We all get lots of LinkedIn invites to join peoples' networks. Friends, family, total strangers, it's a lot to process. How do you decide whether to accept invites? It's not an easy question to answer, and I don't think there's any universal answers. Everybody on LinkedIn has an agenda - to get a job, to fill a job, to sell snake oil, what have you.
Here's my thoughts on whether it's useful to accept those LinkedIn invites to connect.
ACCEPT ALL THOSE LINKEDIN INVITES IF:
- You're looking for a job and you want to be found. People are connected to people who are connected to you. And not all recruiters have a premium subscription, so they have to find you the old fashioned way - hunting for you.
- You're a recruiter. You need to build your network as large as you can. See last bullet point. The more people you have in your network, the more potential candidates will seek you out. In addition, if you have a staffing firm, it can't hurt your rep. See next bullet point.
- You're selling something. I mean this in the larger sense, not necessarily in the sense of selling widgets. Are you a business consultant? Are you a marketing a product? Selling insurance? Are you a Venture Capitalist looking to build your reputation? This will enable you to increase your visibility and simultaneously access more potential leads.
- You're buying something. For example, an Accounting Controller might be looking to start an RFP for an ERP. Or you're a Corporate Recruiter who needs candidates from staffing firms. If you'd like to make it easier for vendors to find you, this helps. But you will need to figure out a strategy to deal with the contacts you don't want.
SELECTIVELY ACCEPT INVITES IF:
- You're a passive job candidate. Meaning, you're not actively looking for a job, but you wouldn't mind being found. Recruiters will try to connect with you to build their pipeline network, but there's a decent chance they have a premium subscription that will enable them to find you even if they don't have you as a connection. But make sure your LinkedIn profile looks like your resume, so that they can search you by keyword.
- It's useful for your profession. Let's say you're in Public Relations with a focus on technology, and you need access to technology journalists. It can't hurt to build a network with these folks, especially if they reach out to you. On the flip side, if you're a technology journalist, being connected to tech PR professionals will enable them to reach you to pitch stories.
- You know the people and want to be connected. It's within your rights to keep your network small and limited to people you know.
- If you want the connections and it's generally helpful. If you've never been to Lagos, and Nigerian bankers are trying to connect, what value can you get from this? They probably aren't connected to folks you'd want to to find anyway.
DECLINE ALL INVITES IF:
- You don't care about finding a job.
- You hate people. I'm not sure why you have a LinkedIn account in this instance, but what the hell. Rock on.
Scott Singer is the President and Founder of Insider Career Strategies Resume Writing & Career Coaching, a firm dedicated to guiding job seekers and companies through the job search and hiring process. He is a Human Resources professional and staffing expert with almost two decades of in-house corporate HR and staffing firm experience, and is a Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW) and Certified Professional Career Coach (CPCC).
Insider Career Strategies provides resume writing, LinkedIn profile development, and career coaching services, including a free resume review. You can email Scott Singer at firstname.lastname@example.org, or via the website, www.insidercs.com.