You send the LinkedIn invitation to your friend or colleague from work and very often it is accepted within 24 hours. Then you see some influential people you have been trying to connect with. You love their articles on LinkedIn Pulse, you would love to have a coffee with them if they are available, or just chat with them over LinkedIn. Or you are just expanding your network and found some interesting people that you would like to add to your network, in case you ever find yourself looking for a job. So you decide to send the invitation to them
Now, it is the second week since you sent the invitation, they are still not in your connections. You are not sure whether it is just pending or they declined. Maybe they did not even receive notification from LinkedIn, perhaps they are on vacation, or just busy. You are not sure which, but often invitations are declined, for various reasons.
Note: I changed the names of people in these invitations and examples.
Here are the main 8 reasons people declining your invitations:
1. Incomplete LinkedIn Profile
Do you have a complete profile? Not sure? Check again. One reason your invitations are being declined could be that your profile is missing a title, job description, and even good content. The more complete your profile, the better the chance that your invitation will be accepted. People want to see a good profile that reads well and communicates serious thoughtfulness. Make sure that your photo is full-sized and professional and not a random (fake) picture from the Internet. Also ensure that your work history has good, useful details. It also pays to include recommendations and endorsements from several people.
2. Not Using the Proper Grammar
Even though you are not writing an essay or a thesis, proper punctuation and spelling are still of the utmost importance. You should also avoid writing in capital letters, which are often interpreted as screaming.
Trust me; no one wants to see this in their inbox. So unless you have good reason to shout, keep to the lower case. And if you have to use capital letters, do it sparingly.
Use proper language if you are approaching people you don’t know. These types of invitations will get you only rejections.
3. Using the Generic Message
Many people are tired of seeing that template LinkedIn message. Create a hook in your invitation. Have you read the person’s post or article? Do you have a contrary opinion to a view they expressed at some time? Do you live in the same city as this person? Create a hook to draw this person in.
Unless you have communicated with this person outside of LinkedIn and they can remember you clearly, then the generic message might be just fine.
LinkedIn Template Message (11 most boring words in the English language)
4. Not Getting the Name Right
It’s bad enough that you are sending a template message, but misspelling people’s names is just not good enough. It could happen, and people could overlook it in the invite, but they take it seriously even if they don’t treat your obvious grammatical errors like they are a big deal. If you are going to get anything wrong, it should not be the names of potential connections in LinkedIn Messages.
5. Offering a Job or Selling Something
If your intention is to sell, do not make this known up front. It is better to connect first. Many people dislike opening their inboxes only to see a template sales pitch disguised as a LinkedIn invitation. You should focus on connecting instead of trying to sell. And if you are planning to sell, don’t do it just a few minutes after your invitation has been accepted, wait at least one day.
If you are offering a job, don’t use a LinkedIn invitation for it. This is not the right place for it, especially when you are not adding any info to the invite.
I was fooled once with this type of invite and got an offer for selling Herbalife.
6. You Are a Stranger
If you are sending invitations to random people without speaking with them first in real life, you will not get a lot of acceptances. We’ve all received connection requests from strangers and we know that sometimes it’s better to steer clear and skip the connection.
Also asking someone to lunch who you are still trying to add to your connections will make their firewall stronger. So yes, your message was compelling and they will want you to be in their connections because they like your profile, but a lunch and similar request in the first invitation is just taking it too far.
Accepting your invitation may mean that they still have to come up with a polite way of declining your request—something that no-one likes to deal with. Maybe they like the idea of lunch with you but you have to wait for them to check their diary. Then you know the rest of the story—something happened along the line and they forgot about your invitation. Do not make people commit to your LinkedIn request other than accepting your invitation. Most people do not want to meet you unless they have developed a relationship with you.
7. You Are Not From the Same Field/Location
LinkedIn was built on the idea that people will connect, however after they implemented the 30K connection limit, people become more selective about whom they are going to add to their network.
If you are working in a Lesotho in some Bank, and you would like to connect with a software engineer from Canada, there is a high probability that your invitation will never be accepted.
8. You Are Not Putting in Extra Effort
If you would like to raise the possibility of your invitation being accepted, just visit the profile of the person that you are trying to connect with. If you have never visited their profile and just sent the invitation, it could look to the recipient as though you are just hitting the “Connect” button.
Have you actually tried to connect more than once? Maybe they didn’t get your first message. If they have not replied, give it some time and try again. Some of your prospective contacts may assume that the first invitation was a scam, so a second invitation might prove them wrong.
A follow-up message after they have accepted may be very helpful and may show that you are committed to building a relationship with them.
In conclusion, LinkedIn is still a great platform that you can leverage for your personal and business needs. And having the right connections is very important in getting the most out of the platform.
Ensure that your message is well personalized whether you know the recipient personally or not. If you have a mutual connection, mention the name of this person, keep your message short while giving them a hook to bite on. Then, do your best to follow up.
Sometimes, the reason your invitation has not been accepted could be because the person you are trying to connect with is not actually active on LinkedIn. In this case, the message you sent may have nothing to do with why your invitation is pending. Not everyone checks their LinkedIn profile constantly. So don’t take it personally.