Ought one accept a LinkedIn invitation from a former direct that isn't trustworthy?

I read an article suggesting  "yes" so that you know who to avoid. The article went on to explain that the people associating with the one you distrust are to be avoided.

It seems more reasonable to not link with folks I do not trust. 

MattJBeckwith's picture
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 I choose to build my professional network (note: LinkedIn does not a network make) indiscriminately.  A connection on LinkedIn isn't a seal of trust and LinkedIn is merely a tool to help organize professional contacts.  Not trusting someone doesn't necessarily mean you will never have to work with (or for) them again.

RichRuh's picture
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That article doesn't make any sense to me.  You should link with them so "that the people associating with the one you distrust are to be avoided."  So if other people followed that advice wouldn't they avoid... you?

Personally, I would not link to someone on LinkedIn that I didn't trust and didn't like.  But I like a lot of people and have a large network, so I can afford to leave the bad apples alone.

Dave is absolutely right that you shouldn't confuse "having a network" with "having a bunch of contacts on LinkedIn."




Anandha's picture
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No harm in having a way to contact them - you never know.  You can always choose not to hire them or work with them again..



smgraham2's picture

BLUF:  My take here is that you accept the contact and do nothing with it.   


If you take the invitiation, you you will have his information if you need it in the future however unlikely that is.   If you want to keep your distance, you can very easily.     It may provide you some value if he is connected with someone you would like to be connect with.

If you say no, it leaves him with the image that you rejected him and a bitter taste in his mouth without really having any upside to you.    If you are in the same industry it could put you in a precarious position if s/he is bad-mouthing you because s/he is offended.


A recommendation is a different story

ChrisBakerPM's picture

LinkedIn very clearly say that you should only link with people you know and trust - so if you respect this house rule clearly you won't link with your former direct. I get the picture that I'm quite unusual in respecting this rule - a lot of people seem to link up very promiscuously, perhaps because of the idea that you then have that person's contact details just in case.

jhbchina's picture

It goes both ways. I am still linked with my former managers, so that I can watch their company continue to stumble. It also allows me to see what new things they are scheming on.

In general, I never accept links from people I don't know, and I try to talk first with those that I find I have a common ground with. Such as MT'ers.



davidleeheyman's picture
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I don't accept new links with people I know and don't trust and wouldn't recommend. But if someone is already a link I am unlikely to break that link as I'd rather be able to keep an eye on what they are up to these days as mentioned above.

jhbchina's picture

This is not related to the specific question about Linking to former managers, though it does point out the risk of accepting invites from strangers.

There is a thread going around on LinkedIN about one of the group owners that shows how bad some characters are.

The title of the thread is  Who else receives interminable spam from the owner of this group?

The group is China Networking Group. Turns out the guy spams people all the time asking them to join his network on Linked, Ecadamy, Xing, Video, and many others.  I myself have asked him to stop and he does not.

Recently he was exposed in a newspaper article for buying TWO phony post graduate degrees. So watch out for who you link to if you REALLY don't know them.



rgbiv99's picture

I link to anyone and everyone on LinkedIn. I think LinkedIn is the most impersonal of all the social networking sites and if someone refuses to connect via LinkedIn then it says tons about their relationship (read: it's bad).

What is the harm of linking to a former direct? Everything is out there for public consumption anyway. I have refused friend requests from coworkers who I don't trust on Facebook because there are photos and lots of personal information.

Sidebar: I recently learned that you can see who has looked at your profile on LinkedIn. On the right-hand side it says, "Your profile has been viewed X times in the last X days." If you click on that link, it shows you a list of titles of people who have viewed your profile. Based on that list, it's not hard to tell if your boss is one of them.


ken_wills's picture follow YOUR instincts.

You're getting good advice on both sides of this issue.

In my case, I used to accept links pretty easily (as long as they were people I knew).  After three years or so on LinkedIn, I now find myself "pruning" my connections - taking people OUT because they've really done nothing to stay in touch with me in the ensuing time.

I give you that example not because I think you should do the same - but because it's a behavioral application of the philosophy that it's MY little collection of connections, and I'll do with it whatever I want.

My advice: if you don't want certain people in your LinkedIn collection, then ignore their invitations.


PS - I have one additional quirk:  when they do nothing to personalize the stock invitation ("...because you're someone I trust."), that's a strike against them.

Jazzman's picture
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Wow...I want a link to the article so I know what authors/publications to avoid! 

Okay, maybe a little to harsh, yet it seems that the author is giving too much credit to how LinkedIn associations reflect on people.

I have no idea how "bad" this person is.  There's only one person in my career I think could ever fall into the category that I wouldn't ever want to associate with or accept a "LinkedIn" invite...and I don't know if he has access to LinkedIn from jail.

Bottom line, if you think there's any potential value in the association then accept, if not then decline!