LinkedIn is your virtual representation of your professional life. It is also the best solution for networking online professionally. I often get asked who do I personally add as a connection either by accepting connection invites or sending invites to others. Lets start with the easy one.
Who do I invite as LinkedIn connections?
The first group of people are individuals that I have met in person. My friends, family, school mates and work colleagues. This also includes people I interact with through work such as partners, clients or vendors. We now have a real connection so I want to extend that link virtually. I will send an invite to connect on LinkedIn as soon as possible after meeting that individual so it is easier for that person to recollect who I am.
The second batch of connections I may not have met in person however there still is a connection. I am a Digital Marketing guy with many years of experience in SEO, SEM, Community and Social Media. We creatures tend to interact heavily with our “colleagues” in the digital space. I have chatted, posted, read and tweeted with many people in the Digital Marketing space that I consider as my colleagues yet we have never met face to face. This does not mean I have mentioned someone in a tweet once and then rush to add them as a LinkedIn connection. I first establish a relationship with numerous interactions on a forum or Twitter or on their blog. You will know when the relationship is ripe enough to take it to the next level; a LinkedIn connection invite.
Whose invites do I accept as LinkedIn connections?
This one requires some due diligence on your part. Every social networking site has some issues with SPAMMERS. I really do not want to add a connection on LinkedIn so I can get SPAMMED with ways to increase my manhood or how to find really cheap medication. When I get an invite from someone I do not recognize I visit their profile page and look at the following:
- Number of connections
- My relationship to any of their connections
- Whether they have a complete profile page
- Their LinkedIn posting activity
- Obvious telltale signs the profile is a SPAM profile
If they fail that quick review then I do not accept their invite to connect.
The bonus round – job recruiters
I certainly accept any invite from a job recruiter. Job recruiters are great contacts especially the ones seeking you out. They think you provide some value and that value might fit one of their opportunities. If I have not connected with a recruiter before an interview process I will send an invite only if I believe the interview went well or after we have had a positive interview post mortem. If the opportunity simply is not a fit for either party then I will send an invite because circumstances may change down the road. If the opportunity does not meet your compensation expectations I will send an invite because their budget may increase later or maybe a higher level position will open up that meets your needs.
If you bombed the interview, or offended the recruiter then do not send an invite to connect.
The mother of bonus rounds – interviewers
A friend asked if they should invite the people that were on their interview loop. My response usually is if you land the job then yes invite them. If they passed on you they might feel uncomfortable adding you or they might really not like you so why put them in that position? If you really made a connection with someone on your loop and you have some tie such as graduating from the same university or you both really dig snowboarding and discussed that at length then maybe it makes sense to connect with that person. My preference is not to send to those on your interview loop until you hear good news.
Like I said this is my approach and I do not claim that it is the be all end all of approaches. My way my impact yours and if you think I am missing out or limiting my connection possibilities please let me know in the comments.