Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Should You Connect With Recruiters on LinkedIn?

by Sharlyn Lauby

We’ve talked about how to follow-up after a job interview. Today’s reader note deals with the next logical question: connecting on LinkedIn.
Need help / advice! Is it okay to connect with a potential employer on LinkedIn after you had an interview with them? Why or why not?
I think the key here is *when* to try to connect? If you get the job or don’t get the job, I think it’s okay to connect once you know (if you got the job or not). But during that period of time between the interview and before you find out, can an invite serve as another way of saying I’m still very interested in the position / company.
I think the answer is yes, but wanted to know what everyone else thinks. Thank you!
Great question! I reached out to a couple of my professional recruiter friends for advice. Geoff Webb is senior sourcing specialist at AON/Hewitt, one of the world’s leading human capital and management consulting firms. Kelly Dingee is strategic recruiting manager for Staffing Advisors, a retained search firm.

Is it acceptable to connect with a recruiter on LinkedIn after the interview? Why or why not?

[Kelly] Absolutely you should connect. Before, During, After…if you are truly interested in the company, it’s a great idea. But, before you reach out and connect, do some quality control on your profile. I mean, proof it! No typos and make sure it’s mostly complete. Always send a personalized message to them on the ‘why’ of connecting.

There are so many benefits to connecting.  It could be if the right opportunity isn’t available now, it could be in the future.  It could be you’ll open the door to more connection opportunities and pique a potential hiring manager’s interest.

[Geoff] I think it is acceptable to try to connect with a recruiter at any time during the process.  If the recruiter is uncomfortable, they can always reject the connection or ignore the connection request and honestly that could be telling because if they are a good social recruiter then they should be accepting requests from anyone to build potential talent communities.

Out of curiosity, does it change if we’re talking about a hiring manager (versus a recruiter)? Why or why not?

[Kelly] No – the same rules apply. And proofing your profile before connecting to a hiring manager is even more important. Many hiring managers look at LinkedIn profiles as resumes. So while I don’t feel unending detail is required, proper grammar and typing error have to be rectified.

[Geoff] Hiring managers may feel like Linkedin is more of a private network.  Personally, I have only ever added people that I reported to after I had known them for a while.  But again you can always give them the opportunity to connect with you by adding your public profile URL to your resume.

If connecting with a recruiter or hiring manager is okay, what should a candidate do if the person declines their connection request? Should the candidate read that as “we’re not interested in you”?

[Kelly] Not necessarily.  I believe if you include a personalized message you’ll see fewer of these.  It could be your profile was not robust enough to warrant a rationale for connecting, or they thought you were a spammer because your connection message was not personalized.  Corporate HR tends to be fairly sensitive to who they connect to.

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