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My co-worker has a visa situation - if he does not get the Visa this time around, he is going to have to leave the country and either work out of my company's India office, or look for another job. Given the uncertainty surrounding his employment position, he has pro-actively started the job search.

Today, he spoke with me and was upfront about his situation. He then asked me for a LinkedIn recommendation to help with his job search. I like him very much, and have no qualms writing a glowing recommendation for him. However, I was wondering if this would be a good idea.

Aren't recommendations usually given at the end of one's association with a person? i.e. Wouldn't the right time to give him the recommendation be when and if he finds out that he did not get the visa, and is going to take up a job elsewhere? I was thinking he might actually get the visa, and we might remain co-workers for a long time to come. So, I was wondering are there any pitfalls to recommending someone you are currently working with, and might work with for a long time to come. I couldn't think of much, but I just haven't seen anyone do it, and felt uneasy about it. What do you think?

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While historically you would give a recommendation at the end of a relationship, social media (in this case LinkedIn) has changed that. It used to be that the only time that anyone would be looking at recommendations is when you're looking for a job so it stands to reason that it's the only time you would give one. These days it doesn't really matter and it doesn't imply anything at all (beyond that you're recommending him) when you give a recommendation while they're still associated with you.

In other words, you can recommend him at any time, especially on a site like LinkedIn.

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Aren't recommendations usually given at the end of one's association with a person?

LinkedIn "recommendations" are often given during one's association with the individual requesting them. It's not unusual at all.

And LinkedIn's "recommendations" are far less powerful than real references. So don't be shy about them. They don't imply that you want to see this co-worker leave or are helping them do so.

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What do you think?

As @Joe mentioned, Linkedin recommendations are far less powerful. Only recommendations which will appear on linkedin are the ones which are overly praising since user can choose which should appear on their profile. So you do not have to write it if you are not comfortable with it. I do not even think it will have an impact on his job search anyways.

Instead offer to be on his reference list and say that you will be happy to give a glowing recommendation if someone from his prospective employer contacts you.

This has always worked for me (both in giving and using references) without using Linkedin recommendations.

  • Aren't references the same way? Your coworker will only use the best ones, whether on his profile or on his resume. – Erik May 9 '17 at 7:44
  • @Erik, mostly yes but the final recommendation you give directly to the company is still up to you and confidential. You can give a negative recommendation to someone who thought you will give positive reference for them. Usually someone will not give a name unless they are sure they will get a good recommendation but still you always do not know what other person thinks of you. – PagMax May 9 '17 at 8:55

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