Why I Disagree with the People You May Know LinkedIn Feature

By Nigel Cliffe

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People you may know on LinkedIn.

Is this feature EVER useful?

Where Is the Feature Located?

Found when you’re on your ‘My Network’ tab on LinkedIn, the platform will tell you how many mutual Connections you have in common with the people it suggests you Connect with and present you with a Connect button underneath their Profile images. LinkedIn also suggests ‘People you may have worked with’ and ‘School alumni you may know’. Scroll down and you’ll see a section called ‘More suggestions for you’ with another ‘People’ tab recommending more people the LinkedIn platform believes you should Connect with.

Whilst the ‘Groups’, ‘Companies’ and ‘Hashtags’ tabs in the aforementioned section can sometimes prove insightful I tend to take the following approach when deciding who to Connect with:

Occasionally, when deciding to accept or reject a Connection request, I use the 3rd option and send the person wishing to Connect with me this message:

“Before accepting your kind invitation to connect, may I ask what it is about my profile that attracted you to wish to connect?”

Someone once replied:

“Because LinkedIn told me I knew you!”

Flip the scenario around, would you ever accept a Connection request from a stranger, who provided no context as a basis for their request?

Just in case you are wondering too – I can’t recall EVER using this feature to decide whom to connect to.

I can recall on very few occasions the feature ever showing me anyone I was actually likely to know!

I want to be in control of my network.

Am I alone? Have you found this people you may know feature useful?

LinkedIn features, People you may know

What My Connections and the LinkedIn Community Said When I Asked:

To kick the conversation off to an interesting start, Ursula McBride, an experienced sales professional in the postal distribution and print sectors, answered my question with:

“Nigel, it may depend on what level contacts have paid for on #LinkedIn? I sometimes get ‘contact can introduce you to ‘contact’ and in some cases, they are relevant potential connections.”

This actually resulted in me having more questions. I’m not too keen on the ‘contact can introduce you to this contact’ feature. I’d like to be in control of who I recommend unless I’ve missed something? Also, I wonder how what people have ‘paid for’ on LinkedIn influences how they get recommended to others and who they see in their Connection suggestions?

Stewart Harper provided an example of when the feature had proven useful:

“I’ve occasionally found it useful, if a former colleague wasn’t previously on LinkedIn it has sometimes suggested them to me soon after they’ve joined….. but 95% of the time, not!”

Lorenzo Castillo, a Software Engineer at LinkedIn, shared that he has found many old classmates and colleagues using this feature, whilst networking event organiser, Tracey Earl thought it was handy when she first started using LinkedIn and was trying to grow her network but she tends to not use it now. Billy Gierson, Director and experienced Facilitator at Perth Innovation Ltd reported a similar experience:

“When I first started using LinkedIn I found it very useful for finding people I had lost touch with, but over the years I have found it less and less useful.”

Meanwhile, Managing Director at AQR, Doug Strycharczyk stated that he never uses the feature, Marketer, Sonia Begum declared she believed the feature is never useful and Customer Journey Mapping expert Nigel Greenwood told me he is among those who never make use of it.

Technical Sales Engineer at AUMA Actuators Limited, Kevin Deutsch said:

“Interestingly Nigel having never bothered before, in recent months, I have looked at ‘People you may know in a similar role’ and also ‘Other suggestions’ and found a few people of relevance to connect to. Do you know what factors/algorithm is used to decide who gets suggested here?”

Unfortunately, I don’t know how the LinkedIn algorithm works but wish I did!

I just thought I’d ask if anyone found the people you may know feature because one day, I might ask LinkedIn to offer something a little more useful!

I want to control my connections and relationships on LinkedIn.

Pro Tip: The key to succeeding on LinkedIn is to engage. LinkedIn’s new algorithm updates also mean the platform elevates content users are most likely to join in the conversation about and will give greater visibility to conversations with things that encourage a response (like opinions). So, asking your network intelligent and relevant questions like the one I asked enquiring into whether people found the people you may know feature useful, shows you value their opinions and works a trick at generating Comments and opening a dialogue.

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