I recently got asked about how to manage LinkedIn invitations which bounced. Yes, sometimes those precious invites that you send out do not get to their intended recepient because either 1) they changed companies/email addresses and never bothered to update their LinkedIn profile, 2) the e-mail address that they have in their profile is misspelled (yes, this does happen!), or 3) their e-mail account is not up to date for a variety of reasons.
How to Find and Manage Bounced LinkedIn Invitations
If you send out as many invites as I do, on average about one in a hundred or so does not make it to its intended recepient. This is not a large number, but when you are running out of invitations, well, every invitation counts.
So, how do you find out if your invitation has been received or not? And what to do if it hasn’t?
To view invitations that have not been sent successfully, navigate to the “Contacts” page and press the “sent invitiations” wording which is underlined near the bottom right of the page. That will show you all invitations that you have sent. Pressing on the “Status” column will then do a sort by status, and all of those that have a blank there will be invitations that have bounced for some reason or another. [Note: With the new LinkedIn Inbox user interface, available in the summer of 2010, there is no way to sort by Status and instead need to review all of your sent LinkedIn invites to see those that have not been accepted or may have bounced.]
Unfortunately, once your invites have bounced, managing them is not as simple as cleaning them off of this screen. There is not even an option to archive them. [Note: An option to delete sent invitations is finally available with the new Inbox user interface] However, you can withdraw them, and I do believe that LinkedIn Customer Service does recognize that if you diligently withdraw invitations it will give you brownie points (i.e. the success rate in terms of percentage of those who accepted your invitations will increase). I say this because I had contacted LinkedIn in June asking if I could get these wasted invitations back. Their response was no, but I was told by withdrawing these invitations, it will decrease the chance of others replying to your invite with “I don’t know.”
I would like to thank Ray Moser for setting the record straight on this. He noted that “If you click on the bounced invite and actually look at the “real” invite with the verbiage, then the withdraw button is available.” Indeed, it is very easy to withdraw your invitations in this way.
As I am writing this, though, I noticed something else. There are some people who, even though the invitation bounced, I resent an invitation to them a few months after the original one in hopes that now they would be able to receive it. There was one particular name I remember doing this for recently who accepted my invitation, and now that bounced invitation does not appear anymore. So perhaps if you are able to connect with the person somehow the original bounced invite will be cleared from your sent invitations list…
One last thing: I noticed a peculiar trend recently in three invitations that bounced back-to-back. All three of these people had the same thing in common: 1) they had “(LinkedIn) LION” in their profile, 2) they were members of a LinkedIn “Open Networking” group, 3) they had nothing in their profile. This just goes to show that there is no guarantee that a “LION” nor an “open networker” will accept your invite, and most importantly proves that it is best to send an invite only out to “real” people. I have learned my lesson. I would hate to think that there is malicious intent here, but if you are a power networker, is it possible that you would not update your profile or LinkedIn account with your latest E-Mail address? I don’t think so…
Any other experiences with bounced LinkedIn invites that I missed here? Please comment!