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I am a senior at a University and soon I will be looking for a full time job as Software Engineer (hopefully).

I was wondering - how critical are endorsements on LinkedIn?

It seems that one's profile is becoming increasingly important - I get asked about my LinkedIn profile on many websites when applying for positions.

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    Some do, some don't. I would argue that most actual hiring managers (not HR people) don't take them into consideration because they know they often have littler correlation to reality, or are offered by people who have no basis for the recommendation (see Hilmar's answer below). – jcmeloni May 2 '14 at 20:14
  • This question appears to be off-topic because it is about regulations or agreements that are company-specific and don't have universally applicable answers. – gnat May 2 '14 at 21:17
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    LinkedIn poisoned their database when they started asking people to endorse their friends' skills in areas said friends never claimed to be skilled at, without making clear that this was LinkedIn asking rather than the friend. I killed my account after several cases of this, I don't think any LinkedIn endorsement can be taken at face value. – keshlam May 3 '14 at 2:39
  • This doesn't seem like a company-specific question to me. LinkedIn is widely used and this is a question about the utility of one of its features. – Monica Cellio May 4 '14 at 19:16
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    This question is solidly on-topic as it deals with HR's perspective on the value of endorsements, and I think it makes the site better (as well as reinforcing the value of indicators people earn at, say, StackExchange sites). – Aaron Hall May 4 '14 at 23:03
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To me as a frequent hiring manager, endorsements have little value. Most endorsements that I personally get are from people who barely know me but are in the market and are dishing out endorsements in the hope to get some in return.

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    The solution here is to endorse judiciously. – ojblass May 5 '14 at 1:18
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    @ojblass that's only a solution if everyone does it, and sadly, they never will – Nick Coad Nov 6 '14 at 2:53
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I was wondering - how critical are endorsements on LinkedIn?

As a hiring manager, I look at pretty much everything I can find about a candidate that interests me - LinkedIn, Facebook, StackExchange, and anything else reachable by a search.

That said, I almost completely discount the upvotes/endorsements/likes that I see on many sites. I know that many are more "friends and family" or reciprocal votes than actual professional reputation endorsements. LinkedIn in particular has systems that beg for endorsements for skills that most of your network has no effective way to judge. And endorsing via LinkedIn takes no time, effort or thought - just clicking a button. Not much real value here. (I personally have been endorsed for skills that I simply do not possess.)

The only exception would be a LinkedIn "recommendation" - particularly from someone I actually know, or someone I could talk with. These require real words, real writing, rather than just clicking a "like" button. That might be worth a follow-up to see how real it is.

Far better are solid references that will talk to me during a phone call, and answer my specific questions. These have real value.

For me at least, endorsements on LinkedIn are not critical at all, and are almost without any value at all. I'd be shocked (and disappointed) if HR took them seriously.

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    Ah, so I'm not the only one who has concluded that LinkedIn endorsements are ... manure. But you still look at the rest of the data? I wasn't sure whether folks would read past that or just write off LI entirely. – keshlam Jul 9 '16 at 12:45
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My auto mechanic endorsed me for ... and my barber endorsed me for .

At that point, I seriously discounted the value of the endorsements, since it's a useless feature. It's really there to promote activity and garner more traffic to the site.

Recruiters typically do not take these into consideration. My main IT recruiter (in the financial IT sector) said, "LinkedIn endorsements are not taken seriously" and asked me not to tag him with "skills".

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Most of my endorsements are pretty solid - former bosses/supervisors and professionals whom I met in other venues such as hackathons and who have seen for themselves what I can do. However, these endorsements have yet to make a difference so far as hiring managers and in-house and external recruiters are concerned.

Follow-up comment from @parasietje: "Are you talking about recommendations or endorsements? If these people actually worked with you, asking for a recommendation seems the better option."

They are endorsements. I could also ask and get recommendations out of the same people, but I didn't ask because I have my doubts on how much weight recommendations are given when they are not confidential. Given that I trust these people totally not to screw me over, I'd rather that the recommendations be confidential so that they may speak freely. I should take your advice in the case of my endorsers, given that his health has been declining, it is not the greatest at this point and that the adage "dead men tell no tales" is getting to be apt in his case. Timing is everything, as it would be rather gauche - even for me, and I can be pretty ruthless - to ask somebody for a recommendation when he is on his death bed :)

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I've asked this question to a few colleagues in recruiting. In general, the response is 'yes, we look at these, but give them very little weight.' The appearance and content of your overall profile, however, is something they say can help or hurt you.

They say the best profiles give a clear indication of a person's career experiences (and potentially objectives) without blurring the lines too much with the grammar and content of other social media like Facebook and Twitter. I know this almost sounds like a given, but they say it's surprising how many unprofessional LinkedIn profiles are floating around out there - among current jobseekers nonetheless.

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LinkedIn poisoned their database when they started asking people to endorse their friends' skills in areas said friends never claimed to be skilled at, without making clear that this was LinkedIn asking rather than the friend. I killed my account after several cases of this, I don't think any LinkedIn endorsement can be taken at face value.

(Yes, this is based on personal experience. I had to undo several cases where LinkedIn asked friends to certify my skills, and they assumed that the request came from me rather than having been generated automatically and erroneously. I only found out what was going on after I asked a few of them to explain what they thought they were doing. I doubt most LinkedIn users are policing their records this carefully, and hence I would NOT assume that LinkedIn's information is close to correct.)

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Judging from the notifications on my own endorsements, I get endorsed frequently by people who have

  • Never worked with me
  • Do not have the capacity to judge whether I have this skill

I received a 20-odd endorsements for Software Testing because I included a slide about it in a talk about software patterns,, even though I know nothing about ISTQB or professional software testing. Skill endorsements have no value, and I would be wary of any hiring manager that does value them.

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Your endorsements are a part of your personal branding. HR may not look at them much today, but as you move into more specialized fields or technologies, they begin to represent and provide additional evidence of your focus. My top areas of recommendation are Python, Finance, and Statistics, in that order, and these recommendations are largely coming from people who know me and my focus and are qualified to vouch for them. As my reputation for those skills continues to grow, so will the count of recommendations for those skills, as well as the quality of the ones recommending me, and I do consider that to be of value.

For my part, I try to only recommend people for skills I could personally vouch for, and for the skills that I would be considered qualified to assess.

I'll cite the Signal to Noise ratio here, and I think two factors contribute to the signal:

  1. The first factor is the number of recommendations: 1 or 2 recommendations don't mean much. Once you get into the double digits on a skill, that becomes a signal of ones' focus.
  2. The second factor is the quality of the ones making the recommendations. If they're a leader in the field for which they're recommending you, that really means something (for example, if Linus Torvalds recommended you for Linux, that would really send a signal). If they're your cousin and you've not actually ever worked with them, then it's not a big deal (but it does say your cousin doesn't consider you a black sheep).

I predict that as LinkedIn continues to be a hub for social connection of professionals, these recommendations will gain more and more weight with HR. The weight they have for HR is in providing additional evidence of your focus and reputation. The effect, for now, is hard to quantify, but I think it's stronger than interests you may (or may not) have listed at the bottom of your resume.

A third, less tangible factor, is on the aggregate, these recommendations are a signal of your ability to build a professional network, a desirable skill for most lines of work. I don't think you're doing yourself any favors by deleting them out of hand, unless they confuse the message you're attempting to communicate about your focus.

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    My experience in evaluating technical candidates is similar to those of others who have answered. Because of the aggressive way that LinkedIn encourages endorsements they really cannot be given much weight. Double digit endorsements probably means that the candidate has lot of friends and family. Lots of friends and family is probably a positive for a sales person, but not so much for a technical hire. – Jim In Texas May 9 '14 at 20:22
  • @JimInTexas That's the second factor I address. Thanks for your input, though. – Aaron Hall May 9 '14 at 22:13

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