I denied two people in the course of two days who wanted to connect with me via LinkedIn. I kind of felt like I committed a networking sin.
I have relatively few connections on LinkedIn, but in my defense I am a student who is still working very hard on building her network.
So why deny these connection requests? I do evaluate my connection requests when I receive them. I ask myself the following questions:
Do I know them?
How are we connected (personally, academically or professionally)?
Can they comment on work I’ve done?
Can I comment on work they’ve done?
Is this person a positive connection that I don’t mind potential employers viewing?
Request #1 came from a former coworker and also a graduate of Mount Union.
Yes, I knew her.
We were academically and pseudo professionally connected.
Yes, she can comment positively on work that I’ve done.
Yes, I can comment negatively on work she has done.
She is not a connection that I would want potentials employers to see.
I was actually quite surprised to see her request. When we worked together she never had a positive attitude about anything and her employment ended due to unethical behavior. I haven’t seen nor spoken with her since her abrupt end in employment. No matter how many nice things she could say about me, if I can’t say positive things about someone, I won’t connect with them.
Request #2 came from a very recent graduate of Mount Union.
Yes, I know her.
We only participated in Student Senate together, so we are academically connected.
She really can’t comment on much work I’ve done since we were on different committees.
I can only comment on an inconsistent communication and attendance record that she had.
We’re in different fields, aren’t friends and were never classmates so I don’t really think potential employers would care about the connection.
I turned this request down. Accepting it would only add one more person to the other person’s network.
I think I’m much more likely to accept a connection from someone I would be connected with professionally.
I am connected with a few people that I don’t know extremely well, but all of the answers to those questions lead me to believe it’s a positive connection.