Why I Don't Respond To Random LinkedIn Connection Requests

Hi, I'm David.

Like you, I'm a LinkedIn (LNKD) member.

I've been a LinkedIn member for a long time. At one point, when it was easy to tell which user number you were, I discovered I was one of the first 1,200 people here.

Over the years, I've received thousands of connection requests. I'm not special. If you've been on LinkedIn a long time, it doesn't matter who you are, who you know, or what you do - you've probably experienced the same thing. If your job is to cultivate a few deep relationships and you haven't changed companies much, perhaps you receive fewer requests; that's great. Ten strong, meaningful relationships matter more than 10,000 names in a database. But I do love staying in touch here with anyone I've met, and it's a perk of my career to have had memorable interactions with so many memorable people.

Whenever I receive a connection request, I have a triage system that applies to >99% of them:

  • Someone I definitely know: I accept the request. I often wait to do so, until I've opened Google Contacts and can enter their contact information, along with a note about how I know them. I even look to see if people use their personal email address on LinkedIn and store that in my file; that email can come in handy after someone switches jobs.
  • Someone I definitely don't know: I decline the request. Those are easy. Usually, a good clue is that we have fewer than five connections in common, though that's hardly foolproof. There are plenty of clues such as location, occupation, and other attributes that make this easy.
  • Someone I'm not sure I know: This comes up a lot, and perhaps more than it should. I've been on my career path for nearly two decades. I'll often check my email or contacts files to see if I have a trace of the interaction. I may even check Facebook to see if I know them there. Sometimes, I decline requests from people I really know; I won't claim to be totally accurate. But when you're trying to organize people you know rather than run up a high count of connections, then it's okay to make a few mistakes. And if you really know them, you'll have other ways of keeping in touch beyond LinkedIn. If the name's not familiar and I realize we were colleagues, I give them the benefit of the doubt and add them. [As Karl B. noted in the comments here, this lack of clarity could be solved entirely by adding a note to tell an invite recipient how you know them.]
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Comments

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Duanne Johnson 2 years ago Member's comment

Another reason to avoid requests by those you don't know. There have been news reports of fake accounts being used to solicit info. From scammers or even foreign agents. Gotta be wary on #Linked. $LNKD.