A current graduate student just told me that he and his friends have a question that keeps emerging. Here's the scenario he presented - to which you might relate:
I receive a lot of random requests to connect on LinkedIn. I know that it actually recommends people to you who are in your potential sphere of influence and a lot of people quickly click on those to get linked with people they might know, but who could be valuable. As a result, I'm not sure if I should accept all of them or be more selective. What's your advice?
1. Do I know this person? If yes, accept request.
- Note: If it's someone that I know to be someone I might not want to associate for whatever reason (and this is rare), then I would not accept the request.
2. Is someone in my sphere that I trust linked to this person? If yes, accept request.
- Note: I'll review their profile first and maybe even perform a Google search on them, but generally I'll accept these requests without getting more information from my trusted source.
3. Is this person in the public sector? If yes, accept request.
- Note: Since I'm generally in the business of helping people in government to do their jobs better, I will pretty much accept any request from someone that works in the public sector, especially in federal, state or local government, but also non-profit associations, academics and private sector who are known contractors. If you are in another sector, you can obviously apply this filter based on the field that's important to you.
4. Is someone that I do not know at all and they aren't in my trusted network? If yes, pause.
- Note: I'll do a little research on these folks, but I'd say that 9 times out of 10, I will accept their request based on solid identifying information. If I can't seem to find any more information about someone through a quick search, I'll usually just ignore the request.
I'm pretty confident this approach is quite common, but I'd be curious to learn if there are people who are more cautious in accepting requests - especially if you are in the public sector and feel as if you ought to be a little more guarded.
Do you accept most LinkedIn requests or are you more selective?
What's your filtering process?