It didn’t surprise me when S asked me to write a testimonial. A testimonial can hold significant value for professionals and businesses. Testimonials provide social proof of skills, expertise, and the quality of work (credibility). Positive testimonials contribute to building a strong professional reputation and can help someone stand out from the crowd. They foster trust among connections, and it is good for networking, recruiting and hiring.

I was happy to help S with a testimonial because I had the privilege of working with them and I greatly appreciated their invaluable contributions to the conversations we had. So, I was delighted to have them participate in our meetings, as they consistently posed insightful questions and engaged in conversations with a friendly, respectful, and inclusive demeanor.

This last sentence could already be a testimonial, but my story continuous, so please hang on…and read further :>)

Since I lead a busy life and need to optimize my time, I requested S to send me a draft. I had all the confidence that S knew which skills they wanted to emphasize or showcase.

In S’s first draft testimonial, I missed a competency that I had noticed and highly valued, that being the skills of “result orientedness”. So, I requested a rewrite with that particular competency in mind. (Read here about the difference between skills and  competencies) 

Then ChatGTP came in

I was very surprised when S presented another draft within minutes, which was significantly different from the previous one.

This led me to wonder if S was using ChatGPT to assist in drafting the testimonial. When I asked, they confirmed that they were indeed using ChatGPT, to help in the process of drafting a testimonial.

ChatGPT is an AI language model, capable of generating text, based on given prompts, and can assist with various writing tasks. So, S’s ability to quickly produce a revised draft was heavily influenced by using ChatGPT’s assistance.


This new situation raised some new questions for my personal reflection:

To illustrate certain skills, they did not (yet) refer to the context or our working-relationship in the testimonial.

So, how accurate and ethical could that testimonial be, and to what extent did this draft, generated with ChatGTP, align with both of our intentions? It struck me as peculiar that the words written by S were apparently not their original ones. How authentic was that testimonial, truly?

The situation prompted me to contemplate in general how to effectively provide testimonials upon request. I felt that the utilization of AI-generated content has the potential to compromise the credibility of testimonials, thus tarnish one’s professional reputation. But I also come to realize again that a testimonial lacking to mention the context and the working relationship to illustrate a particular skill held no significant value.

Tip: Provide guidelines 

Personally, I am not big on collecting testimonials and I prefer to mention some of them on my website. This is a personal decision, and there is no right or wrong approach.

When it comes to my own practice for asking for testimonials, I developed guidelines for requesting personalized testimonials from my clients. I will reach out to the client individually and ask them some questions, expressing my appreciation for their opinion and support. My focus is on genuine feedback and respecting experiences that we both have witnessed from our collaboration. From there I draft a testimonial, that usually is no longer than just one line and I present this to my client. When we both agree, I publish it on my website or on LinkedIn.


Altogether, I learned from this incident that relying on AI-generated content can undermine the credibility of a testimonial and harm the professional reputation.

I believe that authenticity and face validity are key for testimonials.

I do recommend ChatGTP when you are looking for a supporting AI language model to enhance your productivity or creative process. It can be very helpful in writing testimonials as illustrated in this blog or writing a reflection report (see also my previous blog about using ChatGTP for reflection reports.

But I suggest you never rely on ChatGTP. It is the human observation, appreciation of authenticity and face validity that add the real value to your testimonial.

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