No procurement professional should have less than 500 connections on social media - do you agree?
Procurious Founder Tania Seary made the provocative statement recently that if you’re in procurement and you have less than 500 connections on social media, you don't make the cut.
What do you think? Do you see a future where stakeholders, suppliers and recruiters will take into account the number (and quality) of your connections on social media?
Like anything else in business and supply chain, I think it's more about meaningful conmections than quantity.
No. If someone is evaluating your role in procurement based on the number of your social connections on social media then run away.
It's interesting to note that even those of us who disagree with this statement are doing so on a social media platform that only exists and operates because we all chose to 'connect'. ;)
Most global procurement teams have hundreds of team members, if not thousands, wouldn't you want to be at least connected with all the procurement professionals within your own organisation? See what they're thinking/saying/doing??? That's at least a starting point.
I agree with Matthieu in that I absolutely check out applicants on social media to get a broader view of their insights and how they interact with others. In terms of numbers, every situation is different (companies, industries, geographical norms, and so on) so that wouldn't likely be much of a factor for me.
I think that widening our horizons and creating an environment where we can have conversations with a broad range of people is very valuable in today's business environment. It goes without saying that engagement is more important than any number of connections/followers/fans we may have, but being connected to more people creates more opportunities for engagement, particularly the serendipitous type of engagement that may only happen when you notice one of your connections having a conversation about a topic that you can contribute to, which could potentially be the starting point to something more interesting in the context of the relationship that you have with that person.
And I do find it valuable to connect with everyone in my own organisation. Not only does it allow me to leverage their own networks, as it would be easy to ask a colleague for an introduction, it also gives me greater insight into the personalities of those that I may not interact with on a day-to-day basis, which helps me to engage with them when I need to. Interaction on social media with colleagues can actually enrich that relationship and gives me a better appreciation of who that person is beyond their work personality.
I suppose that the 500 connections is in reference to LinkedIn's cut-off point regarding what appears on a person's profile. Given what I have just said, I would expect someone who is ambitious and who wants to leverage other people's knowledge to be better able to perform at their job to have over 500 LinkedIn connections, but I wouldn't disqualify someone who hasn't reached that number (at least not consciously).
Number of followers/connections is also a reflection on one's own personal brand: does this person have things to say that people want to listen to? In leadership roles where the ability to influence and to be listened to is important, I expect recruiters to be checking social media profiles to see what the candidate's online standing is.
Although I personally have in excess of 500 Connections on social media that I have gathered over a number of years, I agree with Jennifer Albright that the quality of the connections is far more important than the quantity of connections. I don't believe that the absolute number of connections one has should be used as a primary criteria for determining whether to hire a candidate, or not. I would be more interested in knowing how the candidate could leverage the network that he/she has (however large/small it is) to bring benefit to my organization. In addition, not every country has yet moved into common usage of social media tools like LinkedIn and Procurious, so, for example, many of my contacts in China will not be found in my social media contact lists. They will only be found in my "address book" in my email and/or my SKYPE. BTW, what is so special about 500 as the target number of contacts?
Certainly agree with Jennifer that quality is more important than quantity - buying a load of meaningless followers is actively negative. I would say that having very few LinkedIn connections can put me off a candidate for a role in which one would expect they would have built up an extensive set of working relationships, although I wouldn't set the bar as high as 500 myself - at least not yet.
I guess it depends whether you're a slave to social media. If I was being judged on suitability for a role that used this as criteria then I would be seriously worried.
What will 500 contacts (transactional/non-value added/inactive) compared to 300 beneficial contacts. Isn't the statement the same as saying if we have 500 suppliers we are better than a competitor with 300 suppliers? It's irrelevant unless they are qualified and provide value.
I think Tanias statement was a good influencer but should not be taken literally. Introverts for example may not feel comfortable getting 500+ connections, you are instantly alienating them because they don't "make the cut"?, lets get real.
As a principle connecting with others may be useful but this has to be balance with
1) Quality of connections
2) The time & effort you are prepared to put into building and maintaining your network
3) What it delivers
I agree with all the above comments, its not about the quantity of connections you have it is about the quality!
I definitely agree with Jennifer that it is about quality over quantity; the number is just vanity. However it is also about your role; if you are in a fast moving role, with lot's of requirements (like new product sourcing), with lots of market engagement then you will have more connections, however if you are in a niche, focused Procurement role then you will likely have less (and there is nothing wrong with that).
Not really, it's about how useful the network for us. I learned during my certification classes " In procurement any data is not fully utilized is nothing but a dump".
I'm a retired Canadian Government Procurement Specialist so I do not necessarily have many followers on LinkedIn because I am not pursuing employment but I was asked many times to create a profile to meet other procurement specialists on LinkedIn via Twitter and I still don't have many followers on LikedIn because I state that I'm retired but I have thousands on Twitter that I offer advise and I'm on hundreds of lists because of my involvement in many technical topics including procurement, supply chain, LoT, cloud technology, programming, finance, etc., so, I don't believe numbers of followers are as important but the quality of your connections are very important and that's all that really matters when it comes to your profession and your interests.
I have over 20 years experience in this profession so I'm just here to offer my opion or help if I can. I'm not anyone's competition. When I started in this profession there wasn't social media, it was the telephone, conferences, courses, booking meetings and you hustled to meet your connections. You had to finesse your clients and be prepared for anything. I was barely in my 20's when I started in Supply. To be honest, my big connections are not necessarily all on social media but that's how you start. I help a lot of small gaming or programming start up companies with sourcing. It's exciting to watch them succeed.
As someone mentioned above, I have found my experience in Procurement and the Supply Chain has come in very useful in almost every aspect of my life as it is second nature to me. So yes, every person I meet is a possible connection because you never really know what their background
is unless you ask and everyone has a story. That's just being friendly.
how do you say it? The right Person can Change your life forever. If you have 2000 contacts that barely know you .. they all together have no value compared to 1 you actually know and who can push you Forward ..
I know an employer who just does not consider a certain candidate if he (a candidate) does not use the gmail service. Stupid, isn't it? It is a sort of approach which is on discussion and in fact it is like create an obstacles and limits for yourself and your business.
this is the most depressing procurement related thing i have ever heard. Linked in is a waste of time and anyone judging someone by the number of connections is a fool.
Some great responses here! Thanks to everyone who commented. Totally agree that your connections should be 1) quality, and 2) useful.
Here's a follow up question - If you change professions (for example, you leave procurement to become a yoga instructor), I've often wondered what you'd do with your network - do those 500+ people suddenly become irrelevant, or is everyone potentially useful, no matter what profession they're in?