Chris Alexander

On Engineering

The low value of LinkedIn recommendations

11th March, 2013

LinkedIn’s new Recommendations feature is causing some discussion in the office. You can see how there would be upsides to getting recommended for skills on LinkedIn. However, personally, I have decided against publishing ones I have received for now.

The primary reason for this is currently I am seeing a lot of people getting recommended for things that they probably do have good experience in, but the recommendation is devalued by who is recommending it. In a lot of cases, LinkedIn provides auto-filled recommendations for people to send, and the person sending the recommendation doesn’t necessarily know a lot about the subject they are recommending someone for.

For example, if Sergey Brin were to recommend me for “Wearable computing”; Mark Zuckerberg for “social software”; or my boss for “AWS architecture” then I would content these are highly relevant, and valuable recommendations. However, people who have never worked together recommending each other for areas in which they are not experts - I would argue - devalues the system entirely.

I believe LinkedIn could help solve this problem by making sure people are aware of what they are doing before sending recommendations for these skills. They have done a good job of getting people sending skill recommendations - perhaps so well, that it has devalued the overall result.