I regularly conduct phone screens and in-person interviews for my US based employer. After conducting a phone screen with a candidate, they have asked to join my network on LinkedIn. They have not yet received a response from the company, nor do I know what that response will be.

Barring company policy, is there a standard etiquette to handling this, such as accepting, declining with a message, ignoring, etc?

There are a few questions that touch on this topic, but from the perspective of the candidate adding the interviewer, or the interviewer adding the candidate, but none about the standard etiquette of an interviewer's response to a candidates LinkedIn request.

  • I don't know either but I'd sure like to! – Mel Reams Oct 5 '16 at 1:57

Personally, I treat this as any other contact I might meet at a trade show or open event. If the candidate is an interesting person in the industry, I don't see a reason not to. If it's clutter in my account, I usually don't. Some people avoid clutter, some don't, that's just personal preference.


I would ignore the request for now. You may need to give this person some bad news if they don't get the job. Or your company might, and then they might want to discuss their issues with you or something. Better just to ignore it.


Is there a standard etiquette to handling this, such as accepting, declining with a message, ignoring, etc?

No. It's up to every individual using LinkedIn to determine who they connect with and when. Many people only connect to people they've worked with or otherwise know well. LinkedIn L.I.O.Ns will, by definition, accept every request. Recruiters in particular and, to some extent, hiring managers tend to fall somewhere in between. While they are usually the one to initiate a connection with job candidates, most will accept invitations to connect.

That said there is no universal standard or a real best practice. Accepting is fine. Declining and explaining why you did so is fine. Ignoring the request or delaying your decision is fine. About the only way to send a wrong message would be to decline without explanation, as doing so may rub some candidates the wrong way. You should keep in mind that a lot of candidates will invariably try to glean some deeper meaning from the acceptance/refusal of their invitation. But there's not much you can do about that.


It really depends upon your employer's policies and expectations, and the most appropriate people to ask is your employer.

If you do a lot of candidate management including answering their questions, then you employer should let you use Linkedin as a point of contact. The drawback is when you change jobs, and all your contacts need to be reassigned.

That situation is mitigated if your recruiter group is a small group and you all use a single point of contact on Linkedin. Scale becomes problematic if you are say a Google recruiter and the candidate to recruiter ratio is off the charts. In which case, your employer may choose to let you use your individual Linkedin point of contact, with the understanding that they will have to manage the eventuality that you'll leave eventually.

As I said, it all depends upon the employer's candidate/recruitment ratio situation, the number of recruiters available to your employer, whether your employer actually has a policy and more likely in the case of most employers - that your employer has not thought at all about the subject and is choosing to let you handle the issue by yourself.

You won't know unless you ask your employer point blank.

As a side note, I once asked one of my employers a question that they had not thought about. The employer immediately reacted by "volunteering" me to lead the effort to come up with a policy for that issue. My staff and management did not let the fact that they liked me get in the way of treating me like an eager beaver :) Since the effort was successful, someone not involved in the effort took credit for the result and my part was made invisible in plain sight :)

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