It’s fair to say LinkedIn has changed everyone’s life in recruiting. But not always for the better.
LinkedIn is the golden child of candidate databases, now claiming to have 575 million unique profiles (260 monthly actives) residing within its servers. It’s the database of choice for recruiters, and while the service represents the biggest database of active and passive candidates known to man, it’s not without issues.
LinkedIn’s biggest issue is the delicate balance of continue to represent itself as a professional networking site while attempting to realize its revenue potential. We’ve seen countless tweaks and experiments to LinkedIn’s model through paid features like premium memberships (for individuals) and recruiting and lead gen services sold to companies (featuring enhanced messaging capabilities direct to candidates/prospects and – you guessed it – job postings).
But a recent development in the last 18 months is the topic of this rant.
HEY LINKEDIN, COULD YOU CLEAN UP THE EXPECTATION OF HOW QUICKLY PEOPLE TRY TO SELL ME SOMETHING ONCE I CONNECT WITH THEM?
You know the dance. You’re getting invites and you’re a human being. Someone’s asked you to connect and the old you just used to say “yes”, which resulted in you growing your connections to the level your business partner called you “promiscuous” on LinkedIn, which was a nice way for said business partner to call you a “ho”.
Yep, that has happened to me. But I had 10,000 connections, so who was really laughing at who?
Yeah, turns out my partner was laughing at me and there wasn’t really a reason for me to laugh at her related to LinkedIn. She got as much done as me.
But that was the old me on LinkedIn. The new me is clicking through on profiles and doing some research when someone wants to connect with me, lest I need a shot of online penicillin after a inbound LinkedIn invite.
THE EQUIVALENT OF A LINKEDIN STD IS YOU ACCEPTING AN INVITE FROM A STRANGER, ONLY TO HAVE THEM COME BACK AT YOU WITHIN 24 HOURS TO TRY TO SELL YOU SOMETHING.
Man – it’s a hard life out there for someone with a natural disposition to accept in LinkedIn invites. Anytime you accept a LinkedIn invite from someone you don’t know, 5 things can happen:
1–Nothing. Word. Things are looking great.
2–Simple quick note back to say thanks for connecting. Still looking good! Normal human communication! Use automated response recommended by LinkedIn “AI” to say, “You too, Buckeroo.” Kind of sounds like me.
3–Light note back that they look forward to learning from you in the future, talking shop and networking for mutual benefit. Stalker vibe activated. You don’t reply back because you don’t want to encourage more communication. Watch Taxi Driver with Deniro to prepare for the coming sales pitch and obsession.
4–Nothing for 2-7 days, which makes you think it’s a great connect (see #1), then said connection comes back asking for some of your time. This is the delayed onset game plan, which is brilliant and sinister all at the same time.
5–New connection replies in the first 24 hours (often within the first hour), asking you for a meeting and wondering aloud how you’re preparing for the coming employee engagement Armageddon. GROSS. Initiate self-loathing module for accepting connection.
There’s an easy solution to this. LinkedIn will tell you that you shouldn’t accept connection requests from people you don’t know, which is kind of like telling the world you shouldn’t shake hands with people because you might catch a cold.
HEY LINKEDIN – IT’S EASY. ANYTIME SOMEONE TRIES TO SELL A NEW CONNECTION SOMETHING OR ASK FOR A MEETING IN THE FIRST WEEK OF THE CONNECTION, SHUT DOWN THEIR ABILITY TO SEND INVITES FOR 2 MONTHS.
I know, I know. Potential revenue from Lead Gen services after Microsoft bought you means that will never happen. Got it.
I still love you, LinkedIn. At least give me a shot of online penicillin and sort invites for me the way Gmail does.
You can bucket them “normal”, “promiscuous” or “<fill in the blank>”.
Kris Dunn is a Partner and CHRO at Kinetix, a national RPO firm for growth companies headquartered in Atlanta. He’s also the founder Fistful of Talent (founded in 2008) and The HR Capitalist (2007) – and has written over 70 feature columns at Workforce Management magazine. Prior to his investment at Kinetix, Kris served in HR leadership roles at DAXKO, Charter and Cingular. In his spare time, KD hits the road as a speaker and gives the world what it needs – pop culture references linked to Human Capital street smarts.