A couple of years ago I wrote down my rules for connecting on Social Networks and published them here on my blog’s Contact & Connect page. It was a great way to cut out any of the anxiety associated with not accepting or reciprocating someone’s connection request or follow.
I have recently returned to working for myself and decided to relax my rules for connecting on LinkedIn – it seems silly not to connect to someone that could one day become a client. With that in mind I’ll accept connection requests from just about anyone in the recruitment space in the UK.
I still, however, find it difficult to accept an invitation from someone I’ve never met and have no idea how they came across my profile. All too often I receive a request from a recruiter simply stating “I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn”. Everyone knows this is the default text for an invite. I worry that recruiters might be doing this to those they consider potential candidates. I try only to use this text if I know the person REALLY well or I’m actually sat next to the person when I send the invite.
I usually send them a quick message before accepting their request to see how they came across me – some even reply.
Why not personalise the message up front? Those default invites tend to sit in my LinkedIn inbox for weeks or months while I try to convince myself to add these strangers to my network. I like connecting, I like meeting new people, but connecting just to make the numbers go up is very unrewarding. I want more conversation, more interaction; I actually want to KNOW more people.
If you’re a bit intimidated by a blank message box then here are some ideas from the Undercover Recruiter blog on what to write in your LinkedIn invitations.
As LinkedIn matures, I think candidates are getting better and better at sniffing out a lazy approach. I even find most InMails to be lazy – especially when I receive one from somebody I already share a group with. I’m a member of so many groups, it would be easy for someone to join one and message me for free – why waste an InMail?
I’m being overly picky on that last point but, as recruiters, we should know LinkedIn inside out. It is one of the most important tools in modern recruiting. When you send a default connection request to someone you have never met you are being lazy and it is obvious.