A quick note on selecting "I don't know this person" on Linked in. When you do this, if the inviter receives 3 or so "I don't know this person" clicks, they are suspended or banned. 

Even if he invittee then contacts LI and says I was mistaken, I do know the person, LI doesn't care.  They will still boot the inviter.  Be careful with your clicks. They won't reverse them.

ken_wills's picture

When it's somebody I don't care to connect with,  I just archive them without responding.


The ONLY surefire way to connect with me is to customize the request...I tend to think that if somebody isn't going to take the time in her request to greet and/or connect to me specifically, it's not so great a request.  Sure, I accept them a lot of the time.  But I'm a sucker for the personalized request!


PS - don't even try to test me..."Ken Wills" is a pseudonym I use just for M-T!

rwwh's picture
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As far as I understand, LinkedIn will not ban anyone based on "I do not know this person". The only thing that will happen is that you will be asked to supply a current E-mail address with all future link requests.

From LinkedIn (click on "Why" next to "Only invite people you know" to see this text):

LinkedIn lets you invite colleagues, classmates, friends and business partners without entering their email addresses.

However, recipients can indicate that they don’t know you. If they do, you’ll be asked to enter an email address with each future invitation.

terrih's picture

I keep getting invites from people in other divisions of my company who I've never met--they never come through this office. Why would they expect me to link with them? Just because we happen to receive paychecks with the same logo on them?

In one case, I actually clicked "I don't know this person," and I still get emails from LinkedIn reminding me of the invitation. arrgh

Len's picture

I teach a graduate level course in Knowledge Management, in which we spend some time discussing social networking and whether or not it has a business application.  Last Friday, I mentioned to the class the Manager-Tools podcast in which Mark and Mike discussed LinkedIn, pointing out that Accenture plans to do some heavy recruiting in 2010, using social networking sites.  Today, one of my students sent me the following e-mail (names removed):

You were on to something when you mentioned Accenture is using LinkedIn to recruit new employees... Clearly they weren't kidding.
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Xxxx Xxxx (Linkedin Requests) <[email protected]>
Date: Mon, Apr 19, 2010 at 6:29 PM
Subject: Accenture Career Opportunity
To: Maureen Xxxx 



From: Xxxx Xxxx

Date: 4/19/2010

Subject: Accenture Career Opportunity

Hi Maureen,

My name is Xxxx and I work with the talent acquisition team here at Accenture. While sourcing candidates for several of our Human Capital opportunities in YYY Town, your profile piqued my interest.

If you would be interested in speaking with me about our available opportunities, please feel free to respond directly via InMail, or email me at [email protected]. We have several opportunities within our Human Capital/Knowledge Management team at varying levels. I'd be happy to provide you with more detail at your convenience. Happy where you are? I understand, and would be interested in connecting solely to network.

Best Regards,

Xxxx Xxxx
Accenture US Recruitment - Sourcing Advisor

It's predicted...

pmoriarty's picture
Training Badge

If you don't want to click  "I don't know this person", you can simply archive the message without acting upon it.  No negative to the sender and you never get bothered again. 

ericrasch's picture

I think I finally found the full article that was mentioned on the show (about Accenture using LinkedIn to recruit):

timrutter's picture

My first three weeks on Linkedin have produced some interesting trends in people that you do not actually know in the real world.:

Firstly, people using it like Facebook and trying to acquire numbers on their contacts list. Ho Hum!.

The next group are genuinely interested in what you have to say and would like to discus ideas that one has thrown up on discussion boards (I like these people, they help me learn things and are good conversation)

Lastly, the sales stalkers. These ones I really object to! They see your company, see your job and start hitting you for business intelligence, contact names, dollar figure budgets etc. The problem with this approach is that if you are senior enough to have this information, you should be bright enough to not give it out, if you aren't senior enough, then you don't have what they want. All seems a little of a waste of time really

Otherwise, it's been an immensely positive experience so far, even though Australia hasn't quite caught on to Linkedin like Western Europe and the USA, it'll get there over the next year or so



dougp01's picture

I frequently receive invitations from people I don't know. 

  • If it's a recruiter I simply archive.  If the recruiter is persistent enough to call the front desk at my company and get forwarded to my desk phone, I simply explain I have a personal policy to not link to recruiters.  I'll also explain, "When I have a job posting, I will announce it on the LinkedIn Groups."
  • If it's a fellow employee, I look at where they are within the company and then decide.  Unless they are friends, I am hesitant to link up to someone who is several levels away from me, either vertically or horizontally.  
  • If the person is a past employee I have worked with, I almost always link up because I see this as an opportunity for them to expand their network for employment opportunities. 

The most interesting invitation so far is one from the owner of the in-house cafe who no longer has a contract with the company.  I was invited, even though I am a brown-bagger and never spent a dime at the cafe.  The person simply does not know me.   The interesting part is seeing the people from my company actually did link up with him.  Some names made sense and friendships are understandable, but others are clearly interested in the numbers, facebook style.


romstar1066's picture


I understand and respect your position but ask you please consider this argument:

Large Companies Between (10,000 - 400,000) are siloed. While they have systems to interconnect their employees; som are far better than others. However good they are those systems effect how well you or others leverage your extended capabilities.

In my experience, it has made the difference between success or failure and has given me options to solve critical issues that were previous a roadblock.

Also, as we continue to grow in our careers and have greater responsisibilties within our organization; it is good policy to build stronger realtionship or at least expand our newtwork.

Social Media is a major factor these days in connecting us all to leverage knowledge, obtain intel on competition or industry trends, finding resources with capabilites you may not have been aware of... bottom line - it is powerful!

Also, We have Facebook for your friends; while, Linkedin can used soley for business relations which may or may not be personal but can be a great advantge for the reasons listed above.

Food for thought!



dbsabzb's picture
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Unless LinkedIn has changed their TOS in the past year, I don't think they will suspend or ban you for this.

This actually happened to me last year.  2 of the "I don't knows" were colleagues from years ago, and one was a guy on my tennis team (he swears to this day that he clicked "accept' but I still rib him about it).

LinkedIn just made me review their TOS and acknowledge that I understood.  They indicated that if it happened again I would have to start supplying an e-mail address with every request.

Since then, I've made sure to include a personal note with every invite to help jog the person's memory.



JohnG's picture

I will tend to accept LinkedIn invites from anyone at the same company, and will often invite people I've barely spoken to within the same company. My belief is that I benefit from the link. I am able to see a summary of their career, sometimes areas of interest etc; they are able to do the same. Multiple times I have been able to build a good work relationship in a couple of minutes in a corridor or prior to a meeting based on LinkedIn information. I found out about my current role because of an internal relationship that LinkedIn helped strengthen.

Obviously you're welcome to use LinkedIn however you please, and I wouldn't care to suggest that there is one 'right' way. I can however imagine Mark asking "Are you doing what you want or what's effective?"

Mark's picture
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kcherico's picture
Training Badge

I'm in agreement with ROMSTAR1066. I've heard colleagues mention that they don't accept LinkedIn invitations from people they don't know. I accept invitations from anyone in my field, whether I know them or not: recruiters, colleagues at my own company, people working for other companies in the same field, etc. A broad network in my profession can only be beneficial to me. On the other hand, I use Facebook only for social contacts. I don't connect on Facebook with any colleagues at my own company. They don't necessarily need to know that I bought I new car or saw a great concert.

mrs_s's picture

This is an old thread, but I have a new twist.  Is there anything that you can do if people continue to list your company as their current place of employment?  Some upper level executives were let go many months ago, and we're still listed as their current employer.  We get just enough calls  or e-mails for them for it to be annoying.  Maybe a couple a week.  This is all based on their current job/company on LinkedIn.

I also feel badly because I'm not sure when or if I should give new contact information.  On the one hand, I don't want them to miss out on a connection.  On the other hand, whenever I get a call or an e-mail, I feel like it's invading their privacy to give out a new e-mail.  

I assume they haven't changed their status because they have not found a job.  But you'd think that the contact info would change!

I am fairly sure that they're not not just AWOL from Linked In because I see them accepting invitations and posting status updates.

At one point, I would take the info from the caller and send it on to the former employee via their personal e-mail.  But I'm not their personal secretary and it's been over six months.  Because I sent info on in the early days, they are aware of the problem.






altadel's picture
Licensee Badge

Calls: "I'm sorry, but Mr/Ms X no longer works for the firm."

Email: Presumably they've lost access to the corporate email system when they left or were let go. The sender should be getting a bounce message, stating that there's no longer an account at that address.

If it has been six months, and they've left their LinkedIn data the same, they are not using it effectively, and one way to look at the situation is they are "riding coattails" of their previous position with your firm. Adult behaviour on their part should be that they would update their status on LinkedIn; you state that they'd been reminded early on. My answer would be different for the first month or two, but if the calls and email messages are all due to LinkedIn data, the former employee is now misrepresenting their current status and queries should be responded to neutrally and factually as in my first line above.

Scott Delinger

DiSC: 5137

dougp01's picture

I just entered a new season in life, mainly by getting caught in a RIF.  Three months R&R after 24 years of putting out the latest fire was kind of nice.  It took that long to simply decompress after being in a workplace of 100% Type A+++ personalities.

My view on recruiters has changed somewhat.  If I receive an invitation to connect, I look over their LinkedIn page.  If they look like a freshly minted recruiter, trying to build a network for the first time, I ignore the invitation.  If they are an experienced recruiter and focused on my field, I may exchange an email or two (through LinkedIn only) and possibly link up.  If they are what I call a "corporate recruiter", one who works as an in-house recruiter at a company I am interested in checking out, I will link up with them.




AmyKushner's picture

 I always looked at is as the place people "played" when they were looking FOR work ( not as a recruiter)...and kept a LOW profile.  I didn't have many invites nor accepted..I was working, and I KNOW our marketing director was actively watching the page ( and it was politically incorrect to not be LinkedIn where I was working---and of course I have "un" connected from them all since)

Have been somewhat active there the past two weeks as I have been playing the "LinkedIn looking for a Career path" interesting playground to say the least, in my industry.

I made some posts on a topic I am extremely well versed in and have been approached twice in the last week to come on board in a "consult" position, which I may do for some revenue flow- I still would like a 401K, and its not a permanent thing...or maybe it is?  I am so well versed in start ups in my Industry, that I didn't know it...see what being on a plane and dragging my cookies all over the country for five years can do for me! (and we all thought it was for the frequent flyer and hotel points)    I am quite pleased with that.  I will continue to accept peeps from my Industry or trade if they re remotely connected - we get what we give and we give what we get.  and like someone else noted..I just archive or don't answer to the ones that I don't want to connect.   Its a BIG playground, and I like to play nice.

Next is to tackle Twitter.  My 16 year old saw one of my "tweets" and told me I hash tagged wrong.

AmyKushner's picture

 Have to add:

Saw a GREAT opportunity on LinkedIn in my industry, asked  the CEO to "connect"- she did ( prior to getting my resume), emailed and snail mailed my resume- followed up on LinkedIn AND email- ...was invited to "phone interview"- just 10 mins ago ( and used everything from the cast on phone interviews except the corded phone- got rid of it when I had a years worth of paying a bill and only used the line 4 times in (1) year (bad economics), and will be meeting the CEO and President informally next Fr eve at aTrade show, and "INVITED" to chat with her the Saturday morning  for 30 mins or so ( its a trade show)- I offered to meet her at the Corporate HQ as well, but...this is better than nothing.  Will followup, but a linked in success story on how to use.  I have a phone interview at 1:30 still today with another company, al from social media/ networking (a referral from a Fbook and Linked person).  And of course, I used my 1-page resume. 

jkuntz's picture

 I get lots of invites from people I don't know, so much so that I customized my contact me section to request that people acknowledge those settings. I found they don't. I don't hesitate to click on I don't know if I have no idea who they are, have no one in their network and they put no attempt in at customizing the message to me.  If they personalize I will ignore or respond but not "IDK" them. 

In my opinion if you make no effort to be careful in who or how to attempt to connect, you deserve the IDK in response. I shouldn't have to "be careful".


iconnell's picture

I've just started getting messages (InMails) from recruiters both internal and external (contingent) not asking to connect but with roles they are recruiting for.

My standard technique for telephone calls of this nature is to be very polite but firmly advise that I am not currently looking for another role and assist in recommending anybody that I might know fits the role they are looking to fill.

My current is a little unstable so I am now considering replying back to these inmails to keep the door ajar, providing a status update and open invitation to connect to any internal recruiters but not offering to connect for external ones.

I can't recall any advice in the podcasts on this matter so would welcome suggestions for an effective way of handling this.




TomW's picture
Training Badge

The only reason to ever not be looking at possible opportunities is if you are retired and wealthy (with cash, not stocks).

Otherwise, you don't know what you could be passing up. If a recruiiter has a postion to talk to you about, you owe it to yourself and your familiy to take ten minutes to hear them out.