Love On LinkedIn: The Good, The Bad, And The Creepy

Love at first connection? Maybe for some. As it turns out, jobs aren’t the only things that people are looking for on LinkedIn.

It seems fairly obvious that it would be hard to take the socializing aspect out of any social media platform, even on a site explicitly dedicated to getting paid and not laid. So how exactly does one go from professional networking to working it– from keystrokes to another kind of stroke, if you will? Well, I asked a few New York professionals and e-admirateurs to find out.

Flirt like it’s your job

Is your game so strong it could be endorsed as a skill? For most, attempting a virtual flirtation on a site dedicated to securing a job would be risky business at best. But for the pros, the medium is the message.

“A while back I was looking for a job, so I was looking at connections in various companies,” explained Ken,* a media professional. “One of the ‘people who also viewed’ profiles was an attractive woman, so naturally I looked at her profile. She must have been notified because she viewed my profile back.”

I endorsed her for Egyptian calligraphy. The intention was to be ridiculous, and it worked because she endorsed me for horse riding

It’s important to note that unless your privacy settings are set specifically against it, the people you check out professionally (and otherwise) will be notified, so troll accordingly. Lucky for Ken, the troll appeared to be mutual.

“I endorsed her for social media to be ironic. She endorsed me for something generic… I can’t remember,” Ken went on. “So at that point I was like, this might be going somewhere, so I endorsed her for Egyptian calligraphy. The intention was to be ridiculous, and it worked because she endorse me for horse riding. I thought about starting a normal conversation, in hopes of her asking her out.”

Alas, all this digital foreplay fizzled when Ken reunited with his ex-girlfriend a couple days later. “I wish I had a better ending for you,” Ken lamented. Me too, Ken. Me too.

Search for the right candidate

For some singles, LinkedIn is simply Tinder with benefits– possibly a 401k, if you catch my drift. And with seemingly more self-annointed CEOs on Bumble than there are in the Fortune 500, it can be hard to tell the difference between the real deal, and the dude who’s idea of entrepreneurship is finding a way to fund his weed habit. LinkedIn’s makes it that much easier to tell the difference between catfish and caviar, by giving users greater insight into people’s professional networks and history.

“I add random boys I think are cute and hope they will message me,” admitted Michelle*, who works in marketing. “And I do [it] based on looks in my ‘people you may know’ section. But job definitely matters too.”

LinkedIn delivers a pretty powerful trifecta when it comes to scoping out a potential date

While some dating apps have caught onto the fact that some people may not trust a heavily filtered photo and a self-written bio, LinkedIn delivers a pretty powerful trifecta when it comes to scoping out a potential date: education, employment status and history, and mutual contacts. We can hardly blame a girl for working that system.

“This boy added me and then I invited him to a work event, and he flirted with me at the event” Michelle recounted of one in-person encounter. But the interview of sorts never turned into a second date.

Suss out your applicants’ other social media

As open and, well, social as social networking can be, digital communication can also sustain some covert and illicit social activity IRL, and by that I mean cheating. LinkedIn is an easy target for a philandering creeper, precisely because of its professional guise. So if someone wants to connect with you in a way that’s more cozy than corporate, it may be best to do some extra digging if you’re at all interested.

Take Carla. She reconnected with an old friend from high school at an event offline. She was a guest, and he was working for the catering company. “He was like, we should kick it some time, let me give you my number,” Cara recalled.

If chicks don’t trust their dude, they’ll check their phone, their Facebook messages, but no one is going to think their dude is using LinkedIn

After phone numbers were exchanged, Carla did her own background check on more traditionally social social media outlets. “It was right before Thanksgiving… [I] go to Instagram to find him… [the] last post was this picture of his gorgeous girlfriend, all about how he loves her, etc. Thanksgiving passes. I don’t text since I know he has a girlfriend [and] I don’t hear from him, which is expected if he was being friendly,” Carla reasoned. “Then I get a LinkedIn request from him. He had like 6 connections.”

“[The] dude was totally trying to hit on me via LinkedIn because I guess that’s his safe place,” Carla asserted. “With social media now, if chicks don’t trust their dude, they’ll check their phone, their Facebook messages, but no one is going to think their dude is using LinkedIn. Either you really don’t trust the guy, or he’s a total creep, because normal people don’t hit on people via LinkedIn,” she concluded.

It remains to be seen if LinkedIn will put traditional dating apps out of business, but the very fact that singles are turning to the site to snag an S.O. makes one wonder what this new generation of daters values in a partner. Are millennial singles all about the bottom line when it comes to coupling up? As of yet, there’s no way to know for sure. But in the meantime, it may be worthwhile to brush up that resume.

Picture courtesy of Billie Grace Ward (Flickr CC)

Julia Reiss is a Los Angeles-born writer and humorist alive and mostly well in New York City.
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