Do LinkedIn Recommendations Really Add Value?

By now we have probably all seen the new LinkedIn endorsements which allow you to easily click endorse your connections. As lovely as this is and everyone likes to be endorsed, from a recruiter’s point of view, nothing beats a written LinkedIn recommendation.

This has always been the most beneficial element to the LinkedIn profile in my own opinion. When I am checking out a profile from someone who has sent me their CV (and when they haven’t) I go straight to the recommendations first.

‘Fake’ recommendations

Most recruiters realize that people’s friends or family write many recommendations on LinkedIn and do you know what, good luck to them. Just be aware that an interviewer may print off your recommendations and ask you in your interview how you know ‘Aimee Bateman’ and when did you work together? Talk to me about that? If you don’t give a genuine answer then it may be clear that you are ‘blagging’ a little. I personally have never done this at an interview, but I do know interviewers who have.

Recommendations that DON’T stand out

So many recommendations are vague and full of buzzwords that they often sound the same.

“Aimee was a pleasure to work with and always gave 100%. She got on with the team and got the job done. I would recommend her in the future”

I think we can all agree that this is a great recommendation and I would of course be grateful to receive anything of this nature. The problem is, it is similar to thousands of other recommendations and when we hear the same thing repeatedly, it loses its impact. We can all think of a song that we loved, but it lost its impact after we played it for the one-hundredth time.

I know that we can’t control what people write in their recommendations. I also know that when you get sent a recommendation the last thing you want to do is send it back and ask them to delete the buzzwords. What we can do however is ensure that we improve the quality of recommendations we provide for people and if you have asked for one, then you could give that person some guidelines.

Recommendations that DO stand out

Ask them to think about the following:

  • What is your key strength (include an example)
  • What did they enjoy about working with you the most (include an example)
  • What word would they use to describe you and why (include an example)
  • One problem that they had, which you helped them overcome and how (include example, their feelings, and your action points)

I worked with a lady called Janette a few years ago, who hadn’t had a sick day in ten years. Her previous manager talked about her work ethic and included this example. We asked him to include that in his recommendation and the feedback she got from potential employers was amazing. This is the reason she was invited to an interview with a client of mine, but maybe that’s another blog post.

Did you help with a cost-saving project, due to your impressive negotiation skills? Or are you so skilled at dealing with conflict situations, that you were the person they sent in whenever there was a problem anywhere? Were you so committed to the business that you even answered a work call on your wedding day? (I don’t think this is cool, but you can see what I’m trying to do here!) Don’t forget to do the same when writing recommendations for others that are truly going to benefit them in their job search.

I hope this article doesn’t sound ungrateful in any way and I know that it is wonderful to receive a genuine recommendation. I am so thankful for each and every one of mine. I just think in this crowded job market, everything you can do to stress your benefits and the value you bring is worth doing.

By Aimee Bateman

Aimee Bateman worked for some of the world's largest recruitment companies, before setting up her own consultancy. She has helped thousands of people get their dream jobs and has appeared in a number of TV programmes as the 'Recruitment Expert' on BBC 1 and BBC 3. Aimee is also the founder of Careercake.TV which is designed to help people thrive in their careers. Follow Aimee on Twitter @CareercakeTV.