It’s OK to Refuse a LinkedIn Request

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There are times when it makes sense to turn down connection requests on LinkedIn.

You don’t have to accept LinkedIn connection requests from everyone.

According to MarketWatch, quality over quantity is important when dealing with social networks. But if you’re going to turn down an unwanted request on LinkedIn, do it respectfully, or be prepared to pay the price.

Kelly Blazek, who ran an online Cleveland jobs bank listing, made headlines earlier this year when she sent a scathing rejection response to a young job seeker’s connection request on LinkedIn. Here’s an excerpt from Blazek’s response:

Your invite is inappropriate, beneficial only to you, and tacky. Wow, I cannot wait to let every 26-year-old job seeker mine my top-tier marketing connections to help them land a job.

Not surprisingly, Blazek’s biting response went viral. She was publicly humiliated and forced to apologize. She also had to relinquish the Communicator of the Year award she had received from the International Association of Business Communicators in Cleveland.

Lesson learned. You’re well within your right to pick and choose your connections on LinkedIn, but use some discretion and respect. LinkedIn is used for professional networking, so it may seem counterproductive to toss out potentially valuable business contacts. Picking and choosing can be overwhelming, The Washington Post said:

LinkedIn combines the politics of job seeking, the nuances of business etiquette and the still new-to-many social protocols of online networking, making it an invaluable yet at times perplexing professional tool. On the one hand, LinkedIn says you should only accept invitations from people you know and trust. On the other, the site itself likes to suggest “people you may know.”

Accepting all connection requests is risky because it opens the door for potential spam or an association with someone who reflects badly on you as a professional. Nicole Williams, a career coach and spokesperson for LinkedIn told the Post:

Your connections should reflect your professional network. It does reflect who you are.

Still not sure whether you should connect? The Post recommends following the advice of social media maven Alexandra Samuel, which she detailed in this blog post:

“Would you do a favor for this person, or ask a favor of them?” she wrote. “If so, make the connection. If not, take a pass.”

Do you use LinkedIn? Have you refused a connection request? Share your comments below or on our Facebook page.

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