LinkedIn Whore…Or, ‘Welcome to the 500+ Club’


So, you open up your email and find this waiting for you…

LinkedIn

Norman Timbuktu has indicated you are a fellow group member of The Recruiter Network – #1 Group for Recruiters

I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn.

– Norman Timbuktu

Hmmmmm… There it is right there…. Should I accept? I’ll quickly check his profile… Ok, he’s a Masters Graduate (Computer Applications) from University of Panjab, Chandigarh… He has 3 years experience with Zcdf Computer Networking Systems in Chandigarh, India – as a Linux Programmer… He is looking to emigrate to Australia or the US… I am an Accounting & Finance Recruiter… Hmmmmm… I have 496 Linked In connections… Do I accept?

Don’t pretend you all haven’t been in this exact situation. The lure of that magical number… The thrill of your name coming up in Linked In searches across the globe reading…

Connections 500+ connections

The freedom to write in your headline – Craig Watson (322,650+ connections) even if the reality is you only have 502 – is extremely tempting…. But at what cost?

I guess it is the age old question of quality versus quantity. What’s more important to you as an individual, and what’s important to your broader network? And, my opinion is pretty simple. If you wouldn’t add this person to your work based database, why would you add them to your Linked In network?

Don’t get me wrong, I love building my numbers, Linked In, Twitter – PS. If you like the blog please follow me on Twitter @recguruoz – It’s just that I also like to have focused, engaged and relevant network.

I was recently at a client meeting picking up a job order for an IT Recruitment Consultant…

‘So John, how do you measure your consultants outside of their billings?’ I asked.

‘Well Craig, they will have to make 20 telemarketing calls a week, interview 5 new candidates, and make 15 client introductions/referrals. We also have introduced a really innovative KPI in line with our cutting edge social media strategy…’ I lean forward, hoping against hope to be inspired by a truly original measurement matrix… ‘Yes, we ask our consultants to grow their Linked In network by at least 100 connections a quarter…’

Really? I sit back – a little disappointed in what promised to be one of those rare recruitment epiphanies…

‘So, how do you check their new connections?’ I asked..Still holding on to a small glimmer of possibility that there was a quality check in place…

‘Well Craig, it’s pretty simple really. At the end of each quarter when we have our formal review we ask for the consultants to log in to their Linked In home page in front of us, and we can see their total number. Then we compare it to the last quarter’s figure…’ He spread his arms with a smile on his face, as if he had explained to me the meaning of life – hang on, there was more. ‘But I’ll have to swear you to secrecy,’ picture him giving me a conspirator’s wink, ‘We really don’t want our competitors getting wind of this – it keeps us ahead in the game’…

This is one example of how recruiters are encouraged to cheapen the quality of their Linked In network by increasing their numbers. Another, possibly more disturbing example below occurred during a telephone call with one of my clients…

‘Hi John, It’s Craig form Scott Recruitment here. I was just following up on the candidate I sent through to you for your Engineering Resourcer role…’

‘Yes, Craig we are not going to proceed with Jack, we don’t think he is sufficiently experienced, or networked enough…’ What does he mean?? Jack has 3 years solid resourcing experience in the local market at one of their key competitors, with an enviable record of success!!!!

‘What do you mean, Jack has 3 years of very solid resourcing experience in the local market at one of your key competitors? He has an enviable record of success and his salary expectations are below what you are willing to offer…’

‘Craig, his record is very good, and on paper he reads very well, but…’ But what??? That’s right but WHAT? This had better be very good… ‘But, we had a look at his Linked In profile and he only has 387 connections. Our policy is that all new employees must have at least 500 connections…’

So, where does that leave us? Do we cheapen our personal and professional brand by whoring our Linked In profile all over the net, trawling for easy connections? Perhaps catching all sorts of viruses from profiles we don’t know? Do we leave ourselves open to the solicitation of the wider, and less scrupulous operators out there, littering you ‘Updates Stream’ with comment after mind numbingly boring comment that means nothing to you?

Ask yourself this. Does it improve your professional network by adding Dwayne, the recent high school drop out from Minnesota, whose only role has been flipping burgers at McDonalds for the past 3 months. Dwayne may be very relevant to your professional network, and if he is – connect, but if he is not – why add him?

Or… Do we take control of our Linked In network and use it effectively? Add people to your network that mean something to you as a client, candidate, prospect, mentor, advisor, business associate, supplier etc.?

My advice is be patient and strategic. You will get your 500+ connections that are relevant to your profession. It may take a little longer, but it will be far more meaningful…..

As a postscript, why not follow me on twitter @watsoncollard Craig, stop whoring your twitter attributes… Whoops did I say that out loud?…

Craig Watson

 

5 thoughts on “LinkedIn Whore…Or, ‘Welcome to the 500+ Club’”

  1. Couldn’t agree more. I’ve been on LinkedIn since 2006 and I “only” have 487 connections. My job is to source / research candidates. My 487 are quality connections that fit in with what I do, many of whom I have placed on multiple occasions. This focus on the requirement to have above x number of connections on LinkedIn is nothing short of ridiculous. If a potential employer asked me to show them the number of LinkedIn connections I had, I would thank them for their time, tell them that they clearly have no understanding of what a sourcer does and walk out the door.

  2. I tend to ignore networking requests from the “500+” people. No one knows 500 people so my assumption is that they are often just blindly “connecting”. I also cull my own connections regularly to remove people I no longer keep in touch with or work with.
    This is just how I view things but of course it depends on how you personally use linkedIn.

  3. Whilst I have over 500 connections on LI, by no means do I endorse a business that demands a certain number of connections by potential employees as a basis for employment, nor do I indulge in the LION aspects, which I see as valueless.

    Starting my LI account some 6 years ago, when in it’s relative infancy here in Australia, I can vouch that I have had at least some contact with the fair majority of my connections – even the overseas ones. That small number that I haven’t, I will. It’s about acknowledging those that will be appropriate now, and in the future

  4. Interesting comments, and I think that requiring employees to have a ‘minimum’ number of connections is ridiculous! I am a Linked In open networker and will connect with anyone, and I’ve found that this has improved my business, as you never know when someone might be able to help you… even if they can’t at the time that you add them. I am connecting with people in so many different types of industries now, and many candidates overseas who have found me via networking, and these people are becoming clients. If you don’t add people to your network who you don’t consider to be ‘relevant’, well, isn’t that a little bit like being part of the ‘cool kids’ crowd… ie. we don’t consider your experience or your connections to be of value, so why would we bother talking to you??? Just an analogy, but as mentioned, being an open networker has been of huge benefit, particularly with my ability to help people – I have been given referrals from people who I never would have expected!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *