I first published this post earlier today on my new blog: "Social Job Search."
The blog is primarily aimed at Jobseekers, so whilst I don't usually duplicate posts, I wanted to share my research and get some reactions from recruiters. The results surprised me.
I’ve been reading some well intended posts recently from Linked In experts Neil Schaeffer and Tim Tyrell-Smith on how important it is that you tailor your Linked In connection invites. This is something I have
advocated in the past, believing the theory to be correct. It certainly
sounds like it should be. You should read their post as it prompted me
to write-up this post on some research I completed recently on this very
. The actual results of the test and follow-up were far from what I expected, showing something to the contrary of what I believed and is the expert advice given in these and similar posts. (including some of
I sent out 50 invites to connect to people I was not connected with anywhere else. I got 31 acceptances in total. Bear in mind that some of the 50 may not yet be opened. It’s not uncommon for some people to
either follow you for a while and accept or archive later or those that
have profiles they rarely visit, choosing to either ignore or turn-off
The results of the 50 invites were:
The Standard Linked In Invite: 23 out of 25 accepted.
The Tailored Linked In Invite: (This introduced me and stated my objective in networking.): 7 out of 25 acceptances.
I took this further by sending out a further 20 invites, 10 using the standard Linked In Invite and another 10 using tailored invites. These were sent as introductions via connections.
I received 6 acceptances. 5 for the standard invite and 1 from the tailored invite. Of the 20 invites, 14 were forwarded to the second level connections.
To complete the experiment, I sent out a further 20 invites to members I shared a group with. At this stage, all of the invites were the standard Linked In Invite.
Of the 20 I sent out, I got 19 acceptances. By far in a way the most succesful.
To understand this better, I mailed all of the people I had invited for feedback regardless of if they had accepted or declined my invite.
Of the 90 e-mails I sent asking for feedback, I got 32 responses, interestingly, 19 from those who had not responded.
The tailored invite with a stated objective was seen as too direct in an invite. It was felt that there should have been more engagement prior to the invite. With so much spam flying around on linked In, for
everything from internet brides to S.E.O., a longer message with any
more than the standard RECOGNISABLE invite, then it got dumped without
People were comfortable to accept or investigate the standard invite because they knew what it was.
Most people who received the invite chose to either:
- Ignore, Archive or Delete immediately for the reasons outlined above.
- Of those receiving the standard invite, most reported that they viewed my profile first before accepting, hence the reason for making sure that your profile is a real advert for you. Having looked at my
profile they accepted the invite.
- Of those that didn’t respond, most had chosen to “follow” me and wait and see. They stated that they may review this status to a full acceptance in the future.
- Of those who accepted my invite who shared a group, most did so on receipt. They felt that if we shared a group, we must have something in common, and as the group had accepted me already I was “pre-vetted.”
This emphasises the importance of belonging to groups.
Of those who replied and were willing to take a call to discuss in detail, (20), I got the following feedback:
In order: they would be most likely to invite people to connect if:
- They already communicated on another social channel, particularly twitter.
- They read a post they liked in a group or noticed someone on the new “most influential” list.
- People who are suggested via linked In on “People You May Know” lists. (The more connections you have and the more groups you belong to, the higher the likelihood of appearing on these lists.) Displaying
relevent information from the top line of your profile is key here. You
have 140 characters and this shows below your name in the “people you
might know.” tab.
- People that come up on key-word searches. That means getting your key-words right and separating them with commas.
- People who answered their questions.
- Via e-mails received with a Linked In connect button.
- Via “connect with” buttons or invites on blogs and other places.
When looking at profiles to decide if to connect the top influencers in the decision were:
- A professional photo or one they recognised from your avatar in another channel. Be consistent with your picture. No picture, no connection.
- Your professional top line matching their area of interest.
- A recent update in the last 7 days. professional not personal content.
- Contact details for follow-up. (put this at the top of your profile.)
- A well written summary and objective.
- If you have an embedded blog most included this in things they look at on your profile.
- Whilst nearly everyone responded that they were impressed to see slide share presentations on the profile (professional image), most did not look at them unless they found the title really interesting and
- Most importantly, no one looked at recommendations at all, and gave them little credence. People with lots of recommendations, (more than 10), were seen as fake.
- The whole twitter feed on a profile was seen as irritating or irrelevant. Don’t do it!
- Interestingly, most reported that they go back to profiles in more detail once relationships were established, then they go back to profiles and look at the downloads (box.net, blog entries and slide
share presentations.) In particular they go back to the profile from
group posts, group comments or mails from update notifications.
- Most will look for contact details on Linked In first before Google. Make sure yours are prominent.
- Most fed back that they found relevent links on updates to be the most likely reason to engage with someone.
Other interesting feedback included:
- The least popular thing about recruiters using Linked In is random job approaches without any prior engagement or jobs with no real relevance.
- Hiring managers in the sample were unlikely to connect with connection requests post interview but would accept them pre-interview, would be more likely to engage and respond to e-mails via Linked In than
a standard e-mail. They also admitted peeking on-line for comments post
interview on Linked or Facebook. (Always be positive!).
- Some of the Hiring managers compare the Linked In profile with the resume received. If they differ, you are unlikely to get the job.
- Most said they couldn’t care less what you have pictures of Facebook, and while they wouldn’t friend you, they would accept a Cow from you or fight you in Mafia wars! (Worth checking for this. I never
would have thought of it!)
- Most are comfortable engaging with you on twitter and are impressed by this, though not about the job or interview in detail, other than “good to have met you. Very interested!” Always check the Linked In
profile for twitter profiles and follow. This is the most likely route
- Most stated that they had been made uncomfortable during the interview if the applicant refered to personal detail about them found on-line. (like where they had been on holiday!) Research is impressive,
but profesional detail only.
Where I am 100% in agreement with Tim, and he brings this up in the comments section of his blog is that once you’ve connected, you need to get social. collecting names, like collecting stamps won’t get you
employed. As always, my best advice is be social in your job search!
Thanks to everyone that replied to my questions, it has been enlightening, and is quite different to a lot of the advice that is flying around. It has taken me about 100 hours to complete but has been
well worth while.
Subscribe to this blog for more detail on this research and some interviews with some of the respondents on what they really want to see from Social Job Seekers.
Keep it social in your job search and be lucky!
Links Mentioned In This Post:
Best Practice In Writing Linked In Invitations By Tim Tyrell-Smith ...
The Social Job Search (My New Blog)