Should You Ask For Introductions on Linked in?

Written by on December 2, 2013 in Blog, Careers, Networking with 0 Comments

Should You Ask For Introductions on Linked in?

This is a tough question, and the answer is—it depends on the relationship you have with the person. I have a statement at the bottom of my profile that lists my policy. It would be great if everyone did. Here’s mine:

  • I don’t forward requests from people that I don’t know, unless they are to get back in touch.
  • I don’t ask for introductions unless I know the people well.

I’m not trying to be an ass; there’s a reason I have that policy. If I recommend everyone who asks me, pretty soon my contacts not only won’t listen to my recommendations, they’ll ignore them.

Think About This

If you ask someone for a recommendation on a movie, or a book, or a restaurant, and they give you a bad one, will you ask them again? Let’s raise the stakes. Imagine you’ve flown into town to visit a new client and you want to take them to dinner but you’re not familiar with the area. You ask a friend for a recommendation on a great restaurant and it ends up being terrible. How pissed off are you going to be?

Now imagine it’s something even more important, like hiring for a job. If someone gives you a bad recommendation in that instance, you’ll really be pissed off. No doubt about it.

A Guide To Follow

The professional thing is not to ask unless you know, without question, that the person would be comfortable recommending you. If you have doubts, ask them—in a professional manner. This is an example of something that could work, but tailor it to suit your own needs.

  • “Rose, I’ve been busy networking, and XYZ Company has a position open that interests me. It’s for a program manager. Do you know anyone at XYZ well enough to recommend me? I understand if you aren’t comfortable with it, but please let me know one way or the other.”

I would love it if contacts sent me requests like that. It makes it easy to respond professionally, and to do it without offending anyone. Remember, just because someone is a first-level connection doesn’t mean the person knows them well enough for a recommendation. I have about 15,000 first-level connections. I can tell you flat out there aren’t more than a few hundred I would recommend someone to.

I love Linked in. And I love networking. But I’m not risking my reputation by recommending people I haven’t checked out.

I have faced similar circumstances in the publishing world. I write books, both non-fiction career books, and mystery/suspense novels. Quite often, other authors ask me to review their books, and they expect me to give them a five-star rating. Some are quite upset when I give them less than that, or don’t review the book at all. The problem is that if everyone gave five-star reviews, how would the readers know what was any good? Readers use those reviews to decide whether or not to purchase a book. It’s not fair to them to give anything less than an honest review. The same goes for Linked in.

What Does That Mean?

Does it mean I won’t help you? Of course not. I’ll do anything I can to help anyone. I just won’t recommend you unless I know you.

It means that unless we’ve done business or I’ve done references on you, or at the very least interviewed you, I probably won’t recommend you. I would hope that you would not only understand that position, but take a similar stance yourself. Linked in will be a far better place if we all did the same.

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About the Author

About the Author: When I’m not headhunting, or writing, I help my wife take care of our animal sanctuary. At last count we had 45 animals—11 dogs, 1 horse, 6 cats, and 26 pigs. Oh, and one crazy—and very large—wild boar named Dennis who takes walks with me every day and happens to also be my best buddy. For information on my mystery/suspense books, go to giacomog.com .

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