Submitted by BDillon33 on
Perfect timing on the LinkedIn cast as I was wondering how to manage my LinkedIn. While I understand the 'accept without reservation', isn't it hard to follow-up with recruiters who are more or less blindly sending out feelers and LinkedIn invites trying to fill an opening? I am thinking about purging my contacts and just keeping the few that I hear from somewhat regularly, then set a schedule to maintain contact with them.
LinkedIn Requests from Strangers
Is the default "Accept" applicable to people whom you do not know and have never met?
I meet far fewer people than the M-T team would, and routinely get requests to connect (without a personal note) from people I have never heard of.
Looking at their profiles, I believe they are real people. Sometimes I can see they are in the same industry, but often I have no idea how they found me.
Mark kind of addressed this when he mentioned the "banker" who he un-accepted. I have received similar requests and ignored them.
I know you want to build the network indiscriminately. Where does one draw the line?
Thanks and regards,
What's the harm?
I would say that assuming you believe they are real people, what's the harm? If they turn out to spam a load of stuff in your timeline then remove them, but what's the worst they can do. It's not like Facebook, where you are putting a lot of personal things. Send them a quick note asking if there is anything in particular they wanted to get from linking with you, can you help them out?
You never know what good could come of it.
Chief Executive, Connect Support Services Ltd. - London based cloud & traditional IT services for SMEs
http://uk.linkedin.com/in/markodell100 - https://twitter.com/mark_odell - http://glipho.com/markodell
I like that idea Mark!
Mark Odell, I love that idea of sending them a quick note back. I'm going to try that, because it seems a better way to approach things than what I currently do.
I know it violates Manager Tools guidance, but I ignore any request from a stranger who (a) sends me the standard Linkedin greeting and (b) isn't connected directly to someone in my network.
Why? Because i truly believe it is all about relationships and there's no relationship of any kind there. I'm not willing to populate my network with people who used some sort of automated email search to find me.
this is a great discussion, and while my BLUF is that I absolutely second Mark_Odell's recommendation (accept, offer help, ignore or block only if necessary), I hope I can add something original to it.
Internet social networks are quite different from 'real-world' social networks.
'Real-world' professional networks are governed by "The Rule Of 50" (There's A Cast For That, http://www.manager-tools.com/2009/06/rule-50). 50 is about the number of people who you can stay in touch with substantially (e.g. have dinner/lunch with at least once a year).
The emergent internet platforms (LinkedIn, or XING in Germany, and Facebook, Twitter, Google+ ...) make it much easier to stay connected with vastly diverse populations of individuals, geographically, but also by industry, profession, skill-set or seniority. By nature, these connections will be much more shallow and superficial. What seems like a lack of quality at first is, at second glance, really just a different quality.
Sociologist Mark S. Granovetter pointed out -- in 1973, folks, isn't science amazing? -- the differences between "strong ties" and "weak ties", finding out that WEAK ties can actually be MORE effective in certain problem-solving situations (e.g. finding information on a new job, accessing knowledge outside one's domain). The "weak ties" in your network are usually the people who are distant from you, who you have less in common with, and they may have more unexpected learnings for you, while the "strong ties" tend to only confirm what you already know. See http://sociology.stanford.edu/people/mgranovetter/documents/granstrengthweakties.pdf
Apply this insight to today's world of social networking or information platforms, where you can use "status updates" (or "tweets", or whatever they are called) to broadcast to your network, where you can ask general questions like "Does anyone know someone at company X" or "Has anyone ever configured an XYZ server to comply with the ABC regulations?" or "Would anyone like to test the web-site we have developed, and give feedback?" -- with a wider, broader network, chances increase significantly that someone will be actually able to help.
And, back to the bottom line, that's why I generally accept all contact requests, politely asking how they found me and if there's anything I can do for them. Most of the times, I never hear back. That doesn't do any harm though, and then, if I ever have a question like the ones quoted above, the strength of weak ties may work in my favor. If someone turns out to broadcast spam, I can always block their updates. I don't see any disadvantages.
That said -- feel free to add me to your LinkedIn networks :-)
I'm glad that the issue of accepting strangers has been addressed. When I was first listening to the podcast and heard the recommendation accept everyone I thought.... well over 8 years of listening and I disagree with one podcast, that's not too bad really.
But when I listened harder I realised where you were going with it, ie being scared about what other people might think of your connections (your boss and recruiters), so you guys are back at 100%.
When people accept people with no relationship it dilutes the value of linkedin. I have asked people in the past to help me get in touch with someone only to find that they don't know them and don't know anyone who knows them... very frustrating. When the shoe has been on the other foot though I have been able to get others in touch because I know them all (except Mark and Mike) and have met them.
PS the irony is not lost on me that I have Mike and Mark in Linkedin, I've never met either of them but I have recommended MT to many people.
Linked In Requests from people outside the US
Here's a twist I haven't seen mentioned. Some of us work in positions that require us to report foreign (non-US) contacts. As much as I want to build my personal network by accepting connection requests, I'm hesitant because of the reporting requirement -- for both the nuisance have having to do the reporting and the concern that the connections may have about being reported. Thoughts?
Reporting Foreign Contacts
Well, hmm, you could just connect whoever asks to you on Linked-In and allow access to your contact list. Then they can see for them selves, and you have satisfied their reporting requirement.
That said, you are not alone in this concern. Other members of the professional society for which I volunteer (IEEE Oceanic Engineering Society) have expressed great concern about being on social networks because of security clearances. They stay well away from Linked-In and Facebook. For that reason, we are still more reliant on email to get information out to Society Members, but I know I have to ramp up the Linked-In presence because people are piling into our group there.
How I Manage LinkedIn
I manage LinkedIn requests somewhat differently than the MT cast suggests.
I accept anyone who I have met in person or feel would return my telephone calls. If I get asked to connect by someone that I haven't met previously but is in my city (a large hub for my industry so often they are in my city) I email them back asking to meet for a coffee and explaining I accept only people I know. If they are willing to take 30 mins for a meet up then there is some desire to potentially form a relationship. If they aren't willing I tend to assume hey are just looking to pad their contact list.
Random recruiters I usually email to offer to help put them I. Your with potential candidates but I don't accept them indiscriminately.
Not quite MT approved but it is a way for me to keep my linkedIn account to true connections.
Hope this helps or gives you some other ideas
LinkedIn Requests not known to me seem to be suppliers/vendors..
Here’s an angle I have not seen, but then again I am new to the boards.
I have about 200 contacts on LinkedIn and I know 90% of then well enough they’ll call me back in a day or two if I really needed it.
Recently I’ve noticed lots of invites from vendors…hey no shame being a sales person; everyone is a vendor to someone. But I don’t know these folks, seems like they are just rolling titles on LinkedIn and I suspect if I accept I am just asking for more calls from these folks. While I respect Sales folks, I don’t really want more calling me…
I’ve been ignoring them, which is not too a great response and goes against MT advice on their recent Podcast.
Employee Number nm04265
Recruiters on LinkedIn
I have made some great contacts and added some excellent people to my network by accepting recruiters on LinkedIn. Typically I do the following:
This week I was able to get the resume of a friend of mine into the hands of a recruiter I have never met in person and only know because I got a LinkedIn request last year. I don't know if a job for my friend will come of it or not, however I was still able to help two people in my network all by accepting a LinkedIn request.
I love Mark and Wendii's guidance. It's spot on with my own experience.
Vendors on Linkedin
I am also getting contact requests from vendors. At the beginning, I was ignoring these requests, much as you say you do.
Then I decided to accept these connections as well. Some of them send me an initial note, explaining their wares. My standard response is to thank them for the information, and promise that I will come back to them when I need something. Few ever contact me again, and those who do send me an occasional email with a press release or an updated catalog. I never had the feeling that they were abusing my time.
Moreover, it has already happened that I actually used one of these contacts. It was useful to have them.
Accepting more LinkedIn requests
Interesting discussion, all. I've opened up my network to "strangers" lately (the job hunt is ON), so I'm glad to see others have had good results with this approach.
Jochen, I like your idea about offering to help - thanks for that. Normally, when I get a generic invitation from someone who's not known to me, I'll send a friendly note asking if we've met elsewhere / refresh my memory if we've met before / etc. It'll be interesting to see if I get more responses by adding a "how can I help you?" line!
And in the name of network building, I would be happy to connect with any of you - just send me a private message. :-) (I don't publicize my real/full name on the MT site, for a variety of reasons.)