I love Linkedin as both a business networking portal and recruitment tool but boy, oh boy do some things drive me crazy! Here are my top 17 ways to be annoying on Linkedin.
Before you read on…WARNING…this is a Jules rant with sarcasm and good old-fashioned honesty not for the faint hearted and with absolutely no intention to offend 😉
Great! You're still with me.
Linkedin is a social network for businesses. It's not Facebook, Twitter or (gasp!) Tinder, yet more and more, I find that people are not only annoying on Linkedin but lack the manners you would expect from a professional portal.
It's not just me having a moan. Many of my friends, colleagues and business contacts are becoming increasing exasperated by the lack of Linkedin etiquette (also known as common sense) and are reducing the amount of time they spend on the site. This is such a shame as it is such a fabulous way of connecting with people you may not get to meet in a traditional face-to-face capacity. Judging by the news feeds on Linkedin, there is a growing trend of negative comments due to the volume of spammy content but that's not the only thing the members are finding annoying on Linkedin.
How to be annoying on Linkedin
1. Sending invitations without a message
I've just had a few days off and therefore a rest from my usual Monday to Friday Linkedin login. 34 invitations are awaiting my response from people wanting to link in with me but I don't know who they are.
If you know me and would like to invite me to connect, I wouldn't expect you to send me a personal message. You are someone I have met, I know what you are about and you are probably busy too so don't want to faff about with a personal message about how beneficial our connection would be.
Making new connections is the name of the game on Linkedin but if I don't know you or have never had any contact with you previously, please don't send the bog-standard greeting, “I'd like to add you to my personal network on Linkedin.” Firstly, it's not very professional and secondly, it's the online equivalent of walking up to a random stranger in the street and asking for their details. That would be rude and a bit weird, don't you think?
Projecting that you can't be bothered to tell me who you are and why you are keen to link in with me, probably means that I can't be bothered to accept.
I used to reply to everyone who didn't send a personal message with an email asking if I had met them before and how could I help. Roughly 1 out of every 25 replied and that was usually to sell me something straight off the bat. Now I don't bother.
2. Connecting with me as a friend
There is an option to check a box for how you know the person you are inviting to connect. If I don't know you and you check the box saying you are my friend, I will not connect because you lied!!
Personally, I don't do this, but there is an option to respond with ‘I don't know this person.' Consequently, if you get too many people responding to your requests in this way, Linkedin will limit your account.
3. Unsolicited emails and invitations
Today, I received an invitation to connect with a complete stranger who checked the friend box with the following message:
I've partnered with the worlds largest private VIP travel community. I'm part of a team expanding the project into Brighton to create it as a vibrant city for travel. I'm curious as to whether you keep your options open to explore another avenue of income?
That was it!
I wonder if the same person would walk up to me in the street and say the same? Maybe? Who knows? I can't comment because I don't know this person!
Needless to say, I deleted the invitation. Connecting with new people is something I love but I receive several of these types of emails every week despite my Linkedin profile clearly stating that I do not wish to be contacted in this way.
Sending a rude response is not something I would ever do but let's pretend I live in la-la land. Let's assume I was having a bad day and as a result was feeling unprofessional and sarcastic (or brave!)
This could have been my reply:
Thank you for your kind invitation to connect and develop our already established friendship. I have some questions.
- Who are you?
- Why did you check the box to say you are my friend when you aren't?
- Have you actually read my profile?
- Do you know what I do for a living?
- Why do you think I would be interested in a travel project expanding into Brighton?
- Do you always ask complete strangers about their income options?
- Are you going to add me to your spam email list?
A complete stranger
OK, so that was a tad sarcastic, but I hope you get my point? Spam emails are a sure fire way to be annoying on Linkedin. The crazy thing is, Linkedin is a brilliant way to get business referrals. What would have happened if I had another contact that was looking for a business opportunity? Maybe I had a contact that was interested in VIP travel in Brighton? If I knew this person and hadn't been spammed, there's a huge chance I would have made an introduction. If I know you, I can recommend you. Simples.
4. Adding connections to your email database
This has been a nightmare lately. If you really want to be annoying on Linkedin then go ahead, add me to your email database without my permission and start sending me spam emails of all the great offers you have. I have lots of time in my day to spend reading them and buying your product or service I know nothing about. Sorry, sarcasm again!
Asking for my permission is more likely to result in me finding out more about your business. Add me to your list without my knowledge and I will delete you, and not recommend you to anyone else.
Furthermore, if you are a candidate, don't add me to your list and send me a weekly email (the same as you send to all other recruiters) with your CV (again) and how much you want to work with me. I know you are sending the same guff to everyone else.
5. Inappropriate photos
If you are a job seeker and your profile pic is one of you out partying hard, kissing your cat, hugging your partner or anything of a semi-sexual nature, I am not going to take you seriously.
Although recommended by some, I don't believe you need to have a professionally shot, corporate style photo (in fact, some can look a bit naff and plastic.) A nice head and shoulders shot of you smiling (not duck-face pouting) is perfectly acceptable. Anything that doesn't make you look like a criminal, possessed or like you want to get laid is fine.
Just as bad is no photo or a logo. Why not? Are you a real person? Are you trying to hide something?
6. Not using your name
When you sign up for Linkedin, you have a first name box and a surname box to fill in. These are for your first name and last name. Obvious, eh?
Not for all it seems. Some ‘professionals' decide to do a bit of ‘blue sky thinking' and create a random new name. Think ‘Superstar Seller' or ‘Technology Genius' and you will understand how annoying on Linkedin that is.
Just use your name! You may be a Technology Genius or Superstar Seller but to the more normal variety of the human race, you will come across as a bit of a wally.
7. Being vague in your summary
You also have an option to create a summary for your profile. This should be either a summary of your business or role. Again, obvious.
Maybe I am getting old and cynical? Scratch that; I am old and cynical! The thing is, if you are vague about what you do, I will assume by default that you have something to hide.
Some examples of recent delights are:
“I make people's dreams come true.” – What are you? Tinkerbell? The Genie in the Lamp?
“Millionaire in the making.” – So, you're skint then and are going to try to sell me stuff?
“Serial entrepreneur.” – Tried it, didn't work, scrapped it? Set it up, got bored, moved on? Had a go, cost too much, off loaded it? Got ants in your pants?
“Making the world a better place, one step at a time.” – Could you try a double step or at least a little jump, please? I am sure everyone on and off of Linkedin will support you in your mission.
“Seeking a new opportunity.” – Great! Good for you! See the above. The expansion of the vague is underway and they are bound to want new staff.
Being vague is a turn-off. Just spit it out and tell me who you are and what you do then we can move towards relationship building.
8. Twitter feeds
It's fine to link your Twitter feed to Linkedin so that it pulls through automatically. What is not appropriate is when you are tweeting 10 times a day and spreading the love on Linkedin. Tweets are annoying on Linkedin when they are not business-like or value adding. If we want a blow-by-blow account of how your day is panning out, we will either follow your Twitter feed or call you for the gossip.
Intelligent people don't need an abundance of hashtags on Linkedin to get the picture #mondayfeeling #nearlytheweekend #tired #saleslegend #ican'tstringasentencetogetherwithoutahashtag Yes! We get it! Now, bore off!
Says me who is having a good, old moan here! Seriously though, Linkedin is not the place to write derogatory comments about other businesses. If you do, it's likely you will have other people (some not in your network) weighing into the conversation, which is more likely to make you look like the bad guy. I have heard of several people who have been blocked from Linkedin due to sharing inappropriate comments and threatened with libel cases!
The same is true with making negative remarks about your current or former employer. Just don't!
If you are looking to make new connections and the recruiter or business owner reads your profile first, only to be confronted by negative updates, you won't come across favourably.
So, you've had a bad experience? Vote with your feet. Don't use the business again and don't recommend them. If you hate your job/ boss that much – leave!
10. Not reading job descriptions
As a recruiter that uses the recruiter licence facility and posts job ads, I am somewhat dismayed (ok, hacked off!) at the number of candidates on Linkedin that don't read job descriptions.
Just like all recruiters, when posting a job, I list the requirements of the role. It is an expectation that you will read what I (and the company) are looking for.
I speak on behalf of all recruiters on the planet (sticking my neck out here but very confident) when I say we will not bother to reply to you if you are way off the mark so please don't then send a follow up email (or several) asking us if we have received your application or that you are enthusiastic, keen, passionate etc etc.
Essential criteria is fluency in Spanish? That means you need to be fluent in the language of Spain. It doesn't matter if you are the top seller or have won an abundance of awards. No lingo = no likey.
Engineering Project Manager with Prince2 Practitioner certification and experience of managing £20m+ projects and teams of at least 150? Please don't tell us you are the ideal candidate for the job because you are currently renovating a rental property.
11. Applying for jobs with only your Linkedin profile
In some instances, this can be ok-ish. More often than not, if you are applying for a job via Linkedin and HONESTLY believe you are the correct for the role, us recruiters want your CV.
Your Linkedin profile probably doesn't have all the info we need and it won't have your contact details on it, so we either have to email you or dig around trying to find your phone number to call you.
I have had several instances over the years where a candidate has applied with their Linkedin profile which wasn't adequate. My response is to send a follow-up email asking them to forward me their CV. Should be straightforward enough, right? No! I have had responses ranging from:
“How do I know you are genuine?” – Er, because you just applied for the job role for a major corporation and I have given you my contact details. Check me out. Duh!
“I don't have a CV.” – Are you kidding me?
“If you want to know more about me, check out my recommendations.” – Yeah, ‘cos we know they are bona fide, watertight.
“Why?” – There are no words!
We are busy people and will need your CV anyway to submit it to the hiring manager. If you want to play cat and mouse, I am sure there's a Tom & Jerry app for that. Just include it in the first instance. PLEASE!
12. Connecting with the hiring manager
This is a major faux pas. You've been invited to an interview and the hiring manager checks out your Linkedin profile, which you spot. The next thing you do is send an invitation to link in with him/ her. Noooooo! Please don't do this. I am begging you!
You may think it will make you seem enthusiastic but trust me when I say this; most, if not all, hiring managers don't like it. Rather than coming across as enthusiastic, it puts the hiring manager in a bit of a pickle and they may assume you are being too familiar. True story.
Even when you have just completed your interview, hang back on the invitation to connect unless the hiring manager has requested it.
Wait until you have the job or if you were unsuccessful, leave it a few weeks and send a polite email as a follow-up.
13. Connecting with the hiring manager to bypass the recruiter
Another way to be annoying on Linkedin with hiring managers is by contacting them directly in an attempt to bypass the recruiter.
The reasons businesses use recruiters are typically a lack of time and that the recruiter is an expert in, well, recruitment.
If a recruiter has advertised a vacancy on behalf of the organisation, then that is the process. You go via the recruiter. Contacting the hiring manager directly may result in steam coming out of his/ her ears and your credibility diminishing. The hiring manager will only pass your CV onto the recruiter anyway so you have, in effect, wasted everyone's time.
You will be contacted by the recruiter if you are right for the job. If you aren't, suck it up, gain the skills required and reapply…through the recruiter!
14. Being rude to a recruiter
If you are on Linkedin and have your career history on there for the world to see, please don't be shocked, angry or appalled when a recruiter contacts you.
You may not be looking for a new opportunity at this moment in time. That's fine. Recruiters respect that and will leave you alone but please don't fire off a rude email to them when you have your CV out there in the public domain.
You can choose not to be open to opportunities within your contact settings but more importantly, stay off the recruitment part of the site and change your privacy settings to show that you are not open to new opportunities!
Recruiters are just doing their job
Recruiters scour Linkedin to find passive candidates (ones who aren't actively applying for jobs) often because their client has requested it. Hiring managers sometimes ask recruiters to contact specific candidates that are either from their network, extended network or a recommendation from a peer in their sector.
Many organisations do not want to advertise their openings. This could be due to sensitive issues, such as replacing someone or it could be that they don't want to go public just yet with their expansion plans/ restructuring.
A recruiter sending you an email about an opportunity is because they want to find out if you are interested. In fact, it's a compliment that an organisation thinks you are worthy of being on their payroll. If you aren't, that's fine. Don't ignore them or be rude, just say you aren't interested.
Good recruiter versus bad recruiter
I'd like to point out here that great recruiters don't spam. They don't send blanket emails to numerous candidates – it's counter productive.
The reason Linkedin works so well in the world of employment is due to the fact that the recruiter can drill down and search on specific criteria. They only contact those who meet all the requirements from the client. If they want an abundance of unqualified applications, they would put an ad online or in the local press.
Unfortunately, there are some inexperienced and unethical recruiters out there (just like every industry) who fire off generic, irrelevant in-mails hoping that one will stick and the perfect candidate will land in their lap. This is frustrating, particularly when it's clear they haven't read your profile before sending the email. I know, I get them too!
Fortunately, we aren't all like that, so please don't tar us with the same brush.
Read the email. If it's irrelevant, unprofessional and spammy; delete it. If not and you are not ready to make a career move, please let the recruiter know you are now interested. Rudeness not needed.
A sure-fire way to be memorable for all the wrong reasons
I can't remember every candidate I have contacted over the past 30 years but I could probably put money on it that I can reel off most of the names of the ones who have sent me awfully rude emails. For the names I can't remember, I would be able to jog my memory when they apply for positions with me and the clients for whom I represent.
Being nasty to a recruiter will make you memorable for all the wrong reasons. As a result, he or she will be very reluctant to put you forward for any other positions for fear of you being rude to the hiring manager.
Conversely, I always remember the candidates who have sent me a polite email saying they aren't interested but can introduce me to someone who would be. I can recall several situations where the person who wasn't interested in that particular position ended up securing their dream role because (when they were looking) I recommended them to an organisation before the role was advertised and passive searches began. That's the power of Linkedin.
It's a tough world out there. Play nice 😉
15. Being overly promotional
Linkedin is not a sales page. There's nothing more annoying on Linkedin than having your news feed stuffed full of sales pitches.
Even worse is offering a discount or special offer to people who add their email address in the comments box. This is spammy and may end up with undesirables collecting your email address for their own list.
By all means, promote your business but aim to add real value to your posts and limit the volume.
16. Sending repeated invitations
Sending an invitation once to connect on Linkedin is fine. Constantly bombarding members with repeated invitations is not.
Perhaps the person is on holiday or not using Linkedin at the moment. Maybe they don't want to connect with you. If you continually pester to connect, you'll just drive the person potty.
17. Asking a new connection for an endorsement or recommendation
Slow down! Asking someone you have newly connected with to recommend or endorse you when they haven't used your products or services is crazy. All it will do is put into question the endorsements and recommendations you already have.
Yes, you are probably brilliant but wait until your connection has something credible and honest to say about you.
Have I missed anything? What things do you find annoying on Linkedin? Let me know in the comments box below.
If you write about a person who is annoying on Linkedin, please do not name and shame! Let's not bash individuals for being annoying on Linkedin. An overview is fine. Thanks!