If it hasn’t happened to you yet, it will soon: the dreaded request for a LinkedIn Recommendation from a former co-worker or employee that you may not want to give one to. Why? Well, every time you make a recommendation, it appears on your LinkedIn profile and becomes part of your LinkedIn Brand. Perhaps you don’t want to be associated in any way with this person. What to do?
As any power LinkedIn user will tell you, a LinkedIn Recommendation, especially coming from a trusted former manager, is a valuable commodity. In recognition of this, instead of ignoring the request, I would recommend you do one of the following:
- Recommend that person for only the positive aspects that they have, not making mention of the negative aspects. I am a believer that every person has a good side to them. Why not help them out as much as you can while remaining honest and true to your ethic? This is, of course, assuming that this person indeed have some good skills that you would recommend.
- If for whatever reason you don’t feel comfortable recommending them, reply privately telling them about your policy on LinkedIn Recommendations. Make it clear to them, and if you have feedback for them, this is an appropriate time to give it to them. If they were not good at what they did and you refuse to give them a LinkedIn Recommendation, chances are others have responded the same. But it is a true mentor and friend who can be honest and give them some constructive criticism instead of ignoring them. Become a positive force in the world.
LinkedIn Recommendations (NOT the same as LinkedIn Endorsements, of course) have the potential to separate the “fake” from the real people on LinkedIn, so I am sure even a one sentence recommendation would be highly appreciated by the individual. And just as with Windmill Networking, you are doing this individual a great favor by recommending them, a favor which they may pay you back someday when you may be in need of their help for whatever reason.
I personally have never had the issue of having to give a LinkedIn Recommendation to someone I did not want to, except in the case of people that I am connected to being a LinkedIn Open Networker who request a recommendation even though we’ve never met! This is a no brainer: just because we are LinkedIn connections doesn’t mean I am going to recommend you! My virtual network does not equal my physical network.
At the end of the day, the choice is obviously yours. I am only presenting one opinion of many. If you were in the above situation, what would you do?