Sunday, May 16, 2010

LinkedIn Recommendations Negatively Corelate to Performance?

I always wondered how true LinkedIn recommendations really are, it is a given that there is strong positive bias in them, after all you ask for those recommendations presumably from people that liked what you did. Still I was curious to see whether it has a correlation with performance, now, rather unscientifically, I am arriving at the conclusion that it does. but negatively !!   

I interview a lot of people, due to the nature of my job I also know and work with a lot of people. These people range from junior engineers to mid-level manager and to senior executives and from smart, talented and competent to not very effective and some times down right "wrongly casted". For all my interviews and recently for people I worked with that, in my view fall into extremes of performance I looked them up in LinkedIn. The outcome was surprising: The competent people almost never had any recommendations and half the time not even a complete profile. On the other hand, the people on the less competent side of the spectrum often had glowing references from half dozen folks. Why is it? I can not be sure, but here is my guess:

The less competent people know where they fit in the performance curve, they anticipate needing to look for a job sooner than later so they make sure their affairs are in order. They ask for references more frequently and are likely to get it since, first, people are or would like to be nice and helpful, second, they expect reciprocity.
On the other hand, more competent folks either do not expect a job hunt and if they need one often get it thru their own network (either follow their bosses or other colleagues who do whatever they can to get them to join them in their new gig).

To be clear, I do not hold anyone's LinkedIn recommendations against them, I am just stating an observation over the past 18-24 months.


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