It’s happened again — that special moment of social media awkwardness when someone who has applied for a job with NewmanPR invites me to connect on LinkedIn.

It must be similar to how Anne B. felt in seventh grade when I, through an intermediary, offered my ID bracelet as a symbol of my deep regard for her. She returned it — through an intermediary — so I know what those of you who have tried to connect with a potential employer must feel like now, reading this.

Maybe it’s something college employment counselors started telling grads, that it was a good idea to connect on LinkedIn with the hiring manager of the firm where you were applying. Perhaps the idea is the HM would look over one’s LI page and realize that the entire future of the company rests on hiring one immediately.

That, kids, is wishful thinking. Instead, it places the hiring manager in an awkward position. Does having a connection to an applicant on LI give that applicant an advantage over unconnected candidates? Does it make the HM more favorably inclined to the connected candidate? And what happens when, inevitably, the connected candidate is not hired, yet remains connected? Am I setting myself up for a string of bitter drunken midnight In-Messages?

This has happened a couple dozen times now, more frequently since I started using LinkedIn as a resource for identifying candidates. In only one instance did I actually hire the candidate — and once I did, I embarrassed the stuffing out of him about it.

But he is (I assume) happily employed and we are now connected on LinkedIn, since I have no compunction about connecting with co-workers, even if at some point in the future they might no longer be co-workers, voluntarily or otherwise.

So, if you want to connect with me, impress me with your resume, amaze me with your writing test and knock my socks off in your interview. Then, once you’re hired, let’s connect on LinkedIn.

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