Last week I wrote about receiving invitations to “Connect” on LinkedIn from unknown individuals and my criteria for accepting/rejecting requests. So now I flip the issue and offer my thoughts on how I determine my invite list for connections.
Before I list off my parameters, a friend of mine reminded me that individuals use LinkedIn for different purposes. For this discussion, I submit that I use LinkedIn as an electronic Rolodex of trusted professional/personal connections. With that said, some criteria for my invite list would include:
- I must know you – Have we done business together, have you assisted me in the past or vice versa, do we know each other from some other connection (church, professional association, school, etc.). If I cannot state how we know each other, I feel we are not at the level of a “Connection” yet.
- Trustworthy – Since I use LinkedIn for professional endeavors, I need to trust my connections as I do not want someone to use my name in reaching out to another user unless I know that person will act appropriately. I hope that I can pass along connections and have this kindness be reciprocated, so a level of trust is needed among my connections.
- Conversation – Personally, I like to invite only individuals I have spoken with, or at a minimum exchanged email conversations, fairly recently. If I have not had some sort of interaction with an individual in a number of months/years – I question how well I know that person.
- Automatic Yes – If I am inviting another LinkedIn user to “Connect” I should feel pretty confident I know the answer will be ‘yes’. If I am unsure if a person will accept my outreach, I prefer to first get to know the individual better, then extend an invitation at a later date.
I realize these criteria are on the conservative side for LinkedIn users and some users will have more generous parameters. Do you have criteria of whom you invite to ‘Connect’?