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How Do You Use LinkedIn?

Should I Accept a LinkedIn Connection Request from a Stranger? | Job Search Radio

 

This is a dilemma many weigh every day. Let me discuss a few variables and offer a suggestion.

Summary

The question for today is,

"Should you accept a LinkedIn connection request from a stranger?"

Let's see how a stranger finds you.

They may have heard about you in some venue. For example, you are a speaker somewhere, you have been involved in an online group or an off-line group, you are a second-level connection of someone that they know and they decided to reach out to you.

I don't expect many celebrities to be listening to this but if you are one, follow what your agent is telling you to do.. For some of you there is an advantage and you open yourself up to lunatics. I also want to remind you that if someone asked like a lunatic, you can block them and sever the connection.
I tend to encourage people to be freer.

For average Jane or Joe, I would also advise to accept the connection request. Here's why. The probability is that this person notices that you are a member of a group that they are part of, or that you are a second-level connection to someone that they are already connected with. What they are trying to do is to expand their network and, at the same time, you are expanding your network.

I am always reluctant to accept requests from people with very few connections. I had been reached out to as the 1st connection request from someone on LinkedIn and often those are spammers. They are trying to get access to me in my connections because I have a pretty big network and then fairly visible online. I know what they're trying to do is post to my wall on LinkedIn so that they are publicizing their crap.

I tend not to except for new connectors or the profile picture that is done with aquamarine backdrop because those tend to be phony profiles. There is an exception every once in a while, but most of those are phony.

I accept connection requests and people anywhere in the world wven though I am in the US there are people throughout the world who reach out to me, I tend to accept those requests (Please note that since recording the show, I changed my policy and only accept new requests from US-based professionals because I'm starting to bump up against the limits that LinkedIn provides for connections). Again, I can always disconnect pretty quickly if I find that they are a problem individual.

For me, for years I tended not to connect with other recruiters in order to avoid helping my competition. I didn't want my competition benefiting from my connections. I change that over the last 6 months (again, because of the limits of the number of connections on LinkedIn I am allowed, I have changed it back).

For you, if they work for competitor of your company's in a role where they could get access to information that you are sharing that his secret information, you don't want to connect with them. Personally, I don't think you have any great secrets, but if you aren't comfortable don't accept, don't block, don't hide, don't "I don't know" the person. Just don't accept for now. Give yourself time to consider and keep it as an unanswered request in your inbox. You can accept it a month later when they are forgotten about the request and then be able to observe what they are like online.

When all is said and done, your advantage in accepting a connection request comes from broadening your network. So if you are trying to reach out to people on LinkedIn, LinkedIn is only allowing you to message people who are 1st level connections, 2nd level by using by using it in mail and through groups (I believe groups are still free for messaging).

In addition, they are tracking your behavior and if you are not getting a lot of responses, they penalize you. Better be connected with people then not be connected so that you are not using inMails to reach out to people. You can direct message people.

It's far better to do that. And by accepting connection requests you get access to those networks as well. So, generally, I give the idea a thumbs up. Do it with a couple of those caveats. The big one is if you don't like the individual not long after you connect, you can always disconnect.

 

​If you have a question about job hunting, email me at [email protected]. I can’t answer every question . . . but you knew that!

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You already know you can’t trust recruiters—they tell as they think you need to know to take the job they after representing so they collect their payday. The skills needed to find a job are different yet complement the skills needed to do a job.

Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter has been a career coach and recruiter for what seems like one hundred years.

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