Behave like a ‘tart’ if you have to, but not on LinkedIn, please.

I am no LinkedIn expert. But I do use it. I post status updates, I join groups, I comment in discussions, and I check backgrounds of just about every person I am about to interview or even meet.

I also get lots of requests to connect, and as a result have about 12,000 connections and 36,000 followers currently, so I suppose I could be described as an ‘active LinkedIn’er’.

Active enough to realise there are a few things LinkedIn users simply should never do!

Firstly, let’s get away from chasing numbers when it comes to connections. Target your niche for goodness sake. I seldom send connection requests, but when I do, I know the person. I will have met, or dealt with that individual. I will certainly be sure that person is in a related field, and that there is potential for our business objectives to overlap.

And I do not accept all requests to connect. It’s tempting, I know. We all love to feel loved. But when I get a request to connect from an electrician in South America, I mean seriously, why would I?  And by the way, no disrespect to that individual. He may be a great guy with great skills, but is there really any likelihood that we can add much value to each other from a professional point of view? And that’s what LinkedIn is for, after all.

Secondly, don’t spam your connections with marketing material, requests to read your blog or any other self-serving communication. I delete people who are using their LinkedIn list purely to sell aggressively. That’s not what its for.

Thirdly, please don’t ask me for a recommendation if you hardly know me and must realise I hardly remember you. In fact, frankly, don’t ask for recommendations at all. Don’t you think soliciting people to say nice things about you is just a little bit tarty?

In fact, on that topic, the whole concept of LinkedIn recommendations is flawed, open to flagrant abuse, and borders on self-love. Who is going to publish an unflattering recommendation? Indeed, who is going to write one? I have seen LinkedIn recommendations from managers, when I know that manager has fired the ‘recommendee’! What a load of old cobblers! I have written the odd recommendation myself – but only when I really know and value the person’s work, and even then I do it partly out of a desire to please. I increasingly do not answer recommendation requests, particularly where the person is not well known to me.

And lets round off this little rant with one more pet peeve. Don’t be a tart with your updates. We all know there is software that allows you to multi-list your updates, using TweetDeck for example. So, you tweet some banal observation about what someone in the office is wearing, but you copy that tweet to your LinkedIn status too? I mean seriously, do you think we want to see your LinkedIn status updated every 10 minutes with your inane tweets?  Do you think that’s what LinkedIn is designed for? That kind of update is bad enough on Twitter, but on LinkedIn it’s just so much dross.

Finally
, specifically for those using LinkedIn for recruitment. It’s a great resource. Please do not abuse it, or the people on LinkedIn, by blanket ‘headhunting’ approaches. Don’t be the LinkedIn equivalent of the guy in the pub desperately trying to hook up with everyone….. anyone! Be a little subtle. Do some research on your target. Find a plausible reason to engage, interact, and then ease into job opportunities.

LinkedIn will work best for you if you:

  • target the right audience
  • use a professional tone at all times
  • share great content and
  • display your expertise in your field

Only after you have done all that, can you afford to ‘sell’  yourself, and even then, just a little.

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About Greg Savage

Over a career spanning thirty years, Greg Savage has established himself as a global recruitment leader. Greg is a regular keynote speaker at staffing and recruitment conferences around the world.

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47 Responses to Behave like a ‘tart’ if you have to, but not on LinkedIn, please.

  1. Neil Bolton March 23, 2011 at 9:47 am #

    Greg, don’t hold back. Tell us what you really think.

    (By the way: I agree wholeheartedly.)

  2. HS March 23, 2011 at 9:50 am #

    The thing with LinkedIn is that you can be quiet discreet to the LinkedIn Tarts by discreetly ignoring a request to connect or a recommendation. Being one of the connection Tarts myself, I’ve taken to mentioning in my description my Twitter account in case the connection wants to use Twitter instead? I think that more profiles should state their Twitter account in case I come across their profile, through a group or a mutual connection, and I want to get in touch with them because their work interest me and my request probably won’t be accepted. I’m not so much of a Tart because I want to boost my numbers, I’m just so interested in people!

    Agree with the 2nd and 3rd points, I’ve forwarded connections to recruiters.

    Something more to add from running a Group:
    Don’t even think about spamming that Group, especially if the spam has absolutely nothing with what the Group is about!

  3. Arthur March 23, 2011 at 9:58 am #

    I have found LinkedIn a great way to connect with people I have met but an even better directory of people in industries or organisations I am interested in. I know of people who add connections every day and multiple connections, you do get envious but there are no extra points in reaching 1000 first. I don’t think I know 1000 I can add anyway.

    Totally agree with recommendations. Have given a few and received a few. it is a bit of a merry go round. I recommend you, you recommend me. I had a friend/work colleague refuse to recommend me because he was worried of being sued should I ever do the wrong thing and someone relied upon his recommendation on LinkedIn.

  4. Steve Ludlow - Sales Recruiter March 23, 2011 at 10:01 am #

    Great post Greg. The apps that link your twitter account to your Linkedin updates are encouraging people to treat ‘social media’ as a single medium. Linkedin is vastly different to twitter or facebook as we know. There’s a ‘hide’ button on the Linkedin news feed that enables you not to have to see peoples updates that are posting annoying messages. I’m becoming friendly with the ‘hide’ button. Out of interest, did you put a link to this post on your Linkedin status update?

    • Greg Savage March 23, 2011 at 10:10 am #

      Yes Steve, I did promote this post via Twitter and my LinkedIn status update- and I did it at the same time! But IMO this post is not “inane” and is worthy of both mediums
      But that’s just me I guess 🙂
      Cheers
      Greg

  5. MF March 23, 2011 at 10:03 am #

    Spot on about the recommendations. I always read them with scepticism especially when both parties have recommended each other on the same day. Ridiculous.

  6. Yuriy Shevchenko March 23, 2011 at 10:06 am #

    A manager has sacked an employee and them recommended him? Well I suppose it’s better if a rubbish recruiter works for your competition than for you but it is dishonest. I couldn’t be either the recommender or the recommendee in that scenario and still call myself a man.

  7. Scott VH March 23, 2011 at 10:22 am #

    Have to agree with you on “the whole concept of LinkedIn recommendations is flawed”. What is this anyway, and who would post up a bad one…..total farce !!!!!

  8. Stephen O'Donnell March 23, 2011 at 10:35 am #

    I recall hearing years ago about a hot issue concerning Australian employers. I was told that it had become obligatory to provide references on request, but was also risky to give a bad reference. The following phrases then became very common:

    “I cannot recommend this candidate highly enough”. Translation, – I really can’t.

    “You would indeed be very fortunate to get this candidate to work for you”. Translation “…because I couldn’t get him to work for me”.

    I’ve seen a few of these on Linkedin recently.

  9. David Als March 23, 2011 at 11:42 am #

    Nice post Greg. Two points I’d make: I agree with the connections aspect- but why should one online channel be validated as ‘ok’ to have multiple connections and another not? Yes, all platforms are different, but then again, people utilise them in different ways.

    I can be sceptical about LinkedIn recommedations too – but I think it’s not difficult to tell a genuine one from one that’s a ‘favour to a mate’.

  10. Scott Pugh March 23, 2011 at 12:08 pm #

    Another insightful post Greg. One of my pet hates you didn’t mention is the ‘Group whores’ as I call them. Recruiters who join every random group just to expand their network. Enough already.

    On the recommendation side I disagree and believe these can still be of value. As Stephen eluded to, employers are not legally allowed to give a bad reference, so by that rational, references from previous employers are also flawed. Any recruiter or hiring manager worth their salt can read between the lines of both references and recommendations and they should be judged on the tone and content of the recommendation and by the person giving it. Pier to pier should be viewed with a certain amount of scepticism.

    Keep up the great work with the blog.

  11. William Morris March 23, 2011 at 1:00 pm #

    Another good blog Greg, and one that should be noted by all.

    Another ‘load of old cobblers’ is recruiters who create groups for a specific industry but dont make the members aware, trying to mask it as something else when really it is a tool to lure them in to joining so the recruiter can build his/her database. It smacks of desperation and is misleading.

    Seeing a reccomendation from a credible source can’t do any harm in my opinion.

  12. Kerrie March 23, 2011 at 1:41 pm #

    Agree, agree, agree……

  13. Ross Clennett March 23, 2011 at 1:56 pm #

    Wise words. In ignorance I started off posting all my tweets to LinkedIn status updates automatically and given some comments I received back it was pretty clear that was a dumb idea which I quickly dropped. The audiences are difference and the purpose of each is different.

  14. Karalyn Brown March 23, 2011 at 4:39 pm #

    It’s too late for me. I confess. I have been a Linkedin Lush ;-)- in fact I have written several articles, including one for Anthill, on why I regret it. I am happy now that LinkedIn has lots of tools to help me focus in on the people I need to. But the spam still drives me nuts. But for the work that I do, in terms of writing profiles – it’s been a great help to have a large network. Plus I get lots of business directly from Linkedin without chasing it. So there is good and bad. But having so many connections, does not fit with my natural networking style – and I think that’s a good rule of thumb with any social media.

  15. Hung Lee March 23, 2011 at 5:56 pm #

    Hi Greg,

    First things first, let me say that for 95% of my time on LinkedIn, I agreed with your position on each of the above points. This has changed in response to LinkedIn recent changes, which have generally trended towards making it more difficult for people to connect with each other – see the loss 3rd degree connection visibility last year (on a free account) and now loss of Group messaging in this. LinkedIn is moving towards IPO and is driving monetization of the site by making things difficult for people who don’t pay. Understandable for the business that’s basically been giving away a fantastic resource for free for 6 – 7 years, but we as users – who perhaps do not want to pay – need to take action, and the only thing we can do other than upgrading our accounts is change our networking policy. And the key is wide & shallow, not narrow and deep. This is especially the case if you are a recruiter where your reach (and reach-ability) may be key to the effectiveness of the site for your needs. I think can all agree that LinkedIn’s more valuable to you if you have 500 connections, than if you have 5, regardless of the ‘quality’ of your connections.

    There’s another way of looking at this: What are the consequences of being a ‘tart’? Perhaps a branding issue if you connect with too many randoms, but not much really after that, save for the fact that some people might disapprove for reasons they either can’t really articulate, or because they’ve brought ‘off platform’ values onto the platform. These values are useless to you as a recruiter on LinkedIn – time to jettison them if you want to keep a competitive edge.

    On the individual points, no problem with points 2 and 3 – spot on with those, but there is a case to be made against 1. It’s not the connection itself that’s important, it’s the network that connection brings with him. Your library assistant at the University of South America could be Lula’s second cousin for all you know – you just won’t find out until you connect. There’s no harm in doing so, so why not?

    Happy to debate this further, and I’d be interested in the views of some of the real LinkedIn heavyweights out there [Disclaimer: I am certainly not].

    Great post though, let’s keep talking.

    Best wishes

    Hung

    • Greg Savage March 23, 2011 at 6:38 pm #

      Thanks Hung,

      Greatly appreciate your insights, and to be frank I had not given enough thought to the way LI is tightening its restrictions – and the implications.

      I think I still stick by all my points, but you have alerted me to a different angle on this which I will reflect on

      Very best

      Greg

  16. Alconcalcia March 23, 2011 at 6:18 pm #

    It’s a sad fact of life that when it comes to social networks there will always be a percentage of people who are just out to get as many connections or followers as they can, regardless of relevance. My rules are simple: Facebook (which I seldom use) you have to be family or someone I know in real life. Linkedin in, by and large I have known, and worked with or had a business relationship with you, or may do in the future. Twitter I am slightly more flexible on as I use it for both business and humour, so you’re either a current or possible source of business, someone whose point of view I appreciate blog and article wise, or you write funny stuff. Oh and there are a few ‘interesting’ celebs in the mix too, thoughi ditch them if they are all ‘me,me, me’ or just dull. Can’t stop all and sundry following me and every day i get loads of irrelevant requests that I either choose not to follow back or, if they are evidently spam bots, block.

    I’m not out to prove anything and find it quite sad that people pride themselves on ‘knowing’ or ‘liking’ thousands of strangers. To me, you’re either a friend, family, source of potential business or, like Greg, you may be miles removed from me, but you write provocative stuff that makes people like me respond like this!

  17. Maxine Groves March 23, 2011 at 6:20 pm #

    Great blog Greg! Hear! Hear!

  18. Andy Pattinson March 23, 2011 at 6:33 pm #

    Mostly agree except for limiting who you connect to, I’ve taken a different approach and connect with anyone and everyone which has resulted in a number of interesting business exchanges and even a job, due to an extended 2nd & 3rd degree network, approx 5200 1st degree connects now. I ensure it is used and maintained in a professional manner and it has been effective as a result. After all why limit who you can do business with?

    On the other hand I treat Facebook as friends and family only and have a nice small personal network there instead.

  19. Andy Hyatt March 23, 2011 at 7:05 pm #

    Greg – another interesting and topical post. Whilst I agree in part about your point about recommendations, surely that should be part of the due diligence of the recruiter/hirer to check for reciprocal recommedations? Anomalies can be pretty obvious to spot. Along with people who only have recommendations from colleagues, as opposed to a mixture of colleagues, clients and business partners.

    The counter side of this is that sometimes having to make an openly viewable reference forces you to think about the nature of a relationship between yourself and that individual in terms of the value that was provided. Or putting it another way, forces you to avoid emotive rantings that often cloud a reference.

    I’ve sat on the other side, when someone who interviewed me, unbeknown to me, asked for an ‘informal’ reference from someone who I worked with but did not have a good relationship with. I would never have put that person down as a referee, as he had a tendency to ’embellish facts’ to the detriment of other people. Surely enough the reference they provided almost lost me the job I was going for.

    My counter was to point my potential employer in the direction of my LinkedIn references, including those clients I had worked with that the informal referee had lied about. Not only was I able to confirm a universality of opinion about how I worked and what it was like working with me, but my potential employer had direct access to those referees to follow up on the comments I raised. They checked, I got the job. Happy days.

    I guess the point is that there are always people who abuse the system, but you just have to be more intelliigent about how you interpret the information that is being provided. And that is where the unfettered power of new ‘intelligent’ sites like the Social CV ((http://www.thesocialcv.com/) excite and concern me in equal parts.

    I think that the bigger concern will be as Linkedin attempts to monetise what is an incredible asset, that it loses much of the openness of functionality that makes it such a great tool. Do we, as active users, have the chance to get involved in the debate? It would be nice to see LinkedIn crowdsource opinion about what its users want and how they want to use it. Not in a group, though…

    • Greg Savage March 23, 2011 at 7:25 pm #

      Great points Andy, many thanks
      Of course you are right, some LI recommendations are legitimate and a good starting point for checking more thoroughly. I happily admit I “hammered” the point in my blog for effect
      best wishes

      Greg

  20. Tracey Dunn March 23, 2011 at 7:26 pm #

    Greg – great post and agree with most of your points – however I agree with Andy with respect to accepting invitations – the library assistant example you give may not be a relevant conenction to you, but there may be people he or she is connected to that could be – it’s all about expanding your network – but hey – it’s a personal decision. Good point about recommendations – hate it when you see a straight exchange of recommendations, it’s so crass!

    • Greg Savage March 23, 2011 at 7:40 pm #

      Fair point Tracey and thanks for the comment
      Just one point for us all to consider
      I understand that each LinkedIn User can only invite 3000 connections. I may have that wrong. Can someone more knowledgeable than me on LIN confirm or correct?
      If that is true, it adds more weight to my argument that we should be selective with who we invite. 3000 sounds a lot, but how frustrating to have 3000 connections- half of which you don’t really value, but you cannot invite new, good contacts, becuase your quota is full

  21. David Goddin March 23, 2011 at 7:30 pm #

    Great post Greg. I think LinkedIn reflects how you choose to behave with other professionals. If you are a “Group Whore” (love it Scott!) on LinkedIn then the likelihood is that it reflects how you choose to behave elsewhere.

    Similarly with LinkedIn recommendations. Referrals and recommendations are the lifeblood of business. If you choose to recommend someone who isn’t worthy of it then LinkedIn may facilitate but it’s your reputation on the line.

    Groups are pretty fundamental for LinkedIn interation but they need to be used wisely….. I’ve been part of Groups where content dries up or becomes irrelevant or spam-like. I leave without hesitation but not everyone does. I’ve also found that some individuals use Groups to build content for their own marketing or to build IP even – “Group Leeches” perhaps!

  22. Nick Edwards March 23, 2011 at 8:21 pm #

    I agree totally, my connections are people that I have done business with; met at a networking events and had an interesting discussion and would like to connect to continue that relationship or someone that works in my industry sector

    I think people think LinkedIn is the business version of Facebook and that is where a lot of people get it wrong. LinkedIn is about engaging with like-minded professionals not shame-facedly shouting about your everyday life

    I do use it for head-hunting but make sure that if I am contacting people it is because I have something they will be interested in, not just bolster my database of candidates. My thoughts are the ultimate outcome I want from the initial contact is a 2 way conversation not just another connection to add to my number

  23. christine March 23, 2011 at 8:26 pm #

    Totally agree with this one, works out smoothly at every latitude !

  24. Elliot Mist March 24, 2011 at 11:34 am #

    It’s all common sense. linkedIn isn’t for twitter users who like to tell the world what they are upto. In fact I think those users should stick to facebook. LinkedIn is not a numbers game. (What is a numbers game nowadays?) I hope that LinkedIn and social media will mature in my lifetime so we don’t need to discuss this topic of “how to behave”. I’d really like to hope most of us are past this point but I guess someone needs to say it.

  25. Elliot Mist March 24, 2011 at 11:39 am #

    Can someone from LinkedIn please give me a list of pro’s and cons on why LinkedIn has the “show twitter updates” feature? It’s ruining the LinkedIn experience.

    Can’t we all multitask a twitter feed with linkedin being opened in a browser?

    PLEASE – if this feature didn’t exist I’m sure this blog post would of been half the length.

  26. Steve Johnson March 24, 2011 at 2:19 pm #

    Great to see someone who is prepared to get it out there, Greg. Good on oyu, and congratulations on a great blog.

    I recognise that your blog forms a part of your general marketing process, while recognising that you also clearly want to contribute positively to the talent debate and the industry.

    With that in mind, and further to a couple of co-commentators to this piece, I would respectfully argue that each person, recruiter or otherwise, may choose to spread the word about herself or himself in whatever manner is available (and the market will generally follow that trend anyway). Not everyone wants to drive a blog, for example, even one as relevant as this one!

    Contrary to your comments, Greg, I actually believe the manner in which an individual engages with LinkedIn (or Twitter or Facebook) gives me as a search consultant a terrific insight into that person’s style, personality, and sometimes even their judgment. To me, this is invaluable information. The future of LinkedIn is under threat inn this regard though. It is a matter of time before people invest in online consultants to polish their profiles up and manage their connections. Senior executives I speak with are increasingly frustrated that LinkedIn and other sites are so important in showcasing their careers, yet their own profiles look shabby and they worry that wrong impressions will be made as a result. Time is the issue. Enter the LinkedIn style consultant. Wait for it.

    After all, LinkedIn is the 21st century’s version of the 20th century’s paper CV, whether posted faxed or emailed, albeit LinkedIn is permanently on display and automatically updated for connections.

    So on that basis, I hope most people actually ignore your advice and continue allowing me and our industry colleagues to continue to see exactly what and how candidates think, operate, and present themselves.

    By the way, Greg, I reckon with 1000+ connections you qualify as a LinkedIn tart (he says safely, from his modest 500 or so connections) and your is evidence that that each user of LinkedIn has a legitimately unique way of using it, which is driven by what they would like to get out of it. Eventually LinkedIn will become more and more conservative, and enterprising agencies will take over the management of individual profiles, so that the unique elements of LinkedIn profiles will eventually fade, but in the meantime, vive la difference.

    Look forward to more of your missives.

    • Greg Savage March 24, 2011 at 2:34 pm #

      Thanks Steve, good stuff.

      Of course each LIN user must work out how to use the tool best for themselves, and my remarks are only opinion after all. I suppose my point is that, unlike yourself, so many people seem to use Linked In without any plan at all.. and that shows, and I believe reduce its effectiveness for them.

      As for me being a LInked In tart myself as you suggest.. well to quote the poet “There is something of the harlot in all of us”
      🙂
      Greg

  27. Scott Pugh March 24, 2011 at 2:38 pm #

    TOP TIP – There is a way around the restriction of connecting with 3rd dgree contacts. If you search for their first name and last company on Google, it will come up with their public profile from which you can add them to your network.

    Agree that you shouldn’t send random requests, just people you have spoken to, worked with or done business with, however the restriction on 3rd connections can inhibit legitimate requests.

  28. Surya March 25, 2011 at 3:46 pm #

    Hey Greg,

    As usual, there is alway some ‘meat’ in your Blogs.

    Another view point:
    I am into recruiting myself. Like mentioned, after I do my share of research and send across JDs to the ‘apt’ candidate, I get responses like.. Is this your pic? Where do you live? Do u want to become my friend???

    Highly unprofessional ‘tarts’.

  29. HS March 26, 2011 at 12:40 am #

    I’ve been using LinkedIn to connect with people that are in the three industry groups that I administer (so, around several hundred connections though I didn’t connect with all) as well as certain groups that would most likely have highly relevant connections.

    Having ignored requests from strangers, even though I am a networker myself and I do use LinkedIn for potential business opportunities, help headhunters, it always feels like as if you just have to take care of who you connect to. Perhaps it may have been the fact that if you add a weak degree connection and they end up spamming you, effort is required to delete them off your network. And that takes time!

  30. Mark Williams (Mr LinkedIn!) March 26, 2011 at 4:28 am #

    Great post Greg although (unusually for me) I don’t find myself agreeing with every point.
    For what it is worth, here is my view;
    A LinkedIn Connection is not a relationship! It can be but it doesn’t have to be.
    To some people a connection is merely route to other users. As Hung has pointed out some recruiters will use LinkedIn as a sourcing tool and in this respect more connections = more visibility.
    This may seem a surprising comment as I am always rattling on about ‘engagement’ and ‘relationships’ but to be fair some people in the recruitment industry are largely focussed on sourcing and unless they can afford to buy a corporate recruiting solution from LinkedIn, they will need to build large networks in order to find people.
    I believe they should do more than sourcing on LinkedIn (see my latest blog) but I can accept that for (free user) sourcing purposes being a ‘tart’ has genuine advantages.

    I manage my connections and ‘tag’ them into categories – Some are ‘true relationships’ I know them and want to see what they have to say (as well as have the opportunity to communicate with them). Others are potential customers – I want to be able to reach them and realistically my only way is by connecting with them (they can only ‘follow’ me if they A) share a group and B) Know about the follow feature – and most don’t!)
    I train LinkedIn users in the UK so if someone who is UK based asks me to connect Why would I ignore it?! Maybe that makes me a tart or maybe I just understand that visibility is the key to success.

    This last point links to your paragraph about spamming – I agree 100% with this one. Direct messages to people who you do not know are worse than ineffective – they are very damaging to your reputation, your company’s reputation and (even more importantly) to the reputation of LinkedIn as a site where professionals can interact and network productively.
    LinkedIn works as a form of ‘pull’ marketing NOT ‘push’ marketing, the key is to build your reputation through regular activities designed to help others whilst demonstrating your expertise. Build a positive reputation by being highly visible and business will come your way – you don’t need to ask or push for it, it just comes to you (as do plenty of invitations – hence the 3000 limit should never be a problem!)

    Which neatly links to your last point – Asking for Recommendations.

    I totally disagree with you on this one Greg. Recommendations are the simply the most valuable item on your profile.
    They can also be the most damaging item on your profile, which is what makes them so good! Recommendations that are obviously not genuine or ones from your mate who sits across the desk just make you look like an idiot….and you probably are!!!

    If I read the profile of a Recruiter and I see plenty of recommendations from clients then I thinks its pretty safe to assume that this Recruiter is very good at their job – provided the recommendations are A) From the right people and B) They show a clear knowledge of the person being recommended.
    In a recent Neilson survey over 90% of respondents said that they were most influenced by the opinion of those in their peer group. It works pretty well for Amazon and TripAdvisor so why shouldn’t it work for you?
    No-one can sell you better than a satisfied customer and that is the key – they must be credible.
    Back to back (reciprocal) recommendations are just plain silly – You should only recommend someone who you truly rate, not because they have recommended you but because you believe others should know how good they are. Every time anyone writes a recommendation on LinkedIn they are putting their professional reputation at stake – so you better make sure that you only give and receive genuine recommendations.

    I don’t think it makes you look tarty to ask for one either – on the contrary a Recruiter who has the confidence to ask is demonstrating a genuine belief in the quality of their work. The big question to ask is;
    “Would it be appropriate to ask this client for a recommendation?”
    That is a great question to ask yourself (or your consultants) – if the answer is a quick YES then you are doing a great job, most though will hesitate and start to question how that client feels about you and the quality of what you do and that is a very valuable thing to consider – this may well motivate you to alter your behavior with that client to provide a service closer to that which is required.
    I think this is a great way to encourage best practice and ensure a high quality service – clients are not always going to think to write a recommendation (some may not even realise they can) so you will have to ask but the process of asking itself puts the pressure onto the consultant to deliver a high quality service.

    Sorry for the long comment Greg….You did ask!!!

    PS Scott – You don’t need to get around the restriction of 3rd tier invites. If you find them by name on LinkedIn (any tier) you can invite them, its only if you find them by keyword searching that the restriction applies.

  31. MegP March 30, 2011 at 10:36 pm #

    A great post, and highly educational for a relative newcomer to social media.
    There appears to be a range of views about connections which I think perhaps just reflects our individual preferences; surely there is no right or wrong? I am connecting in the same way that Nick has described but have been called “stupid” for not connecting with everyone I can. That’s the more unpleasant side I guess that concerns me. Clearly, people contributing to this discussion are experienced, knowledgeable and proficient at maximising the benefits of social media, but here’s the thing, I still think it is a minority of people who are active in the way outlined here. It concerns me that unfavourable judgements may therefore be made about people who aren’t on LI, or who are inactive. Many business people I know who may well be the talent that recruiters are searching for, do not know of the existence of LI in any other than an interactive business card, and they do not care very much either! I’m reluctant to post this as I do not think it’s a very popular view but I’d be very interested in the views of those reading this post, so here goes.

  32. David Nolan April 18, 2011 at 1:25 pm #

    Good post Greg but I have to disagree with you on the recommendations part and I have to agree with Mark Williams.

    If I get a recommendation from a client it is because of a good service that I have provided and that individual has had no other dealing with me other than within a professional environment. If I am complimented and thanked, and the client is happy to recommend me to a colleague, then I ask them if they would like to endorse my work on LinkedIn. Whilst I never saw the stats before that Mark mentioned I totally agree that recommendations from “friends” make an individual look very unprofessional. On the other hand, a recommendation from a potential client’s peer is very positive.

    I also don’t have any reciprocal endorsements. My clients endorse me, and I would recommend my suppliers. So I agree that this is bad. But to say all recommendations shouldn’t be considered is a bit odd. Afterall, how can you verify the information on a profile without a KOL in your field verifying it?

  33. Clare Verrall May 9, 2011 at 11:32 am #

    Firstly, I must stand up and say “Hi everyone, my name is Clare & I have been a linkedin tart”. I came screaming onto Linkedin at the start of my Recruitment career without having any real understanding of how it worked & started adding everyone I could find within the industry I recruit for. I was a pest. *hangs head in shame*

    As time went on though I gained a greater understanding of the importance of my professional Linkedin network & that it is about quality not quantity. That said I will still add anyone who requested to be added to my network that is within the industry, but I no longer spend time pestering people I have never met or spoken to as I don’t believe Linkedin is the social space for that.

    I totally agree with you on connecting Twitter/Facebook feeds to your Linkedin account as I believe these social mediums all need to be treated very differently. I’m so glad you mentioned that as it has been driving me completely insane. People, Linkedin is NOT the space to tell everyone what you had for lunch that day or that your kids have diarrhoea.

    I have a different style of photo & post style for each of these social mediums. On Linkedin I have a professional photo. I only post things I believe people will find professionally interesting & I only post about once a week so I’m not spamming my professional contacts.

    On facebook I’m more relaxed, I have a more personal photo, have tagged myself in some photos at work events & post status updates usually once a day. My rule on FB is 90% give, 10% take, as in 90% of the time my posts are something my contacts will find interesting (from professional blogs, to the odd YouTube clip that made laugh or some other kind of link or update that people will appreciate) Posting “stuff my mum says” got one an insane response from my FB network with some clients laughing as they quoted updates to me months after they were posted. On FB I think people want to connect a little more with the ‘real you’ rather than just the glossy, professional version of yourself & this network has led to a lot of business for me as both clients & candidates feel they have a more personal relationship with me. My 10% ‘take’ is putting up a link to a job ad or putting up a photo of something I received from a happy candidate (bunch of flowers, a nice card etc) it’s me selling myself & what I do.

    I also have a professional Facebook & a personal facebook. I find the two don’t mix, the last thing you want is your professional FB friends seeing you tagged in your friends hens night where you puked in a flower pot & your personal friends don’t give a rats about all the interesting professional blogs you are posting that have nothing to do with their industry. I also have very strict security settings on my personal FB to ensure no one who shouldn’t ever sees those photos…

    Twitter I use differently again, I let the more quirky side of me through on Twitter as this seems to lead to not only more followers but people tend to stick with me (it’s very easy to ‘unfollow’ someone). Twitter I would have 30% personal updates (never too risqué obviously), 30% interesting non-professional links that my follows would enjoy (a funny photo, you tube clip or whatever), 30% professional links (blogs, industry related news etc) & again 10% ‘take’ (again, job ads etc). I’m only new to twitter but I’m finding it a fascinating space.

    People who set up professional FB/Twitter accounts that are over 50% “take” I quickly unfollow/unfriend. I have a lot of Real Estate agents that I follow who post nothing but the addresses of the properties they list. BORING! Unfollow…

    I also totally agree with your point on using your Linkedin network for Recruitment purposes. A few months ago I received an email from another Recruitment agency wanting to “take me for a coffee”. Not only did the email look like it was written by a 7 year old (every 3rd word was misspelled, some sentences made no sense whatsoever & they spelt my name wrong) but they sent the exact same email to every consultant in my office. They became the running joke in our office.

    Thanks for another great post.

  34. Jarrad Carroll May 16, 2011 at 9:59 am #

    Fantastic article Greg, and I couldn’t agree more wholeheartedly.

    As a Gen Y recruiter, I’ve grown up with Social Media, and believe there’s different levels of etiquette for each medium. Facebook for your friends (and people should learn to hide most details from people not linked – most recruiters I know will search candidates on there when considering applications), Twitter for a more casual approach (if you’re using it professionally, keep the tone “relaxed professional” and RELEVANT to your target audience), and LinkedIn purely professional.

    I’m finding the more I’m connecting with people on LinkedIn (and I’ve only recently started using the platform seriously), there are people who actually post what would be considered more Facebook or Twitter material than LinkedIn relevant. Writing about how much fun afternoon drinks in the office is going or posting EVERY new article from The Age’s website (regardless of how relevant it is to your industry) just means that when you do post something important, it will most likely be overlooked.

    I keep an active profile on LinkedIn, including my updates (every couple of days at the minimum). Most will be relevant news or blog articles that I’ve come across (related to either the recruitment industry – which I work in – or the retail industry – which I recruit for), with the occasional update about a certain role that I’m looking for and asking for referrals from my network. The question I always ask myself before posting: “does this add value to a majority of my connections?”. If the answer’s “no”, then it’s a quick “Ctrl + A” then “Delete”. Then consider it for Twitter where I take a more personal approach to business.

    LinkedIn can be a powerful tool – I’ve made some great senior connections that has led to some new clients through both active & passive business development. To put it bluntly, the last thing I want anyone on there to think is that I’m just another Gen Y with too much free time on his hands and too easy access to Social Media.

  35. Gary May 29, 2011 at 10:18 pm #

    from linkedin prospectus ” We believe our solutions are both more cost-effective and more efficient than traditional recruiting approaches, such as hiring third-party search firms, to identify and screen candidates.”. Should we be ‘loving’ it as much as we are?

  36. @williamu May 7, 2012 at 3:51 pm #

    Happy to confess that I reduced my personal LI connections by 2/3 to better focus on value being given to my network… and I sleep better.

  37. Sylvia Zlami May 16, 2012 at 4:39 pm #

    Thank you for another insightful post.

    I agree with your sentiments and would also like to offer a cautionary tale about Twitter/LinkedIn updates.

    When I joined Twitter, I intended to use it as a social media tool for my professional persona and consequently linked my Twitter account with LinkedIn. Subsequently, however, due to private contacts/interest, my tweets started ‘crossing over’ and I no longer wanted my tweets to appear in LinkedIn updates. Accordingly, I made appropriate changes to my Twitter settings in order to decouple these two SM tools.

    Unfortunately, however, my settings mysteriously reversed and – unbeknown to me – LinkedIn continued to broadcast my tweets!
    I reset my settings, only for it to reverse again! My settings were accurate, however my contacts rcontinued to eceive my updates.

    This turned into a ‘rinse and repeat’ cycle and was more than a little irritating as you may imagine.

    Long story short, it seems to be fine now. However, I have lost a great deal of faith in cross-platorm settings and I frequently wonder how many other people are unwittingly subjecting their LinkedIn contacts with updates that were intended for a different audience?

  38. Fanny March 11, 2013 at 11:46 am #

    Excellent blog you have here, but I was wanting to know if you knew of any message boards that
    cover the same topics talked about in this article?

    I’d really like to be a part of online community where I can get feed-back from other experienced people that share the same interest. If you have any suggestions, please let me know.
    Appreciate it!

  39. Alejandrina May 10, 2013 at 4:04 am #

    Good way of explaining, and good paragraph to take data about my presentation subject,
    which i am going to convey in university.

  40. Joy January 16, 2014 at 7:18 pm #

    i agree with your points…

    you could also add another point about not using LinkedIN as a social media platform similar to Facebook. I don’t really want to read “quotes about love, relationship and feelings” in my feed updates.

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