Social media has forever changed the recruiting landscape. People on both sides of the line—recruiters and job-seekers—are using social media to find each other. Recruiters are scouring social media profiles for potential candidates, posting job ads on social networks, and promoting their company’s brand. Job-seekers are searching for jobs on company pages and networking with professionals across industries on social media.
As one of the most popular social media networks—boasting approximately 185 million monthly unique visitors—LinkedIn has made its niche in the professional world, attracting professionals interested in networking for business and career purposes. In 2012, LinkedIn launched its endorsement feature that allows users to endorse skills for their connections and have others endorse their own skills.
Here’s how it works: when a person views a profile, they are offered the chance to endorse that person for a particular skill or skills. These skills are entered by the individual setting up the profile as those that best represent his or her abilities. The endorser can choose to click one or more of them, or write in another skill he or she thinks that the person has. Once clicked, the number of endorsements for the chosen skills increases on the person’s profile.
Endorsing someone is very easy since a dialog box asking for endorsements appears in everyone’s profile. And since it’s so easy–almost automatic–many recruiters have begun to ask whether LinkedIn endorsements are actually valuable when recruiting. Sure, they may offer some information about a person’s skills and could help confirm employment, if, say, the endorser is a former or current employer or manager. However, it’s important to keep these endorsements in perspective and see them just for what they are.
When it comes to recruiting, here are the three main takeaways for LinkedIn endorsements:
The person making the endorsement matters. If it’s a former or current employee or manager, then their endorsement has value. If it’s someone the person met once at a conference or knows only personally, their endorsements carry less weight. The problem is that it’s hard to tell them apart. To verify, a recruiter would have to click on every endorser and try to track his or her connection to the candidate, which would be time-consuming and inefficient.
Remember, LinkedIn endorsements are given quickly and in many cases without much thought. Some recruiters may find them useful as a filter when looking for candidates, because they can hone in on someone who has been endorsed many times for the skills they’re looking for. Yet, recruiters should be careful not to dismiss candidates just because they don’t have a lot of endorsements. Rather than focusing on endorsements alone, recruiters should consider the candidate’s full profile, the experience listed, and any actual written recommendations they may have. And any claims of skills listed on LinkedIn should be verified before you go too far along the road to hiring.