Being on Linkedin with your full professional profile including previous employments, buzz and keywords means you are likely to be found by people looking your skills. When I say people, nine times out of ten it will be a recruiter. In order for them to contact you over Linkedin, they will have to either send an InMail or get introduced by a third person. InMails are limited/costly and introductions take time, therefore the recruiter may just try to connect with you direct.
Sometimes you get a full introduction email stating why the person wants to link up with you. Sometimes you don’t at all, and you can only guess what the purpose is. Whatever the case may be, the big question is what to do with the invitation.
Should you accept?
The answer to this depends completely on your situation. If you are actively looking for a new position and everyone knows this, absolutely yes. If you are secretly looking for a new position and nobody knows about it, especially not your boss, the answer will be no.
Does accepting mean I am looking for a job?
Well, some people could interpret it that way. I would say it depends on the culture where you work. Some companies cultures are very open about people being headhunted, others are very secretive about it. If others are linking up to recruiters and get no grief for it, you will probably get away with it as well.
Even if you are working for a business where being headhunted is a taboo, there can of course be several legitimate reasons to linking up with a recruiter. You might be involved in internal recruitment for your business. You might have changed jobs recently and it’s only natural to link up to the recruiter. If this isn’t the case however, you linking to a recruiter will raise a few eyebrows. You linking up to five recruiters in one week will send a few warning signals to your manager.
But who will know?
By adding the recruiter to your network, you are telling the world that you are now linked up as it will appear on both your and the recruiter’s home feeds. All your connections will be able to see it and they will draw their own conclusions.
Can they now see my connections?
That depends on your settings! Some recruiters will be very gentle about this and ask you for permission to speak to contacts of yours. Others will just go for it and call everyone up in an instant. By selecting “not allowed”, you stop anyone from browsing your connections. Be aware that they will still come up in searches, there is no stopping that.
Trick o’ the trade
Accept invitations in bundles. Let’s say you have received four invitations, by accepting them all at the same time they will come up on your feed together. You would hope that your manager and other folks are too busy to check up every person you link up to and therefore you might just get away with linking up to a recruiter.
Another way of doing it is the old bad-news-on-Facebook method; do it when you assume nobody will be seeing it. This could be a Saturday or even a Sunday night; people will hopefully have better things to do than trawling Linkedin at these times in the week.
As with all things on Linkedin and social media, be aware of the consequences of your actions. You are sharing your activities with the world so if you link up to recruiters, be prepared to answer questions.
Do you accept recruiter invitations? If you are a recruiter, do you send unsolicited invitations? Share your thoughts in the comments!