How Are Recommendations Viewed on LinkedIn?

How are recommendations on Linkedin viewed by recruiters/prospective employers?

Given that there is no way to determine the authenticity or sincerity of a recommendation what trust value is assigned to the various recommendations while sourcing profiles?

HILVERSUM, NETHERLANDS - JANUARY 28, 2014: Linkedin is a social networking website for people in professional occupations. As of June 2013 more than 259 million users in more than 200 countries.


How are recommendations on LinkedIn viewed by recruiters and prospective employers?  Given that there is no way to determine the authenticity or validity of the recommendation, what trust value is assigned to the various recommendations that appear on profiles?

Great question!

I want to start by pointing out references are really no different and how are references looked at?  They are looked at like a final verification.  References have the same issue that’s being questioned about LinkedIn recommendations. I have had people try to pass off bogus references to me and you can just smell them a mile away.

So how are recommendations viewed?  They may be looked at at several times during the process.

They can be looked at when people are sourcing on LinkedIn.  Personally, I will read some and know pretty quickly whether or not the person really knows them.  It’s pretty easy to spot. 1 of those, “Hey endorse me and I will endorse you” references that were prevalent a while back.  I get those requests all the time from India and, in case you haven’t noticed, I’m not in India so I have no way of judging someone who is working there.  I don’t comply with those requests because, what am I going to say? She’s a really great person?  He’s a really good guy?  Those are really useless recommendations so why bother?  What good is it going to do?  Why would they believe me, in the US?  You can look at the recommendations and break them down to one’s work, whether someone really knows the person, whether what is said is very thin , or whether there is substance there

We ignore thin references.  The substantial ones provide a story in them about how you were the hero gets a higher weight in my mind.

Another way that they are look that is for quantity, as well as quality.  For example, I have hundreds of recommendations from people who had been kind enough to write about my work, whether as a headhunter, or now as a coach, videographer, podcast or and the like.  When you see hundreds of recommendations for someone verses 4, doesn’t that have a meaning for you? They look at it for quantity and, when they are pleasantly surprised by how many they find there, they will like that more.

How are LinkedIn recommendations look that? The same is references.

I mentioned that we would look at a couple of ways that they are look that. They are also look that when a company and its hiring manager are not sure.  Maybe they have done an interview and the just not sure about something , they will go back into the work recommendations and see if there is something that speaks to them to confirm the bias or opinion that they have.

Lastly, they may use them as a reference substitute. I don’t expect to have that happen very often.

Clearly, during the sourcing process, they are looking at the quality of your recommendations, as well as quantity.  During the process, to a lesser degree, they will look at them to confirm something or some opinion that they have about you and your work.



Do you think employers are trying to help you? You already know you can’t trust recruiters—they tell you as much as they think you need to know to take the job they after representing so they collect their payday.

The skills needed to find a job are different yet complement the skills needed to do a job.

Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter has been a career coach and recruiter for what seems like one hundred years. changes that with great advice for job hunters—videos, my books and guides to job hunting, podcasts, articles, PLUS a community for you to ask questions of PLUS the ability to ask me questions where I function as your ally with no conflict of interest answering your questions.

Connect with me on LinkedIn

You can order a copy of “Diagnosing Your Job Search Problems” for Kindle for $.99 and receive free Kindle versions of “No BS Resume Advice” and “Interview Preparation.”