Linkedin Moderation: Stop Hurting Group Managers and Users

This article is for LinkedIn users are being moderated in groups for no reason or group managers that are experiencing increased post moderation of their membership.

It happened to me recently in my LinkedIn Group, Elephants at Work. A group member’s discussion ended up in the moderation queue. I figured I was new to being a group owner/manager but then I caught wind of the latest (non-official) LinkedIn Policy you probably don’t know about – moderation across all LinkedIn Groups even if you are a creditable user and not a spamming loser.

Rather than me telling you my story, a reader shared her story with me where the implications of LinkedIn’s actions are causing much more dis-satisfaction, stress and time – and she’s a paying LinkedIn recruiter!

Reader: LinkedIn has become an incredible, powerful, and dominating resource on the web and users scream its praises. What happens when LinkedIn starts to implement policies that hinge on a slippery slope and they neglect tell their user community about the changes?

 I can tell you exactly what happens: a user like me gets caught in the middle and quite frankly, it sucks. It’s been about 6 weeks and I’m still working on getting it resolved. My motto throughout this: “I really am a creditable user, not a spamming loser”.

 Recently I noticed that my posts were being moderated across every LinkedIn group I’m a member of. As of yesterday that’s about 50 groups and a number of subgroups. Interesting enough I thought it was some sort of glitch, a bug in the matrix.

 It nagged me and I started to think about it; many group owners I know personally. After contacting a couple of them, they were equally shocked that I somehow/someway was being moderated, even though they never put the strangle hold on my group membership.

As for all the other groups; there was no way these folks would moderate me all at the same time. I didn’t know what the odds were, but I highly doubted they all conspired against me. So I opened a trouble ticket. Interesting response from LinkedIn’s Group Support, that’s for sure.

 Hi,

Your discussion and comments may be pending in a specific group because you were blocked and removed from another group by its manager or owner. If you’re experiencing this issue across multiple groups, your postings to other groups are still submitted; however, they are now pending until a member of the group’s management team approves it for posting.

This is done to ensure that members who post in groups are posting with a certain level of professionalism. This doesn’t mean your posting quality is poor, but the measure itself is put in place to ensure that the group’s management is able to control content across all members in their group who’ve been blocked from other groups.

As an additional note, please be aware that we can’t provide a list of groups you were blocked from. Any group owner or manager can un-restrict your posting permissions in their group. You can contact the group’s management team and request that they allow your discussions and comments to post in their group. Here’s how:

They go on to tell me how to do it, but after re-reading the statement above, I came to this conclusion: One group owner limited and moderated my profile against every group I am a member of. Every group has different rules, but they allowed one manager’s rules to override all others.

Keep in mind folks, no where in the group that banished me, did they have a rule or policy saying a person couldn’t share an article. Other members openly shared the same types of articles and were applauded for it. The article I actually shared was very spot on with what the Data group was about – A Forbes article about Data Center needs pushing market growth. Maybe, just maybe because I have the term “recruiter” after my name, I was booted. That, my friends, is a whole different topic all together.

After searching LinkedIn I can find no mention of this policy, anywhere. I have repeatedly asked for a link directing me to this policy and I’m still waiting 6 weeks later. It doesn’t officially exist, yet. How do I even accomplish explaining to group owners why I was moderated, when I have no policy to direct them to?

 So far, I have received either very confused responses back, no response back, or very receptive responses back that result in a phone call explaining why & how this happened in a group that they own and how to change my permissions.

 Even worse yet, there’s still a glitch that I have reported to LinkedIn and yet still haven’t heard anything back on yet (which reminds me to check in with Betsy). After your permissions are changed within a group, your posts may still end up in the submission queue, just not in the moderation queue any longer. Yes, you heard that right. LinkedIn’s response in the above isn’t holding water. I have the print screens to prove it.

The slippery slope of all of this: Think about the destruction and repercussions to your profile that one single group manager can cause.

  • One group owner being able to control your user experience on LinkedIn.
  • The effects on activity within groups putting members on guard that if they share something they may be booted & moderated across all other groups.
  • “Well LinkedIn is free, deal with it” is not always the case. We pay for upgraded accounts & actually pay for job slots to advertise. Insanely enough, even those paid for jobs will end up into the moderation and submission queues. I certainly will NOT pay for another job slot knowing I can’t share it within groups.
  • Think about sabotage by competitors.
  • Think about how this reflects and/or tarnishes your image on LinkedIn.
  • Think about the amount of time it will take to have your permissions changed. So far, it has been 6 weeks & 10 groups later. 5 groups total that I have left thus far because of lack of response. I have about 40+ more to go.
  • Think about groups you may want to join in the future. I can’t tell you if you’ll be moderated in new groups that you join because I still am waiting on an official policy.
  • And I’m sure there’s more.

So, if you find yourself fighting this battle, here is my suggestion.

  • Share this article into groups CAREFULLY or with the group owner. Write a brief note to the Owner of the group asking them if they are aware of this policy and ask them to get in contact with you because you are experiencing moderation within their group. (If you belong to many groups, I highly advising tracking when you reached out. This will help when determining if you should stay within that group).
  • Open a trouble ticket with LinkedIn Customer Support letting them know your profile is moderated across all groups. During your dialogue with the Group Owners, whom will tell you they know nothing about this, start to forward their responses back to LinkedIn Customer Support with your trouble ticket number in the subject line. At one point I counted 20 e-mails I sent along in one day. “Betsy” at LinkedIn Support probably wasn’t happy, but I got my point across.
  • Get your group owner on the phone and have them change your permissions with you on the line, (if they are receptive, believe you are creditable and make sure you understand their rules). Once changed, do a test. If it ends up in submission queue, ask the owner to send you a print screen of your test sitting in the queue as well as a separate print screen showing your permission has been set to “approved to post”. Send this information to LinkedIn Support with the trouble ticket number in the subject line.
  • If a Group Owner or Manager is not responsive, leave the group. Plain & simple.
  • Advocate to LinkedIn Customer Support for an official policy or better yet, to eliminate this (non-official, that nobody knows about, that is wrong on so many levels, and that labels innocent people as spammers) policy.
  • Urge the Group Owners to get in contact with LinkedIn Customer Support and lobby against this un-official policy, which has been implemented.
  • And remember, “you really are a creditable user, not a spamming loser”.

How To Tell Someone You Are Not Giving Them a Recommendation on LinkedIn

There are a lot of articles about how to give proper recommendations on LinkedIn or how to ask for a recommendation from someone. But what happens when you get a request from a LinkedIn contact and you don’t really want to give them a recommendation?

Whatever the reason – you don’t have firsthand knowledge of their work performance or you may believe their work is substandard – the fact is you are hesitating and debating about how to say “no”.

When you make a recommendation on someone’s behalf, it is a statement that you believe they value and other people will make decisions about hiring or connecting with them based on their profile content.

So, let’s talk about the elephant at work – how do you say “no”? You’ve got a few options – find the one that works best for you.

Ignore the Recommendation Request

So you got busy and the email trailed down your inbox to a place where you haven’t checked it in eons. The truth is you just did not want to deal with the request.

The other person may take the hint or not – they may nudge you with a reminder or the next time they run into you they may ask about their request. So be ready for the difficult question: Why did you not respond?

Have I ignored any recommendation requests? Yes, especially if I received a message that was not personalized.

Gracefully Decline Recommendation Requests

Declining someone’s request may be stressful because you don’t want to hurts someone’s feelings. You’re torn between being nice to them and truthful about what you really think.

Here are some reasons you can use to decline a request gracefully:

  • You don’t have direct knowledge of someone’s work performance. You have heard good things about them, but you write recommendations on your experience with someone.
  • The person is an acquaintance – you know them casually or for a short time, suggest that there is probably someone better suited to recommend them.
  • If you truly don’t like the person or know their work performance is poor, it’s time to reflect on why you are connected with them.

Here’s a situation I experienced.

LinkedIn wants you to ask for recommendations so they make it easy for you – perhaps too easy. There are occasions when someone hits the automatic request button and everyone is contacted in their network to a recommendation for them.

A fellow consultant asked for a recommendation and I had not worked with them directly or indirectly. We were connections because we had met agreed that connecting was beneficial to both of us.

I wrote back and told her that I did not feel like I knew her work well enough to write a recommendation on her behalf. She responded with complete understanding and conveyed her surprise when that request sent to her entire network.

Hint: If it is a canned request for a recommendation, chances are they got duped by the system.

Playing the Offense

This is a tactic that may work or may put you in a situation where you set an expectation that you will follow through with a recommendation. If you get a request and you are not sure what to do about it, ask a question back. Here are some examples,

I received your request for recommendation – what you would like me to say about you?

Do you want to write a recommendation for me to review and I will post it?

I had a colleague do this to me. To be honest, I was dumbfounded. I was not sure if they really did not know how to write a recommendation or if they were looking for a way out. I dropped the request for the simple reason that if they lacked initiative to write it, the recommendation was going to be lukewarm at best.

To Avoid Being Declined:

There are some steps you can take to avoid being declined. Consider:

  • When is the last time you spoke with your contact? Perhaps it is time to reconnect.
  • Ask them by email or phone before sending a request if they are willing to write something on your behalf.
  • Request recommendations immediately after performing a service, doing a project or being recognized for exceptional work.

Job Hunting Lessons: Technology is our Friend

iStock_000000114178XSmallOne skill that many job seekers struggle with is using the internet effectively for their job hunting and search efforts. There are so many platforms, subscriptions and methods it can get confusing. If you don’t do anything else, learn about LinkedIn. Kathy Marcus shares her job hunting lessons with us.

Days 5 & 6 – Technology is our friend

We job seekers understand the power of networking and the direct impact it has on the time-frame of our transition period. Fortunately, we have many tools via social media to assist not only with building our network but to also find job postings.

LinkedIn

If you only have time to master one tool, this is the one. Most people in our network know this but new job seekers may not completely understand the power of LinkedIn. This tool not only allows you to build your network of connections quickly and efficiently, it also enables you to be found by recruiters and follow your target companies to receive job postings and real-time updates.

There are many free workshops/seminars offered locally and, as mentioned in an earlier post and several blogs you can turn to for information. Job seekers can also leverage each other for knowledge. In other words – no excuses for not becoming a proficient user of LinkedIn!

To get you started, here’s a quick checklist:Kathy Marcus

Profile Picture: No profile picture = old-fashioned, out of touch and possibly hiding something. Get a clear head shot and post it with pride.

Current Position: We job seekers know that recruiters may find employed candidates more appealing for their openings than ones in transition. It may not seem fair but it’s a fact of life. It’s important that the current positions in LinkedIn profiles are filled in with something. There are many ways to do this. Check out profiles of people in transition to see what they’ve done, take some workshops to hear from the experts and then decide what works best for you.

Key Words: Recruiters search by key words in LinkedIn. It’s vital that your profile is complete with your work history, including responsibilities and quantifiable accomplishments and that this information is chock full of key words that recruiters will be using. How do you know which key words to use? Leverage the job descriptions for positions that fit your experience and skill set, even if they’re out-of-town and aren’t something you’ve applied to. You’re just looking for key words at this point. There are tools like wordle that can help you pull out key words from the job descriptions very quickly.

The Rest: Solicit recommendations from former managers, colleagues, vendors and customers. Follow your target companies, join the same groups the target hiring managers belong to pave the way to connections. Post updates to your status to drive traffic to your profile connections. Again, these actions are all taught in the various workshops held each month around town.

Twitter, Branchout and Google +

These are great tools to follow target companies with to view job postings, gain insight and make connections. Don’t discount them! There are plenty of tutorials out there if you just Google them.

Today’s job seeker needs to leverage social media tools at our disposal to connect to people quickly and efficiently and to gain insight into our target companies.  Sign up for a class today!

How Do I Tell Someone I Don’t Want to Connect on LinkedIn?

Receiving invitations to connect with people on LinkedIn is exciting, especially when you have developed a professional or personal relationship with the other person. You like them, admire them and know that you can help one another. However, let’s be honest – even people you know, you may not want to connect with for one reason or another. What do you do in those situations?

There are three options for handling LinkedIn invitations that you may not want to accept:

  1. Ignore the invitation. Sure you can feign ignorance for not receiving it, but they will probably ask you about it the next time they see you. If you are active on LinkedIn, they will probably wonder why their invitation was not accepted so you’ll have to tell them face to face.
  2. The sneaky approach is to accept the invitation and then drop them as a contact. This approach will work for a while – until they have a need to refer to your profile and find that it is missing in their contact list.
  3. Take the direct approach and let them know you appreciate the invitation however you are going to decline it. Since they are someone you know, you should give them a reason.

You may not want to tell them the primary reason you don’t want to connect with them – such as you don’t like them, you don’t respect them or their affiliation may not be productive in your business or job hunting efforts. Instead, think about a different way to say it.

For example, you might say to a friend:

My LinkedIn approach is to connect with people who are in my field of expertise or business segment.

I use LinkedIn to communicate with recruiters and colleagues.

We are connected on Facebook which I use for friends and family – I use LinkedIn for my professional interactions.

To a business colleague, you may want to open the door to further conversations before you accept their invitation – especially if they are someone from your past. People change and mature and perhaps some of the things you remember may not be who they are today.

Here are some ways to respond to someone you are not sure about connecting with on LinkedIn:

My approach is to connect with people I can recommend to others. It’s been awhile since we last talked, let’s get on the phone or meet and update one another.

It’s been awhile since we worked together. Let’s update each other and share how we can help one another by connecting on LinkedIn.

When you respond back to someone, it requires them to take a personal action step beyond hitting the Let’s Connect Button, you find out if they really do want to connect with you or if you were in a list of people who were uploaded from their contact list.

Perhaps you have another approach to politely telling someone you don’t want to connect with that you know well – if so, I would love to hear about it.

Winning Over a Recruiter with Abby Kohut: Part 1

 

How to win over a recruiter is something every job seeker wants to do better. Absolutely Abby shares the secrets of what to do and what not to do in a session at Medaille College sponsored by The August Group.

During the session, Abby covers:

  • Your collateral
  • Job Hunting
  • Social Media
  • Phone Screens
  • Prepping and Primping
  • The Interview
  • Closing the Deal

In this post, I’ll share information on collaterals, job hunting and social media. In part 2, I will cover phone screens, prepping and primping, the interview and closing the deal.

Your Collateral – Resume Preparation

Absolutely Abby and Pete Chatfield

Your resume is your primary collateral. Your resume highlights your skills, abilities and results when working with previous employers.

One of the questions always asked is how many pages should your resume be? Abby asked the group and there was a split between one, two or three pages for a resume.

Her answer: it depends. Forget about focusing on the number of pages, instead pay attention to the following:

  • Use bullets not paragraphs
  • The layout has to be legible
  • Use white space – don’t make it look crowded
  • Use a consistent font – size and style
  • Bold and italics are acceptable to emphasize
  • No grammar or spelling mistakes
  • Alignment and proper use of tabs

Why are all these things important?

Let’s say one of your skills is that you are detailed orientated. Your resume hits the recruiter’s desk and while reviewing your resume, there are several spelling errors.

What impression have you left with the recruiter? Do you think they believe you are in fact detailed orientated?

Your resume should reflect you – be honest. Don’t dummy down your resume and don’t lie about job titles. After the interview process, there will be a background check.

If you lie or misrepresent yourself, your future employer will rescind your offer. Most companies have integrity as one of their core values and you just violated it.

Job Hunting & Social Media Tips

One way to get your resume noticed is to use key words. If you don’t know the ins and outs of using key words – refer to: Job Hunting Tips Using Social Media.

Differentiate yourself from others by including leadership, volunteer and award information after college. Keep these highlights separate from your work experience unless it was directly tied to your results such as a sales award.

List computer skills and languages. Use both the abbreviated version and write out the words. You don’t know what key words recruiters or companies are searching on to find their candidates.

Are you using the white letter technique on your resume? Ditch it according to Absolutely Abby. The white letter technique is when you put in key words in white font so that they don’t show up on the page. The problem with this strategy is that some applicant systems show those words, creating an ugly resume.

Use “I” in your resume. Companies look for what YOU can do vs. what the team did.

Cover Letters

Recruiters and hiring managers love it when you send a cover letter. Abby says you will definitely stand out because most people do not include a cover letter with their resume.

Personalize your cover letter. Tell the recruiter or company why you are the best candidate for the job without giving any false promises. Never state the salary you are looking for – simply say that salary is negotiable. If you must provide the salary you want, indicate a broad range, such as:

My expected salary for the Buyer position is between $50,000-$70,000.

Pay attention to grammar and punctuation. If in doubt, have someone professionally edit it such as Ruth Thaler-Carter.

Job Applications

The application you submit to a company is a legal document. You are asked to sign it verifying that the information is correct.

Sections on the application that do not require completion may be skipped.

Provide accurate salary information. If your annual salary included a bonus, do not include it. Bonuses are separate – even for sales people. Remember – salaries can be verified – this is not the time to overinflate your worth.

Include contact information for each company that you worked for. If the company went out of business – include your old boss’s phone number. Use LinkedIn to find old bosses and colleagues.

List all positions you held during your career even if you were with one company. The positions tell a story – you were promoted, moved or learned new skills.

Next week, look for Winning Over a Recruiter with Absolutely Abby: Part 2.

How to handle LinkedIn recommendation requests

Have you taken the initiative lately to make a recommendation for someone on LinkedIn?

A couple of weeks ago, I received an update on everyone who had either changed jobs or titles in 2010. I was surprised at the number of job transitions, roughly 30% of my contacts.

As I was verifying the new information to my database, I took particular note of someone who joined LinkedIn last year.

Bob has been a consultant for a long time. He continuously gives back to the community and we have worked on a few programs together. It was a great opportunity to share my opinion of his work and dedication to others through the LinkedIn recommendations.

This got me thinking. When is it appropriate to write or ask for a recommendation and when does it not make much sense?

When I have been a recipient of a recommendation, LinkedIn prompts you to return the favor and write one for the other person. There have been times when that request makes me feel uncomfortable. How about you?

When to write a recommendation

  • If you have a colleague that you have worked with and you have firsthand knowledge of their performance, skills or other accomplishments – this is the time to write a recommendation. You might be their peer, boss or subordinate.
  • Write a recommendation when someone is not expecting it. That’s right, we all like to open our email and find that someone likes what we do! He or she will feel more appreciated if your glowing comments come unsolicited.
  • For a business owner or a consultant, your recommendation can make a difference in how potential clients or customers view their services or approach. If they provided value, make the endorsement today. It is one of the best ways to show your appreciation.
  • If someone has given their time or services for free for your benefit, it is time to reciprocate by lettings others know how they helped you.  Hint- leave out the “free” part.

When not to write a recommendation

  • Receiving a LinkedIn request from someone who you do not know well or are not comfortable in responding, just take a pass.
  • Friends should not write recommendations for friends without having direct experience as a colleague, client or customer.
  • The obvious – you did not like their work.

When to ask for a recommendation

  • Ask for recommendations over a period of time. It will look better if your recommendations are spaced out, otherwise you may create the wrong impression – that you are desperate or your networking is one-sided.
  • Sometimes we have to nudge people that you may have helped with a project or task. Last year I helped someone to refine her first presentation to a group of CEOs as a courtesy.
  • Ask for recommendations from people you work with currently or from previous companies, clients and customers or from groups and community initiatives where you have demonstrated a leadership role.
  • Personalize your request to someone you contact for a recommendation. Let them know what prompted you to write them. If cannot think of something, then it is probably best you don’t ask for a recommendation from them.

When not to ask for a recommendation

  • If you make a presentation, do not ask everyone in the room to write a recommendation for you. It is tacky and people will discount all the comments from a large group of people from one event.
  • Avoid using the mass email option LinkedIn provides you to ask all of your contacts for a recommendation at one time. I received one of these a year or so ago from a consultant who I had met 10 years ago. I had no direct knowledge of her work.
  • Do not ask for a recommendation from someone simply because you gave them one. Some recommendations go only “one way” because the service or advice was provided in one direction.

How to handle inappropriate requests

You receive an automated LinkedIn request from someone and the message was sent to their mass distribution list. You wonder why you received it. The easiest thing to do is ignore it.

Is that the right approach? Not necessarily. Contact the person directly and let them know you are able to write a recommendation for them.

People who make requests that are not appropriate should not be surprised to receive some push back. They may not have realized their request went to a large group and will thank you for letting them know what happened. If they do not appreciate your response, it might be time to rethink why you are connected to them.