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Connecting with the people who are active on LinkedIn takes a discerning eye. It’s worth paying attention to, especially if you are working intentionally to generate new leads, talent, job opportunities.

We’re keenly aware of this as we support our clients with their recruiting and business development initiatives. When you review the number of profiles we create, you can’t help but notice how poorly so many important folks look on LinkedIn. We wonder why someone doesn’t have the heart to tell them how they’re showing up to the world.

As of late March 2018, there are more than 546 million LinkedIn members and, according to Omnicore, 250 million are active monthly; 133 million are U.S. based and 40% use LinkedIn daily.

We want to find the 40 percenters. They are most likely to connect, respond, engage and potentially move to a real opportunity.

Leading and talent building on LinkedIn can be laborious. There are a lot of people, so having predetermined criteria is critical. Here’s a list of indicators you should consider when you are deciding who you should add to your lead or talent list.

Photo — No photo could mean they haven’t set their settings correctly. However, no photo, yikes.

Outdated information  — That’s kind of lazy.

No Summary or description in the Job Experience area  — We should all be letting people know who we are and what we do so they can help us out.

The company logo is missing  — This is easy to miss. However, if they’re paying attention and know their company has a LinkedIn Company Page, they should notice they’re missing something.

Few connections  — We don’t have to have thousands of Connections. However, if they’ve been in business for some years, it makes sense they know at least a couple of hundred. And just as a sidenote – If you’re on multiple social networks, it’s smart to decide who fits best where.

No activity — They’re not posting or sharing.

These six clues will save you a bunch of time and frustration. Why bother sending someone something they won’t see or pay attention to? If you expect everyone to pay attention and be interested in responding, you will be frustrated. They’re just not going to. Have enough qualified people, so you get enough responses that you aren’t left wistfully wondering about those who don’t respond.

If you want to connect with someone and they are not responding, find another way to get in front of them. Don’t give up, get creative. And most importantly, keep prospecting.

When someone responds, go to their profile and find something that serves as a smart, relevant conversation starter. Sometimes you need to let your “lead-in” go and be interested in something about them first. (Hmm… this should be clue number seven and eight).

My youngest daughter, while super duper clear on her resume and LinkedIn profile that she is graduating in May has received about ten inquiries from recruiters in the last couple of weeks (awesome) and the conversations take a fast right turn. In almost every case, they ask her when she is available to start work and when she says after graduation, they seemed surprised and explain they are looking to fill the position immediately. Wowza. As she likes to say, “For the love of God, can’t they just read my information.”

Of course, each conversation helps sharpen her interview and conversation skills, expands her network and typically creates a follow-up activity.  Her friends have experienced the same conversation. C’mon recruiters, take a second and skim, if not read their resume or LinkedIn profile before you initiate the conversation.

It’s critical we work smarter and more confidently. And we can, if we take the time to learn a couple of hacks to jumpstart our prospecting activities and then consider the best way to start a conversation with someone. Babbling about a marketing value proposition is typically lost on people when they have no context for who you are and worse, you have no context for who they are.