Hi Jimmy- I was wondering if you can help me out as I feel pressured to leave an endorsement/recommendation for a sales rep, I really didn't have a lot of experience working with. I am a sales manager in another region, and have talked to the rep at every meeting, but never really worked with her. She recently got laid off and I feel bad for her, but uncomfortable with giving her my recommendation. Can you give me some advice on how I can politely decline the Linkedin endorsement request? Thank You. S.D.
My Stab at this Question
S.D., Thank you for sending in your question as I am sure many of us have encountered that same situation or something similar. More and more sales professionals understand the power of the Linkedin endorsements and I have even seen some job postings that require at least 3 recommendations for a job inquiry as a prerequisite.
Being a sales manager, your endorsement validates to others viewing her profile that she has recommendations from sales management, which I would also feel uncomfortable writing an endorsement. I also understand how bad you must feel for the person losing their sales job, but you have to truly look at what value you can provide her with your endorsement. You also devalue your endorsements if the person turns out to be an unfavorable sales rep.
You should treat your endorsements seriously and to protect the value of your endorsements. Many people simply ignore the request and never get to it. But that leaves things with no closure and if the person is "connected" in your network, and possibly might work with you, then it could be a cause of an uncomfortable situation.
You can politely decline the request and also help the person learn effective social networking as well by sending a decline letter to the person. You have a right to decline, and it is best to communicate with the person. This is why it is very important to only connect with those you truly work with and can vouch for their quality of work. Many people blindly just "connect" because they are in the same company, be selective with your Linkedin connection requests and you will reduce the awkward requests such as these.
I would suggest writing a letter with something in the lines of the following:
I have received your request for an endorsement from me and I thank you for thinking of me to provide this for you. As you know, recommendations should be provided by someone with the qualifications and first-hand knowledge of your skills and accomplishments. Having only limited professional interactions with you makes me feel that I am not in a position to give you a valid recommendation based upon our limited interactions which were mainly casual.
If I have worked with you more or have seen you first hand professionally, I might be in a better position to provide you with a recommendation with facts and content to back up my recommendations and I would be happy to do so. I am sure there are many other professionals that have had this first hand experience with you and would have much more content to provide you with a valuable recommendation and I am sure would be willing to provide you with a recommendation since they would be in a position to speak from experience.
I wish you the best.
The response might not be as polite as you think, but in reality it is the truth. That person put you in an awkward position and you did the best thing for her as well as yourself by being honest and taking the time to provide a response. You cannot control the way the other person will take something like this, but also avoiding it leaves too much for false/negative interpretation. Be open and honest without being harsh or mean. Put yourself in that person's shoes and understand that they are looking for ways to make their profile stand out and attractive to other hiring sales managers, but in reality the best recommendations come from those who are willing and qualified to do so.