This is something that is one of my biggest pet peeves. I’ve written about this before. Because it keeps happening, I’m writing about this again.
I often get requests to connect from people I don’t know. I will only connect with people with whom I have some kind of established relationship. It’s so bad that I put this note prominently at the top of my LinkedIn profile.
If you want to connect with me, please indicate how we’re connected; otherwise, I will ignore or delete your request. I do NOT accept unsolicited connect requests from people I don’t know.
I especially hold a strong contempt for spam recruiters. For starters, I once had a bad experience with a spam recruiter. There are also many documented cases about spam recruiters being bad for professional development. And their queries are often downright insulting to me. They make absolutely no attempt to get to know me or what I want; all they do is look for buzzwords in my LinkedIn profile or resume. Any connect request I receive from a recruiter I’ve never heard of gets deleted immediately.
Granted, just because I don’t know you doesn’t mean I won’t connect with you. However, you need to give me a reason as to why I should connect with you. It doesn’t have to be much — even something as simple as, “I enjoyed (meeting/talking/listening/whatever) to you at (user group/activity/party/whatever). Can we connect?” is enough for me to at least acknowledge you.
There are a number of people who think that just because we have friends or groups in common that they can just connect with me. The fact is, if I don’t know who you are, and you don’t tell me how we’re connected, I will not connect with you. Just because we’re part of the same user group doesn’t mean I will connect with you. Several user groups and activities I’m in often have numbers of people whom I don’t know. You need to tell me we’re in the same user group. Do not make me have to work to figure out who you are.
I am very particular about this, especially in this day and age of identity theft and data security. It’s one thing to be asked a favor, but it’s quite another to be taken advantage of. There is a difference.
Networking is about relationships. Tell me what our relationship is, and I’ll be happy to connect with you, even if I don’t know you. But if you send me an unsolicited connect request with absolutely no indication as to how we’re connected, chances are I will delete or ignore your request. Don’t send me a cold-call connect request with no explanation as to how we’re connected and expect me to connect with you.