ReferencesI’m often asked if there is a special approach of recommendations and skills endorsements on Linkedin and how these may differ from the references you need to prepare when taking part in a selection process.

What happens on Linkedin should stay on Linkedin. The recommendations that are visible online should be clearly different from the references used for recruitment processes.
When I have been asked to take references on a candidate, my clients were expecting me to get some fresh material, maybe not some revelations, but for sure not something they could have read themselves by clicking on your profile.

Yes, you have to propose references to your recruiters, which have been specifically meant for this ongoing recruitment.

If your career has lasted more than 2 or 3 positions, you should be able to come up with a dozen names of individuals who could act as your references.
Let’s review the possibilities.

The Management Line: your +1 and your +2 in all your past positions could testify about a job well done, or at least comment the way you have done it. Alternatively there might be one or two persons who can tell what type of boss you are, because they (used to) work in your team.

The Projects: you may have lead some project(s), or you could have been part of a project team and your behavior in a cross-department functional team is also very important to discover for your future company.

The Clients: in the business world we are all part of a value chain. You receive the work done by somebody else, add your value and pass it onward. It is not difficult to identify for each of your job who was your client and, as a reference, they are the best placed to say whether your job was good or sucked. Sometimes clients are outside your firm, but they are most often colleagues.

The Suppliers: For some positions (quality, purchase, supply chain, HR, IT…) it can also be interesting to interview some of your providers to know whether or not you are clear in your specifications, if you negotiate well, etc.

So please think about which of them are the most relevant to the recruitment context (job, objectives, company culture…). Once chosen, call them, not to tell them what to say (!) but to explain them what the job is about so they can prepare, if they agree to be called as references. Don’t hesitate to share why you are greatly interested in this job. Remember a little affect and emotions never hurt.

On Linkedin the information should obviously be more generic. I suggest you get 3 persons to write a few lines about how it had been to work with you. Of course they should have liked it, in order for their testimony to be useful. My preference goes to:
a former boss who really worked with you on some specific goals,
a collaborator you have trained in his/her job
and a satisfied client.
The combination of their statements over the last 2 or 3 jobs gives in my experience the greatest positive aura.

As far as skills endorsements are made, I would not mind these much. Everybody can recommend everything… so the value of such is pretty limited. Just remember we usually see the first ten on your profile and, by default, are the ones the most voted for. You can manage them manually, so keep in mind to do it from time to time, in order to show the ones you care for.

Hope this helps.

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