Friday, September 30, 2011

LinkedIn and The New Hire

My friend Leslie recently started a great job as Marketing Director at a cool Silicon Valley start-up.  On her first day the CEO sent out the typical email to the entire company announcing her arrival and welcoming her to the team.

Then it began.  Within minutes she started getting LinkedIn requests from the other employees.  Some came by or emailed first, but others just tossed the link requests over the wall.

I have mixed feelings about this.  I have written in detail about my belief that LinkedIn is not a way to connect to anyone with a pulse, and profess the "Coffee, Meal, or Beer Rule" (which basically means I want to know you before we connect on LinkedIn or Facebook).

In this case she works for a small company.  Since it is an intimate group and she will be working closely with everyone, the relationships are guaranteed to follow.  However, if she was working for a big company the amount of LinkedIn requests could have little meaning.  I used to work for Wells Fargo Bank and I still get requests from random bank employees from around the country who say "I see you once worked for Wells Fargo, I think we should connect".  Huh?....  that is just not enough of a reason.  They might as well say, "I see that you breath air, I think we should connect".

Leslie's company has ten sales people and several of them immediately combed her LinkedIn connections to see if she had contacts at any of their prospective client companies.  This was smart.  She has worked inside many technology companies as a marketing employee or consultant and has developed a wonderful reputation throughout the tech community.   Using LinkedIn to discover who are the first degree contacts of the "new hire" is a great idea.  It is a win for the company and a chance for the new person to add value right from the start.

This is another reason to be judicious in your linking policy.  If your new employer comes to you on week one and says "WOW, I see you are connected to Ryan Terrell, can you make an introduction", and your answer is "WHO?", it does add value!

I do believe that Linking with co-workers (with whom you know) is an important way to utilize LinkedIn.  It not only helps those inside the company find contacts that can lead to new sales opportunities, but someday when you move on you want to make sure that those who worked closely with you know how to find you!

What do you think?

Have A Great Day.

thom singer


Patti DeNucci said...

Thom, I love this blog and thank you for addressing this topic. So many people shamelessly hitch their networking wagons to others (who are generally more connected and to people they actually KNOW) via social media in an effort to show how many contacts they have. It's like they're in a race to collect the most baseball or Pokemon cards or prove who is the most popular. Your Coffee, Meal or Beer Rule is a good one. Thanks for sharing.

Steven Tylock said...


Earlier today I panned two articles that missed the boat on LinkedIn. It's great to find this one - I added a comment just now pointing to it as positive example.

Connecting with co-workers that you know and trust is essential.

The others are already listed in the company directory - what does connecting with them do for you?-)

Steven Tylock
The LinkedIn Personal Trainer

Anonymous said...

As a sales person I have not been tapping into the LinkedIn contacts of the others who work at my company. Duh. I will now.

Larry said...

Thom, conventional wisdom might agree with you. Heck, I might have as well. Here's what I am finding, a looser connection is often better. I am not saying so loose that you wouldn't recognize them on the street, but also not someone you are going to lunch with even 1x/yr. My experience is tending to mimic what has been proven. Weak friends can more easily project good attributes onto a situation and believe it will work out for the best.

That said, keep this phenomena in mind when looking to make use of a network connection.

Unfortunately, the social media game has become one of numbers. Quantity doesn't always trump quality. When was the last time you went through and culled those distant connections from your LinkedIn network? (BTW, the other person doesn't get a notice like on other platforms)

Brian Sparks said...

I, too, recently started a new job as a marketing manager, and I've been intentionally judicious about who I've added and when. We have about 40-50 people in our office, plus another 300+ out "in the field," and so far I've only LinkedIn with 10 of them. I decided to deliberately wait until I've had some kind of meaningful interaction with them (served on a committee, collaborated on a project, had a meeting, met them at a social function) to request a connection. I don't want to be obnoxious, and I'd like to think my colleagues appreciate "linking" with someone they feel like they actually know. I'll catch up with the rest over time.

Karen said...

Thom, your specific example about LinkedIn makes it easier for people to make their own good decisions about who and how to connect with others - thanks!