Can You Recommend Me on LinkedIn?

Have you ever received a request to recommend someone on LinkedIn? If you’re on LinkedIn, I’m guessing the answer is yes. I have seen marketing and HR blogs lamenting the fact that some people ask for recommendations from people they don’t even know. While that is rude, what about the requests from people you do know? How do you respond?

Before you recommend someone, you need to consider a couple of issues. First, does your company allow you to write letters of recommendation. Some companies prohibit this practice and some have properly included LinkedIn and similar sites within the prohibition. Even if it is not expressly prohibited, a LinkedIn recommendation is not significantly different that an old fashioned letter – if a Company does not want letters issued, it is fair to assume that the same applies to online recommendations.

More importantly, ask yourself if you can actually recommend the requesting party in good faith. Believe it or not, I have handled multiple cases where a former employee threatening litigation comes armed with a LinkedIn recommendation from his or her former supervisor; the same supervisor who was involved in the decision to terminate. When confronted, the supervisor sheepishly explains that he or she was just trying to help out a former colleague and never imagined that it would be used against the company. Remember the first rule of employment law – no good deed goes unpunished. Think twice before giving anyone a recommendation as it may be used in unanticipated ways in the future. Employers, consider whether you want managers to give recommendations and under what circumstances. If you elect to prohibit the practice, draft the prohibition to cover all forms of recommendations, including those given on social media sites.

If you found this helpful, please recommend me on LinkedIn (kidding).



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