Think for a moment about the candidate selection process for a job opening in a company. Traditionally, a company advertises, receives applications, creates a short-list to interview, interviews, checks out references, makes an offer to their leading candidate and then hires. Notice how late into the process they get around to checking out references. References are the testimonies that back up what the candidate says they can do. The thinking is that if you performed well for another employer, were a person of integrity, got results etc. for someone else, you should be able to bring those same things here to this employer.
So then, as an employer, wouldn’t it be a tremendous advantage if you could get some independent, third party recommendation on a candidates value early on in the process? That would be advantageous. Not only would this be great for an employer doing some hiring, but if that employer enlisted the services of a Recruiter, the Recruiter in turn would be thrilled to read what people are saying about someone if the Recruiter was thinking of plucking someone out of their job at company A and offering them the chance to work for company B.
Of course not everyone on LinkedIn is job searching. It’s a professional networking site too, where content employees and entrepreneurs mix and mingle equally well with the unemployed, Recruiters, Headhunters, and the like.
What I have found during my own time on LinkedIn, is just as in the traditional networking experience off-line as it were, there are people who are in need and people who provide. Some do both, exchanging help in return for help, some wanting financial compensation for their expertise, others content to give it all away for free. It’s the real world only an ‘E’ version of it!
Now personally, I know that I’ve been asked from time to time to lend a critical eye to a profile here and there, or help re-brand someone via their resume I’ve been sent. With much appreciation for their trust, I’ve thrown myself into the work with enthusiasm, striving to do two immediate things in the process; provide an independent perspective that is meant to advance a person toward their goal and do it in a timely manner. Well that’s nice. I’ll admit that it is gratifying when the person takes the time to actually send a brief note of thanks for the investment of time and energy to give them some valuable feedback. What they actually do with it is their call entirely.
What would be nice in my opinion, is if the person then said, “Anything I can do for you?” This is the question that someone with advanced networking skills asks. Sure a note of thanks is excellent on its own, but networking is about building and nurturing relationships on a two-way or more level. Maybe as a receiver of help, the person is under the impression they have nothing of value to offer in return. Far from it my friend.
One option is to visit the page of the person providing the help in this scenario, and writing them a recommendation. Visit any other persons LinkedIn profile and near the bottom usually, you’ll see a section for Recommendations and you’ll be prompted, “Do you want to recommend so-and-so?”. If you do, you click on a few fields that indicate in what role you know the person and how you know them via the job they hold or held when you are making your recommendation. Then you get to pen or key your thoughts.
Now what happens at the other end when you are done, is that the receiver gets an email notifying them that you have recommended them. They then approve of the recommendation or not, and if so, it shows up on their profile. The advantage of this is that now others networking can see what people are saying about their experiences in dealing with the person. If you had several recommendations on your profile from your colleagues and those for whom you have provided a service, that could be very useful.
So let’s say, I personally am not looking for a new job. Why get recommendations? Well if I was receptive to helping out others and I had testimonials saying I was effective and helpful, it might then catch the eye of others who were seeking similar help. That does many things. First it gets more traffic, more inquiries, legitimizes what I’ve said in my profile, and dang it all just makes me feel swell.
Seriously though, recommendations also could help an Entrepreneur grow their business, attract a Recruiter to contact you and offer you the chance at a better job, and those employers out there DO check profiles. So they do get to read references and recommendations – sometimes before you’ve even been called to come in for an interview.
Do I Kelly Mitchell want recommendations? Of course I do! I’d be lying if I said I didn’t. I like my skills and expertise validated as much as the next person! However the best recommendations are sincere, unprompted by appeal, and given when truly warranted.
So the next time someone does something for you professionally, consider paying them back with a recommendation on LinkedIn. It’s quick, it’s free, and it will be appreciated.