Why I Don't Respond To Random LinkedIn Connection Requests

There is a small subset of contacts (the <1%) where it's some person of interest, like a head of marketing at a Fortune 500 company, or a prominent journalist, who I know I haven't met but added me. I will typically reach out to them via LinkedIn to ask if we've met and ask them to help jog my memory (knowing full well we haven't met). Or perhaps I will see if I can be a resource for anything they're working on. It can lead to meaningful exchanges. Again though, this is rare. Maybe it's really 0.1% of the time. Sometimes I will add them, and sometimes I won't.

So, back to the point of this -- why don't I accept requests from people I don't know? Here are three examples of how LinkedIn contacts I don't know are totally useless:

Scenario 1: A personal request

Say I need something for myself: a lead within someone's organization, a recommendation for candidates for a role I'm trying to fill, an informational interview, a speaker for an event I'm working on, or a VC to meet with a company I'm advising.

I check LinkedIn, and I found someone interesting who I'm connected to, but I have no clue who they are. What's my lead -- "We're LinkedIn connections. Can you help me with something really important to me?" Why would they? I know nothing about who they are or what they do. If I'm going to cold call someone, it doesn't matter if we're connected on LinkedIn or some social network. There's no relationship. It's still cold.

Scenario 2: A request from others

I get requests on a regular basis from colleagues and friends either asking if I can introduce them to a specific person or asking if I know a certain kind of person (e.g., people at ad agencies in San Diego, or people who are hiring managers at a retailer). I will then go and check LinkedIn, which is the best way to see who I know, and then sort them if needed.

If Jack says, "Can you introduce me to Jill?" and I don't know Jill in any meaningful way, I have to tell Jack, "I'm sorry, but I don't know Jill at all." The next time, when he needs an introduction to Jane, Jack will then ask me hesitantly, "Do you really know Jane, or is she just some random contact?" And when he needs an introduction to Judy, he won't come my way at all. I've lost Jack's trust.

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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.