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Wednesday, May 04, 2011

I’m Tired of People Wanting to Network With Me

Dear Evil HR Lady,

Will you please stop telling people to network in order to find jobs? I appreciate the need to keep in contact with former colleagues and to speak with people I meet at professional conferences. I know that I will some day want a new job and I hope my contacts will help me.

But, I’m happily employed. In fact, the problem is I have a good job with a good company. I swear everyone I’ve ever passed on the street has tried to get me to get them a job. If I worked with you in the past, it might make sense. But, just because your cousin is my next door neighbor, doesn’t mean you now have an “in” at my company.

I get LinkedIn requests from people I’ve never met, but they’ve seen my name along with my company, so they send a request. I’m tired of it. Tell people to stop. I feel guilty not helping these people, but I also refuse to recommend someone if I don’t know what kind of worker they are.

I'm Tired Of People Wanting to Network With Me


Jeremy said...

I couldnt agree more! I had some people who had not talked to me since HS add me on Facebook, after they came to apply for a job with me recently and think I can work miracles now.

Jennifer V. Miller said...

This is a true occupational hazard of the HR profession. I agree completely with you that if you can't speak to their qualifications, then why would you put your reputation on the line.

People who ask this of you don't understand the concept of networking; first and foremost it's about building relationships. Only *then* can a person legitimately ask for a favor or referral.

Michael said...

Where is the harm in sharing a name, or making an introduction. You may be missing out on great talent. Also, your paid forward networking now may be very important to you someday in return, when it feels like a burden now.

It only takes a moment to help someone. Stretch yourselves!

Mike C. said...

I think it's important that criticism be tempered with the understanding that if you found yourself unable to pay your bills and take care of your family you'd be making choices and going to others for help that you would have never considered before.

Matt said...

This person is very short-sighted. Networking isn't just for people looking for a job right now - it forms the basis for future work relationships (within your company and between companies), future moves in your own career, and keeping up with industry trends and personalities. If you're a professional of any level, maintaining and expanding your professional network is part of your job. And if it's not part of your job, you're working for a very poor company.

Zach said...

Interesting. Maybe the people you run in to just don't know how to network properly and view peoples as tools to get what they want instead of showing how they can contribute and not be a problem but a solution. My mindset changed when I read the book, "Great Work Great Career," by Stephen R. Covey and Jennnifer Colosimo. Check it out, it might be a suggestion for all those people you met.

Anonymous said...

Some of these comments seem to suggest that networking is a 'you-scratch-my-back-now-I'll-get-yours-later' kind of thing. I would never add someone I didn't know to my network on Linked In (Actually I did once and I regret it) and I try not to add people that I couldn't give SOME kind of opinion on. I mean "that guy and I worked at the same organization but never worked together in any capacity" is not a useful part of your network unless you either had a glowing (or super negative) reputation throughout your organization such that even those whom you had not worked with knew of you.

I don't WANT to be linkedin buddies with someone I don't know or barely know. I feel it cheapens the connections to the people I DO know and DID work with where we really good give honest recommendations for each other. (even negative ones)

gbrown said...

Sounds like these people who are approaching you have difficulty with actual conversations and thus are trying to compensate with virtual ones. They should play around with this new "conversation rehearsal" website ( which lets people rehearse conversations online and get feedback on their mistakes. It's an easy way to learn how to connect with fellow humans without resorting to phoney social media connections.

Film Co. Lawyer said...

I hope this person annoyed by networking doesn't work in the legal field or in entertainment. Networking is everything in business, especially the entertainment field. If you refuse to network with me, you'd better believe I'll remember it & tell others about it if you ask them for help.

The author of the letter strikes me as someone who is downright rude about it; doing that in entertainment can ruin you since today's PA could be tomorrow's CEO, casting director, or other important person you don't want to risk angering. God help you if you tick off an entertainment attorney.

You also never know who is friends with whom. Being nasty to some important person's friends will really not endear you to him/her & I promise they hear about it in entertainment.

If you want to be an entrepreneur, you'd also better very good at networking. It's in your best interest to help others since that comes back to you & they might know about things that could benefit you greatly but won't bother if you were a jerk to them before.

Finally, let's talk about the future generation of professionals. You aren't going to be in that job forever, you know (you will die sooner or later). How do you expect the up & comers to do things right if you never give them direction? I'm sure people mentored YOU & helped YOU get where you are; pay it forward.

Now, on that same note there are reasonable vs. unreasonable requests. Being a contact doesn't mean I'm going to introduce you to famous people or get you a meeting w/someone at my company. Even being related to me doesn't get you special treatment in my business. The entertainment industry is highly competitive & asking me for those favors when I don't know you is akin to asking me to sleep with you.

However, I have no objections to giving advice on getting into the business as a lawyer or giving someone something I have free access to. It doesn't serve my interests to be nasty to people & I want people to be motivated to help ME when I need it. We call it a "community."

If something is unreasonable, just say "no" & if so inclined, ask if they also plan to request sexual favors from you since that's how uncomfortable the request makes you feel.

Sergey Gorbatov said...

I agree with those who believe that networking is a strategic activity and you cannot shut yourself out of all the benefits that it brings along. Additionally, networking does not work if it is about providing services and "one hand washes the other" type of thing - networking is about helping others with information and not really giving them the job. You might be doing your company a great favor by facilitating acquisition of "new blood".