LinkedIn Etiquette – Recommendations

At the end of last week I received an email from a colleague who had been sent a request for a recommendation along the following lines:

Dear xxxxxxxx, I’m sending this to ask you for a brief recommendation of my work that I can include in my LinkedIn profile. If you have any questions, let me know.  Thanks in advance for helping me out.  -xxxxxxxxxxxx

My colleagues questions was “What’s the etiquette for endorsements?” As you can see ?????? has asked me for an endorsement of their work. However, I have never worked with them or for them.   As far as I know they haven’t sent me any work.  With the greatest of respect I owe them no favours and why should I endorse them?”.

The concern voiced was that if this request was ignored, it could cause offence, but in reality the question was answered by the enquirer.  In my humble opinion, a recommendation on a network like LinkedIn is a like a reference and should be treated as such.

Here are my brief guidelines for LinkedIn Recommendations.

  1. Only endorse people who have done work for you or given you something you would have found difficult to achieve in any other way, ie an excellent presentation you attended where you received a lot of information you were able to use.
  2. Secondly only endorse people whose work (0r presentation!) was good or excellent.
  3. Don’t fall into the trap of mutual endorsements either … doesn’t look good unless they are for something unique in each case and in which case, should never be done at the same time.
  4. You have no obligation to respond to such a request and you can simply ignore them.  If you feel that ignoring the request is not an option, then a polite email back giving your own guidelines for recommendations is perfectly in order.
  5. Finally, do not send a recommendation back for me just because I have been kind enough to write one for you, it really isn’t necessary – honest!

When requesting recommendations, I would offer the following guidelines:

  1. Only approach people you have worked with and who you already know have valued your input – usually because of another testimonial they have sent or some other form of feedback you have received.
  2. Please, please, please DO NOT send it out to 200 people just because you can
  3. Personalise it and don’t send out the default message – it looks as if it is mass produced and those of us using LinkedIn regularly also know what the canned version says already. At the very least make a reference to the work you are requesting the recommendation for.

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