LinkedIn ConnectionsLinkedIn 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.

One Reply to “Who Do You Add To Your LinkedIn Connections?”

  1. I liked your suggests but had a concern about recruiters. 

    Your suggestions focused on growing a professional network online, and using a straightforward criterion with categories of candidate contacts: in-person, frequent on-line contacts, recruiters and interviewers.  The occasion of frequent contacts and confidence-building is easier to understand when involved in some professional collaboration not tied to a job-marketing strategy or a sales strategy. You share work-related knowledge or experience.  In addition to people you know, I can see why you would provide a LinkedIn invite so that these frequent on-line contacts are sure to recall you.

    Your blog seems a little more geared to job-hunting than geared to
    sales, though we often say job-hunting involves selling yourself.  The
    blog seems to regard sales more as a negative, spamming. I’m not sure this can
    be right, since you are a Digital Marketing person.

    As a Digital Marketing person you must have to distinguish yourself from sales activity bordering on a scam or nuisance cold-calling, maybe using neutral forums exchanging social niceties as a means to introduce yourself, or in serious business forums where you might be among those impressing with some volunteered sage advice.  Though superficial, if these prospects for sales “ripen” over time, they may gradually agree to be connected. 

    Your general guideline to prevent “Spammers” seems to be:  “You know
    what you want (you and your contacts) to represent when you solicit
    someone, and so you are fairly selective when you are being solicited.”
    After a little thought, your suggestions seem pretty much common sense,
    and I like that you recommend taking some time to do these “Quick
    Checks” before accepting a connection. 

    Job-hunting purposes also are likely to be rejected by contacts, who don’t want to open floodgates to a barrage of people trying to run a numbers game to sell stuff or find work. There’s a commonsense limit to what one ought to try to achieve, even if LinkedIn makes it easy to build a network. I like the suggestion empowering one to avoid accepting someone’s casual LinkedIn Connection Invite.  Tho I think I’m really only getting started on LinkedIn, proportionately, I probably have already tended to overbuild my network thinking about my reach and exploring how LinkedIn features could be used.

    I tried considering the suggestions for recruiter and interviewer in terms of sales.  In sales, I guess the equivalent of a job recruiter, might be a buyer entertaining bids – possibly to resell; whereas, the equivalent of a job interviewer would be the company directly soliciting your product as a possible solution to some need. 

    Job recruiters are themselves buyers also engaged in sales, competing with a large number of other recruiters and sometimes not truthful about the opportunities they have or the fishy inside angle they may pretend to have. People talk about recruiters throwing up resumes at a company’s job openings.  Engagement with a recruiter can be exhausting.  Though you mention some good reasons to always be open to other opportunities they could provide, you want to check the efforts they put into assessing your qualifications, also the evidence of steady job-hunting on your behalf by recruiter after they tell you that you did not get a job, Then again, by connecting with a recruiter what do you gain by connecting with the recruiter’s network of employer contacts and a diverse job candidates?

    In the case of contacting the job interviewer, you get to feel them out and deliver your pitch for the job.  I agree with the suggestion for waiting for the result of an interview before connecting with employer contacts. Even if things went poorly, there might be a possibility to rectify things, but at a later time. There may still be someone else with the company who is on LinkedIn that you might try to connect with just because they work in your target industry.

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