There isn’t a full consensus on whether you should accept requests on LinkedIn, when you don’t know the person initiating the request.
Arguably, it’s a gray area.One article, on the website Enterpreneur, warns against it.
Three possible red flags for LinkedIn requests, according to Kim Lachance Shadrow, are:
You don’t know them.
They haven’t sent you a customizable message.
They seem spammy.
Shadrow comes down on the side of the ‘nays.’
Connection requests are nothing like friend requests. I think they’re much more serious and that the professionals I align myself with on LinkedIn should reflect nothing less than positively on me and I on them.
On the other hand, some articles lean on the ‘yea’ side.
Firstly, a post on LinkedIn itself; by Martin Eectors.
Eectors appeals to the ‘degrees of separation’ theory. The more contacts you have within a few degrees, the more smooth and efficient your engagement might be.
Because if you do me a favour, then when you need a favour back, through my connections and other 3 degree mega connectors (people with over 10k connections), the chances that you find a solution less than 3 degrees away just got exponentially improved.
Another article from Sarah Santacroce, is also a ‘yea.’ But a heavily qualified one. Santacroce offers some suggestions about when it is appropriate to accept requests from people you don’t know; and when it is not.
It is ultimately unsurprising to see dissensus on a matter like this. Clearly there is no single universally held view; but then again, why should their be? Ultimately, I think it comes down to radical individualism, and personal responsibility. For this one, there is a middle ground between “never” and “always.” How to find the best patch of ground, however, is debatable. Reading articles like the ones I’ve mentioned above can help.