I have worked in the same software-development team as “Alex” (and another dozen people) for a couple years, and supervised part of their job at some point (due to “technical superiority”, as they joined the team before I did and our job titles were the same).
Alex has recently changed job (no hard feeling involved either sides).
I believe (I am afraid that sounds cocky) that they could testify for the good quality of the work I produced. So I would like to ask them a recommendation on LinkedIn — I've currently none and would like to “prime the pump”.
However, I fear that they would ask me to recommend them back. And even if they weren't particularly bad, they weren't particularly good neither and didn't show some above-par skills: they filled their duty ok, but didn't grew beyond their junior role for almost 3 years. So I wouldn't have much positive to tell about them and wouldn't want to vouch for them.
My litmus test is “Should I change company and pick my A-team, would I want them on board?” and they wouldn't pass it.
Is it a good idea to ask someone for a LinkedIn recommendation, when one wouldn't be comfortable writing back something positive?
If so, what would be the best approach to avoid being asked to recommend them back?
Note: I am aware that in saying: “I think I'd 'deserve' a good recommendation, but they don't” while I was their de facto line-manager at some point, also tells that something is potentially wrong with me, as it's now kind of my responsibility to make them perform well.