In its early days, I don’t think LinkedIn was too sure of itself either, for that matter.
I had a routine: every Friday afternoon before shutting down the computer and heading home for the weekend, I would devote 10 minutes to expanding my network — thematically. One week the theme might be perky-looking blonde women, the next, guys in toques or people with body parts of other people visible in their photo or people in candid action shots. It was, to say the least, not an especially effective or professional way to build an effective professional network.
But I finally caught on, joining groups, getting endorsed, endorsing, posting the (very) occasional article. I used LinkedIn for hiring several times, and actually found some good candidates and employees through the platform.
But it was there, in the hiring process, that I began to have a problem with LinkedIn.
I have only two hard and fast rules about LinkedIn: I don’t ask to connect with co-workers and I don’t ask to connect with clients. Why? Because I want to avoid being in the awkward position of firing someone I’m connected to or being fired by a connected client.
So imagine my dismay when I receive an offer to connect from someone who is applying for a job at NewmanPR. Similar to my existing LinkedIn rules, I don’t want to connect with someone who I will probably reject for a job, or worse, someone who I might end up hiring and thereby violate LinkedIn Rule 1.
But there’s more to it than that. If you are applying for a job with our agency, chances are that you are either recently graduated from college or are at most a year or so out of school. I know what’s in it for you to connect with me and gain access to my network with all its guys wearing toques, but what’s in it for me to connect with you? Would it make me appear to be more mentor-like? Would other people in my network think it’s creepy to be all connected up with a bunch of young women (face it — 90 percent of people in PR are women) who are young enough to be my daughter? What would the toque guys say?
Worse still, it shows a lack of judgment on the part of the applicant. Does she really think it will help her prospects to ask for a connection? It won’t. In fact, it hurts her prospects — with extreme prejudice.
I have never hired someone who has asked to be connected on LinkedIn and I never will. Because no matter how great their resume or how well they did in the interview, I will always have that little nagging doubt about their professional judgment.
So, applicants for a job at NewmanPR, don’t ask me to connect on LinkedIn. The guys in toques won’t like it.