think it augments the short concise resume I would send out.  I think it adds depth and dimension to a resume. Especially for someone who has been working for longer than 5-10 years and in multiple industries.  
      Yes, it can be braggy.  But my experience has shown that in the last 20 years that’s not necessarily a bad thing when developing your career. Sure it’s bad taste in Canadian culture, but that too is shifting.

      All that said, it’s not a space I use heavily and the endorsement feature still tweaks me.

  6. Jay Goldman says:

    I’m scared of the feedback loop that you could trigger on someone’s profile by endorsing them for something ridiculous (like User Experience! 🙂 and then having everyone else pile on. Could be pretty damaging to their reputation.

  7. Alexa Clark says:

    Funnily enough your comment makes me want to game the system and see what that feedback loop would look like if we did try and endorse something like “hugs” as a skill or area of expertise. Hmmmm

  8. Alexa Clark says:

    I’m with you on the game of collecting contacts. Seems like a strange and not so effective game to play… but I guess it is good for metrics and reach. Not that all those people are listening. That builds into the discussion of reach vs influence which is interesting when it comes to ones career.
    I haven’t see the way to turn off the endorsement feature – can you point me at it?

  9. Gerry Thorpe says:

    i would certainly endorse you for hugs.

  10. Alexa Clark says:

    I would love to see LinkedIn do some stats and reporting on the correlation between expertise and endorsements. It would be fascinating.
    It’s interesting that you are pointing to LinkedIn as an Enterprise Biz Dev tool, I wonder if that sales is really the most powerful use of LinkedIn, as opposed to career dev.

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