How to Politely Decline a LinkedIn Recommendation Request

Having a robust LinkedIn Profile which portrays you and your credentials in the most favorable light is a must-have in today’s competitive business world.  Having a robust LinkedIn Profile which includes Recommendations from clients, co-workers, managers, former co-workers and employees, etc. differentiates you from others in your profession.

As more and more people are realizing the power of LinkedIn, people are learning that they can and should be asking for endorsements to add to their Profiles.  The key thing to remember is that it is not appropriate to ask for a Recommendation from a person who is not in a position to recommend you.  Most people don’t fully understand how to use LinkedIn most effectively and they are sending out a blanket Recommendation Request message to all their 1st Degree Connections.

When you are not in a position to recommend someone who has sent you a Recommendation Request give them the benefit of the doubt.  Perhaps they did so by mistake and didn’t realize that their request was going out to all their Connections.  Here’s how I respond to Recommendation Requests from people whom I am in no position to recommend:

Hi Scott,

Recommendations are tricky things.  Obviously, you never want to ask for a recommendation from someone who is not in a position to recommend you in a professional capacity.  It’s awkward.

Never having done business with you, it would be difficult for me to write a recommendation for you at this time.  If I use your services and I am in a position to endorse you and your business, I’ll be happy to do so.

Knowing that you are a professional, I’m sure that there are many people that you have conducted business with that would be happy to write a personal recommendation for you since they would be in a position to speak from experience.

To your success,


Seeking first to understand where someone is coming from before shutting them down with a sharp reply or rebuke may serve you well.  I have built stronger relationships with people by sending them this message.  It’s better to think the best of people and be proven wrong than think the worst of people and be proven right.  Helping people network more effectively serves everyone.

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