We’ll get right to the point here. Should you connect with a hiring manager on LinkedIn before or after your interview? Nine times out of 10, the answer is a resounding no. Here’s why.
First, put yourself in the interviewer’s shoes for a second. He is interviewing not only you, but many others, trying to determine who will be the best person for the job and the company. Connecting over LinkedIn before a decision has been made can come off as both pushy and over-confident—like you’re certain that you'll be the one who’s working closely with the interviewer over all those other candidates.
Or, let’s imagine a scenario where you just left an interview and knocked it out of the park. You dressed perfectly for the environment, paid attention to the small details, answered every question with a thoughtful and articulate answer, and gave off both a professional and personal vibe. By every measure, you nailed it.
Still, at this point, sending a LinkedIn invite would be like nailing the dismount and landing in gymnastics, and then running up to give the judges a hug before they even gave you a score. A little much.
As one of my hiring manager friends puts it:
“There is nothing inherently wrong with it. But it just feels like they are putting the cart before the horse. I feel uncomfortable because we don’t really have a reason to connect. If I loved a candidate, it wouldn’t stop me from hiring them, but if I was on the fence, it would sway me to go in another direction.”
So, what should you do instead? Write the perfect thank you note. It’s still the best way to follow up and let the interviewer know how much you want the job.
And if you really want to grow your network on LinkedIn, it’s okay to request a connection with your interviewer, just wait until after a decision has been made. But remember to always add a thoughtful and personalized message with your invitation. If you are offered the job, you can say something like, “I really look forward to working with you and helping the company grow.” If you’re not hired, you can still say something like, “I appreciated the opportunity to interview and would love to be considered for future positions if they come up. And it would be great to have you as a professional connection no matter where I end up. Hopefully our roads cross again in the future.”