Talent Acquisition

Endorse Me and Be Damned!

I’ve always considered the word “endorsement” to have rather flaky connotations. Perhaps it’s because it conjures to my mind images of cheesy personalities or wooden sports stars “endorsing” products they quite clearly would never buy or use in a million years – Henry Cooper may well have splashed his Brut all over (boxers weren’t paid much back then and he was probably grateful of a few freebies) but I’m fairly sure David Beckham’s hair never saw an ounce of Brylcreem (especially after Posh got her claws in and started managing his look – Denis Compton, the original Brylcreem Boy and personal hero of mine given his first-class batting average and Arsenal career, I’m sure was spinning in his grave).

Or perhaps “endorsement” brings to mind (for me) too many occurrences of when they have gone horribly wrong – like remembering the one bad meal or a dodgy hotel room after a succession of pleasant experiences and then writing a furious entry on TripAdvisor IN CAPITALS and with over use of !!!!! , **** and the consonants F, K, S, H and T.

Spectacularly misjudged endorsements include everything ever endorsed by Tiger Woods or Lance Armstrong (to be fair to the product people who knew Tiger would end up being caught swinging his club around too freely or that Lance would turn out to be the biggest cheat in sporting history) and, of course, various fashion labels aghast at being endorsed by a cocaine snorting Kate Moss (drugs in the fashion industry … how shocking … who’d have thought? It seems such a healthy and low-key kind of industry).

Car-Crash Endorsements:

A personal car-crash endorsement favourite is Madonna’s $5m contract with Pepsi quickly being scotched after the release of her Like a Prayer video, which included rape, racism, stigmata, has Madge gyrating around a burning cross and kissing a black saint who may or may not be Jesus (Lady Gaga take note – this is how it’s really done!)

Apparently all this didn’t go down well with religious groups in America and a leading Catholic Bishop called for a boycott of Pepsi and all their holdings (Taco Bell, KFC and Pizza Hut) after Madonna’s song accompanied a much heralded advert for Pepsi during the Bill Cosby Show. This wasn’t a great commercial move by Pepsi whilst at the height of the Cola War.

LinkedIn Endorsements:

So, when LinkedIn decided to spring a new feature on us networking addicts a while backed called LinkedIn Endorsements, I was not at first all that hopeful or positive towards to the development, having associated the term with too many bad experiences and examples. Unfortunately my feelings towards the feature have not got any better in the following months.

My problems with LinkedIn Endorsements are:

  1. the pop window asking you to continually endorse a connection is way too annoying.
  2. I receive Endorsements from people who, I know, have no way of telling if what they have endorsed me for is true or not. They just add noise and no value.

I’ve even seen recently examples of Endorsements that create a bit of humour (no bad thing) such as being endorsed for “Kicking Ass” (bit American for my taste but “Kicking Arse” never seems quite right as you end of sounding like a Hugh Grant fop) and indeed there is a potential mischief that could be created by people endorsing others for non-complimentary skills – such as Racketeering (noun: illegal business or scheme; usually run as part of organised crime – AKA being a MP, Journo or City Banker).

LinkedIn Endorsements are too easily given and offer no substance as to how they’ve been earned – they are akin to a Facebook like, which is about as ephemeral and inconsequential as can be.

So I’m opting out of Endorsements from now on.

I’m not going to be swayed by the annoying pop window to endorse for endorsing’s sake and any of my connections who choose to continually endorse me for skills they are in no position to judge will be removed from my network. A bit harsh perhaps but it means they’re either a) stupid or b) disingenuous and it gives me a good reason to prune back who I choose to remain connected to (so, maybe in a strange way Linkedin Endorsements will be a force for good after all).

What are your thoughts on LinkedIn Endorsements? Let us know in the comments below!

By Robert Wright

Robert Wright is a Man of Kent now living in York with two kids and with another in the oven. He lives in a bombsite and is working the NHS Leadership Academy to support Trusts recruiting at board level. You can find him on Linkedin, Twitter - @robmwright or in the kitchen at parties.