Recruiters, please, don't be a LinkedIn 'tart'

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 1,000 connections 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 a Library Assistant at a University 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.

, 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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Views: 386

Comment by N.Khan on May 9, 2011 at 9:31am
That's nice that you rite all that but to be honest more than 95% people across the globe, use  linkedin  in the same way that you tryin to explain......
Comment by Professional Recruitment Resourc on May 9, 2011 at 11:37am
Point 1, 2 and 3 are spot on and good rules to follow.
Comment by Amos on May 9, 2011 at 11:37am

Greg - I agree with your take on Twitter and keeping your " what I ate for lunch" info off my screen. Recommendations are really for someone to add when they have proved their worth and actually delivered on a project, assignment, promise etc... I dont have all my recommendations up, just the ones that really matter to my audience. You can also categorize them as testimonials of your track record. Nothing wrong with a little self-love, just a little..

Comment by Christopher Poreda on May 9, 2011 at 11:46am
Great piece Greg but let's not lose focus on what linkedin really is, the greatest resume database in the world.  If you're on you want to be contacted, so when you are, don't be upset.  As with any database where you want to be seen, some approaches will be smoother than others.
Comment by Chaser on May 9, 2011 at 11:57am



And Khan...C'mon man seriously! How did you come up with that number/percentage? I bet that you're 100% wrong on that statement because if 95% of people were using it the way its supposed to be used then Mr. Savage wouldn't have posted this.  He didn't "try to explain" he articulated his thoughts/feelings on the matter quite well actually.


The sad part is this will continue because its a social and "open" network (for the most part) and there's always going to be "that guy"...




Comment by Tami Brittain on May 9, 2011 at 12:06pm

Greg, I completely agree with you... though, I will admit to being somewhat of a "tart" while adding to my pipeline of TELECOM folks (note that I stick within my industry). :) I completely agree with you on the being selective on who you add into your network, as well (great example).



Comment by Christopher Young on May 9, 2011 at 12:07pm
Interesting. Change settings, filter and connect.
Comment by Suzanne Levison on May 9, 2011 at 12:22pm
Enjoy Your use of the word "tart!" There are so many perspectives about the "how" and "why" use of LI. Yours is one with valid points. To me, LI is a business tool with boundless information of people and companies. Still, I prefer to use LI in "stealth" mode..
Comment by Mat von Kroeker on May 9, 2011 at 12:32pm
Your recommendations are spot on, and should be applied to all social media.  The banal, innocuous and overtly gratuitous, flagrant banter that permeates social media will eventually kill it, unfortunately.
Comment by Christopher Poreda on May 9, 2011 at 12:37pm
I tend to disagree with many of the comments presented.  Caveat Emptor!  If you put yourself out on social media, by definition you intend to be social.  As being social you will have great experiences and not so great experiences.  Social media by definition, and linkedin (by it's name no doubt) is a means to connect people.  If you only want to connect to people you know intimately then just add them to your outlook contacts list and get off the grid.


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