The Value of Being Kind On LinkedIn

Picture of Tom Greet

Tom Greet

šŸ’„šŸ‰The Rugby-Playing Recruiter!

Another month, which can only mean one thing: It’s the return of another article by yours truly.

To those of you that came back, thank you! The positive feedback that I get from these gives me the motivation to write the next one.

As each month passes, I start to notice things that I hadn’t noticed before on LinkedIn, and maybe that’s because I was concentrating on what’s important – helping those that want to find a perfect recruitment role that’s going to fit with everything that they want.

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One thing that I have noticed in recent months is the increased rudeness/bullying on LinkedIn. Not necessarily towards me, but more towards those that post about positivity with a full-length mirror selfie of the poster attached.

I will be completely transparent here. I am not a huge fan of these. I feel that they actually take away from genuine people that post on here to try and improve their businesses.

It’s fine to talk about your business having a record month, getting the promotion you’ve worked hard for, or a particular milestone that you’ve hit in business. These show that you’ve worked hard and it’s paid off, and this should be celebrated. 99% of those on here will agree that this is what LinkedIn is all about.

Unfortunately, these are often usurped by the aforementioned posts in terms of the interaction they get. I’ll give you an example:

  1. My post about donating blood and encouraging others to do the same on account of a national shortage of donors that was designed to drive this up and hopefully save a few more lives – 5 reactions
  2. A woman whose Uber driver told her she was too pretty to be in business (with a full-length selfie in the mirror attached) – 20,000 reactions
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However, I’ve found the perfect way to react to these posts. It’s mad, but it’s working wonders for me. And it’s the following:

Say nothing and get on with your day

Now I know what you’re all thinking: “Tom, you’re a mad man, that’ll never work in a million years!” Well, believe it or not, it does. And the most important thing about it is that it spares you from saying anything nasty that might upset someone.

But there’s an old saying that links in with the above, and it’s one I suggest you all take note of:

“Manners cost nothing, but ignorance will cost you everything.”

In recruitment, and indeed on LinkedIn, this statement has never been more relevant than it is today. The amount of pure hatred emanating from so many in relation to the post mentioned above just wasn’t necessary. As mentioned, I wasn’t a fan, but to try and bring someone down because of it is something that I wouldn’t do. And I don’t know why anyone would.

You may often be able to blame this bullying behaviour on the fact that maybe the person who said it was having a bad day, or they may be tired or be going through things in their personal life which, unfortunately, find their way into the working day. However, I’m of the opinion that being unkind is never justified unless you’re provoked. And even then, only the most extreme circumstances call for it.

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The same can be said about any outreach from a recruiter or salesperson on here. If it’s not for you, be polite or just ignore it. Saying nothing at all is always better than being rude.

Growing up, I was taught to be polite and courteous from a young age. That’s what happens when your Dad was the Deputy Head at a private school. He taught me so many life skills that have allowed me to be a (somewhat) fully functioning member of society. But if you knew his daily schedule for the 31 years he was in the job, you’d probably think that he had moments where he just lost it.

I’ll explain further. He’d leave the house at 6:30am every day (including Saturdays for 25 of those years), and wouldn’t return home until 6:30pm at the very earliest. During that time he’d take meals with the School Borders, ran the sports schedule (Initially he was the PE teacher and never stopped this), took lessons as expected, as well as drive the 1st teams in football, rugby and cricket to their away matches at least once a week during term-time.

If we add that up (not including mealtimes), that’s about 84 hours per week minimum, 39 weeks per year, for 31 years. That’s just over 87,000 hours of work! Let’s put this into further perspective – you’d need to do 40 hours a week, every week for 42 years just to match this.

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He must have exploded countless times, right?

Well amazingly, I can count on less than one hand the amount of times he did. And this was all down to remembering something simply – “If you have nothing nice to say, don’t say anything at all”. It’s something that he lived by, even when it felt as if it would have been easier to just be brutal with the person he was speaking to.

So with this mentality, I try and be polite and kind to everyone that I speak to on LinkedIn, even if I don’t agree with their content or general attitude. However, 5 years in recruitment has confirmed that not everyone thinks this way. Here’s a snapshot of some of the messages that I have received this year alone:

  • “No thanks, I’m (insert recruitment company here) ’til I die!” (actually shortened the word ‘until’ in this as well)
  • “Unless it’s a Delivery role with Facebook or Amazon, don’t bother talking to me!”
  • “You’re wasting my time, don’t bother contacting me again.”

And my personal favourite:

  • “You’ve only got 5 years of experience, why should I listen to you?”
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The last one blocked me immediately after sending that message. Which makes me believe that maybe I’d just caught them on a bad day. I’d hope so anyway, as anyone who gets that annoyed unnecessarily has got a few screws loose.

Having been on the receiving end of such responses, it’s not nice. So my advice? Be kind. That’s it, it’s not difficult or radical, it’s how we should all be to each other. After all, you don’t know what personal battles someone may be going through, and one bad message could tip them over the edge. Don’t risk it!

Here are a few types of unacceptable behaviour on LinkedIn that could make the person in question seem like a bit of a dick (to put it frankly)

1.) Ghosting

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A bugbear for all recruiters and salespeople alike. You’ve been speaking to a candidate or client/prospect for a while, you’ve put some real effort into understanding what they want/need moving forwards, and you’ve set the wheels in motion accordingly. You start to get some results, maybe in the form of an interview invite or a brilliant candidate for them.

Only thing is, you now can’t get hold of them, as they aren’t returning any of your correspondence.

In the mind of the recruiter, when this happens, it can sometimes feel personal (although, it probably isn’t). But the fact is you’ve spent your valuable time trying to help someone as you trusted they would stick with you through the process, and they haven’t done that. It can be a bitter pill to swallow.

Unfortunately, it also happens with some recruiters towards candidates or clients, and this is also not on. If someone you are working with messages or calls you, contact back. Anything else is unacceptable.

2.) Being Rude:

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I’ve touched on this above with some of my experiences, but it needs to be rebuffed. Before responding to any messages on here that may be trying to sell you something (be that a new job or a service), think of the following:

  • The person sending it has no idea what kind of day you’re currently having, so if it’s bad, don’t make theirs worse too
  • They are also trying to earn a living – just like you are. We spend more time working than we do with our own families, so don’t make their professional life harder than it already is.
  • They believe that what they offer is worthwhile of a message, don’t make them feel bad for doing so.
  • If you don’t like/need what they have, politely decline. It cost you nothing, and you’ve retained your integrity by doing so.

3.) Belittling

This one will only serve to make you look like a miserable sod in all honesty. We all know people that do this, and you may even be doing it whilst reading this article. If so, it may be worth you being reminded of the following:

You are not better than anyone else. And if you think you are, get over yourself.

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We all had to start somewhere, usually at the bottom. We all worked hard to advance up the ladder, and our success took years of hard work and sacrifice. If you’re in a leadership position, I thoroughly believe that you’ve earned where you are today.

But whilst you’re already there, others are now trying to get there, and if you feel that you’re better than them, then that solves nothing except only to further increase your own ego. Your job title is not an indication of being better than anyone else, so don’t treat it as such

The advice here is to treat everyone at any level with the same respect.

4.) Lack of Respect

Touched upon in the last point, but the person messaging you has had enough respect for you to make contact as they believe they may be able to help. How does it feel to show absolutely no respect at all through being rude or acting like you’re better than them? Does it make you feel better? I hope so, as that will be the only positive thing to come out of this.

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There is one vitally important thing to remember alongside not doing any of the above. And that is how human memory works.

If you read the last article that I wrote, you’ll have seen a bit in there about reviews. To jog your memory, numerous studies have suggested that people are more likely to review somewhere if they’ve had a bad experience, rather than a good one.

In other words, we as humans seem to have a tendency to remember bad things that have happened rather than good. The same goes with bad experiences on here. They’ll not be forgotten for a very long time.

I’m slightly different in that sense. A few years ago, after a few sessions with a counsellor, I was diagnosed with a condition called ‘Hyperthymesia’. In simple terms, I remember most things that have happened to me, including the date they happened and where I was when they did. And what’s more is that I struggle to forget any of them, even if I try. This includes interactions with candidates and clients.

Have a Google on Hyperthymesia, it’s an interesting read!

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I’ll give you an example of how this works. Years ago, I was ghosted by a candidate. They’d come to me for help and I sympathised with them and said I would do everything that I could to help them. But as their LinkedIn wasn’t updated, I needed a CV – which they said they’d get it over to me that evening.

So what happened next? Yes, you’ve guessed it – I was GHOSTED! I never heard from the candidate again, despite my repeated attempts to contact them over the next couple of weeks.

That was until over 2 YEARS later when that candidate contacted me on LinkedIn. They had now left recruitment and were working as a salesperson for a jobs board. They got in touch with me to offer a trial of it. As I’d remembered the ghosting incident, I felt that they had a bit of a nerve contacting me like that, and declined the offer. If I had had a better experience with them as a candidate, I may have been more inclined to look deeper into it, and could have become a long-term customer. But due to past experience, there was absolutely no chance of this.

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So, things to take away from this article:

  • If you don’t like a post, they don’t need to know how you feel about it. Just ignore it and move on. If everyone does this, I guarantee that those types of posts will start to disappear.
  • Be nice to everyone, no matter what level you are in your role or the type of day you’re having. Who knows? You may make the other person’s day better because of it.
  • If you feel the need to be rude, belittle or mock someone for posting something on here, then leave LinkedIn altogether. It serves no purpose and makes the platform a more toxic place. Twitter is great for that, so get on there and go nuts by all means.

And possibly the most important fact of all:

  • Your behaviour here is an extension of the image of your company. If you’re rude, then in the view of the person on the receiving end, so is your company. Don’t let your employer/business suffer due to your own insecurities.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this article. Have a great day – I truly mean that!! šŸ˜Š

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