When (if at all) should I connect with my potential boss on LinkedIn?

To connect? Or not to connect?(with your potential boss on LinkedIn when looking for a job)

When (if at all) should I connect with my potential boss on LinkedIn?

Looking for a job is not a piece of cake – especially during turbulent times when everything changes dynamically and works in a non-standard manner. One can easily get lost in the labyrinth of all the do’s and don’ts of the job search process. What is the right thing to do in this situation? Sometimes only one (mis)step can decide whether you get accepted or rejected.

Candidates often ask themselves (or Career Angels):
Should I contact my boss directly? Via LinkedIn or via email? Is it better to reach out to companies or headhunters? When should I send a follow-up message? Am I not too pushy? – these are but a few ones that we receive every day. We’d like to address one question in particular:

“When should I connect with my potential boss on LinkedIn if they replied to my email? On the same day, the day after, or should I wait one week?”

Our answer is: it depends on the answer of the potential boss.

Based on what kind of reply you receive from them, you need to act accordingly. There are generally two possible replies you can receive from your potential boss after having sent an email:

1. A negative reply

In other words, they clearly communicated that they are not interested in hiring you. Unfortunately, this doesn’t leave us with much to do. We suggest sending a LinkedIn invitation to your potential boss 2-3 days later and thanking them for their reply. You can also mention that in case something changes (e.g. a new recruitment project), you are open to being contacted again.

2. A positive reply

First of all, you have to ask yourself: what does “positive” mean?

  • If they sent you a link to apply to the job offer, it’s not an explicitly positive reply, BUT it is a good signal. Nevertheless, read between the lines – what is the tone of the email? Is it an actual, “Hey, I want to see you on my team, but there are procedures to be followed first, so please, apply!” or a “Thank you – all our recruitment processes go through this link.”
  • If they invited you to further recruitment process steps, e.g. a screening call or an interview: that’s definitely a positive reply!

In both cases, we advise sending them an invitation after 2-3 days OR a few weeks later. In case you get ghosted or the communication with your potential boss gets “stuck” at some point, a LinkedIn invitation is a good way to strategically remind them about you without it looking like spam.

One thing that never changes: your invitation must be personalized! Here’s why:

  • You won’t be perceived as a spammer who sends out random invitations to hundreds of different people.
  • It shows that you care and that you pay attention to your reader and what they’re saying.
  • It lets them know why you are trying to connect with them. You already know your potential boss, but they don’t know you: there’s a risk that you can be perceived as a spammer. Providing some context is always a good idea and it might make them remember you better.

How to personalize your LinkedIn invitation?

  • Via the LinkedIn app on your mobile device:

DO NOT CLICK [Connect] CLICK [...] -> [Personalize invite]

  • Via the browser:

CLICK [Connect] -> [Add a note]

If you are a manager with at least 10 years of experience who would like to discuss their job search strategy or strategic next steps, don’t hesitate to contact us!