“Huh ? Endorsed ??”
“That’s right. Tom just endorsed all my skills. Isn’t that so cool ?”
“What skills are you talking about ? What endorsements ? And who’s Tom?”
“Man, why are you guys so ignorant. Everyone knows what a skill endorsement is. Haven’t you ever been on Linked In ?”
“Pardon my ignorance, but I’m sure that what you are talking about must be really important. So who’s Tom ?”
“Tom is the guy who connected with me on Linked In yesterday. He’s got a pretty impressive profile and seems to be a highly experienced guy.”
“OK. Now that he’s endorsed your skills, what happens next ?”
“Seriously… how long has it been since you went on to Linked In ?”
“Been some time, but tell me, now that Tom has endorsed you, what happens next ?”
“Well, last week, it was Harry who endorsed me, and the week before that it was Dick. With so many endorsements on my profile, I am now legit. People who visit my profile will know that I’m a great guy who knows his stuff. People will respect me for that, and they will trust me.”
“Really ? So how does that benefit you ?”
“Don’t you get it ? The more endorsements I have, the better my profile gets. With so many endorsements happening all around, the day is not far when prospective employers will start queuing up at my door to hire me.”
“Do you honestly believe that ?”
“Of course. It just HAS to work that way.”
“Hmmm.. so what are you going to do now ?”
“Well, get online, of course, and endorse Tom’s skills right back ! After all, he has taken the trouble of endorsing me for my skills, and I do have to return the favour, just like I did for Harry & Dick earlier on.”
“Well, I must admit that you guys really are loyal to each other at least.”
“Naturally. We are one big happy family out there. We have to look after each other, don’t we ?”
Call me ungrateful, if you like, but I have a serious problem with endorsements. Ever since this endorsement feature was introduced, people have been going overboard with it. Business & Professional networking is important and necessary, after all that is how people grow their network and seek out new opportunities. However, one has to draw the line somewhere. I don’t have a problem endorsing the skills and capabilities of an individual, provided I have first-hand knowledge of him and his work. But I do have a problem when an absolute stranger, who has recently connected with me on an online platform decides to click the endorse button just because it happens to be there. of late, I have watched my list of endorsements growing by the day, and most of the people endorsing are those who have actually had little or no interaction with me. However, I have flatly refused to endorse someone just because they endorsed me. The only people whom I have endorsed are the ones that I know personally – former colleagues, business contacts, former students etc.
In the past, we had the good old system of recommendations, where people who knew each other recommended each others work, and there was a certain amount of honesty to it because a recommendation system has to be based on one’s first-hand knowledge of another individual. I have been recommended by others, and have also done the same for others on my network, primarily because we have known each other and have had our past interactions as the basis for the recommendation.
However, this new system of skills endorsement is, in my view, inane. Not only does it erode our values, it actually encourages people to endorse each other just for the heck of it. And some people go a step further still. There is this new fad now of inviting people for a so-called peer evaluation where you are supposed to answer a survey questionnaire about the individual, the fact that you don’t know the individual notwithstanding. Every day there is a new mail from a contact asking you to evaluate them. Some will call it a 360 peer review, some will call it a career review or something similar to that.
Give me a break, people. I am not about to jump on this bandwagon at least. And to those who sincerely believe that this bandwagon is going to get them to their destination or objective, I wish you all the very best. And to all the Toms, Dicks and Harrys out there – you would be much better off being sincere to yourselves and to others, rather than trying to collect brownie points that make your profiles look great.