It has taken LinkedIn a long time to become mainstream and relevant in terms of networking. It has emerged to be the leading platform for professionals, businesses, job searching, hiring and B2B marketing. (PS: We still feel they are experimenting with their job postings model and it ends up being a little steep in terms of cost).
Along with popularity come a lot of new users (clearly not early adopters) who send random connection requests (Surely, you have received a LinkedIn request from someone who is not even closely related to your network). As your list of followers increases, you need to create very clear divisions of your contacts. The prudent way (as learnt from Mike Krupit from Trajectify), is to divide your list into Types A , B and C, ordered by the importance of a business contact, in the descending order. Type A being the contacts that you should be in touch with regularly. Type B are the contacts that you should be in touch with once in a while and Type-C are the contacts that are good professional connections that you may not be in touch with regularly but are good to be connected with. Anything below the C-type should not be in your network.
Now, without further ado let us introduce you to the worst offenders. These are mostly below the C-type of contacts, but if you look at your list of connections and classify it into lists, you may see some of these in the C-type category of your connections. Chances are high that you have never met this person in real life, or their post could be on your timeline/feed because one of these resources from the mentioned category interacted with such a post/individual.
Let’s take a close look at some of these individuals
The International Job Promiser
We are hiring for positions in UK, Germany, US etc. There are no details about the job, the followers of the post are asked to write something in the comment box. If you have actually gotten a job via this route, we would absolutely love to know your story. But more often than not these are methods to create email lists which are sold multiple times to bombard you and eventually make you spend money. There are very genuine head hunters and man power consulting companies on LinkedIn (that’s the primary motive of the platform), but be weary of such characters having not much credibility, having poor connections and promising something which is too good to be true.
The Unnecessary Networker
“A quote from someone” + “hashtags”, with or without a video which is clearly out of place with respect to the network done on a consistent basis. These individuals would rarely publish original content. If you follow the comments they post on other posts/profiles, they are extremely generic in nature – “good post”, “I agree” etc. Clearly a networker having a lack of original thinking and wearing an influencer tag on their profile is someone you should not interact much with. You might not block them just to ensure you see their highly irrelevant posts, but keep in mind, they are again part of the C-type category.
The Pseudo Latest-Tech Addict
AI| Blockchain| ML| Data Science and the list goes on. Any new technology that comes up has to be added to their profiles. These self-proclaimed experts do not understand that it takes years to be become a subject matter expert in even one field, and these technologies mentioned above are extremely challenging to master. Just knowing the definition of these terms does not make you an expert. This is usually done by freelancers or by someone who has started a new business and wants to get some eye balls or a sales/business development person who does not know what he is selling, but unfortunately this is dilution of expertise and making you look like a mediocre person in all these fields. These individuals can be found at the intersection of Type B and Type C.
The Fake Speaker/Motivator
Sharing real life experiences which probably never happened where they showed that they had a heart of Gold. How many times have we seen such stories? The way these stories are written are also worth a special mention, where the user is teased initially then on clicking for more the story is revealed. The worst one is when these real-life experiences are shared by many people together! I find that very hard to believe that all of these individuals helped bring a smile the 90-year-old homeless widow at the same time. Not demeaning motivation speakers, but making things up it not how you motivate people. Motivational speakers have years of experience behind them which comes from their numerous encounters, failures and other humbling experiences. There are certain speakers who have gone through very tough phases their personal lives and overcome them, let’s not ridicule the speaker motivator tag in such a way.
The Fired/Unemployed/Unemployable Curser
These are the ones who post information in bad taste. They curse their past employer and curse anyone who posts anything which goes against their myopic vision. This person will question the recruitment methods of companies and they do that quite vehemently, they question packages, skills tenures etc. They need to stop victimizing themselves and search for a new job. These people create a toxic environment for themselves and they will get a lot of support from other type C personalities.
Despite professional networks being helpful in the B2B networking, young professionals need to understand and master the skill of real networking. Always keep in mind that relationships are built in a real environment not a virtual one. Along with that, keep your personal/business profile clean, try interacting only with type A and type B players. Choose carefully whom you interact with as your whole network is watching!