"Let's meet up tomorrow at 5 PM at the Starbucks," read the email that appeared on my iPhone.
It was the 5th email exchange between me and the guy who messaged me on LinkedIn. He knows I am looking for a job. I have sent him my CV, he acknowledged it, and asked me to meet him at his office building the next day, but at the Starbucks in the lobby. I didn't question it at all. It seemed normal.
I was being naive. How could I so easily forget the classic LinkedIn Love story? Boy sees a girl on LinkedIn, they connect and start dating. It happened to one of my friends. I remember getting excited for her career growth potential when she told me she had been contacted by someone who works in a well established company. Then I remember being excited for her love life, when she told me that he contacted her because he found her attractive, and she decided to give him a chance.
But my situation was much more professional and clearcut. I had sent him my CV!
So there I was, wearing my one and only little-black-dress-cum-power-suit combo, with 10 printed copies of my CV. When he arrived, I was in the middle of arguing with the voice in my head about whether I should buy him a coffee, or if it would look like I was bribing my future boss.
He was wearing a yellow checkered top and yellow pants. He sat. We talked. He asked questions about me in the beginning, which I used to highlight my professional skills, but after a while, the conversation wasn't making any sense. He didn't ask me about my weaknesses, or the most challenging situations I'd had to face in my previous jobs. Suddenly, bammm, it hit me hard. I was on a date! Gah!!
I looked at my watch, and pretended to be shocked, and then told him I had to rush off somewhere, even though it had been less than a half hour. I walked away, leaving behind my half finished latte. Damn, I paid for that expensive latte, and I was still unemployed.
Even though meeting the yellow on yellow man was the weirdest LinkedIn deviation for this week, I also received messages in my WhatsApp from the people who I recently added on LinkedIn. I added them because I want to discuss potential openings in their company, they added me to get my phone number on LinkedIn, and message me without asking my permission.
The messages vary from stupid ones, like how long have I worked as an accountant (it's stated clearly on my profile, if they can find my number, they can see my years of experience), irritating ones, like who is the person standing next to me in my WhatsApp picture, to the creepy ones, like the message I received after midnight asking what kind of "potpourri" am I just because I put in LinkedIn that I am trilingual.
I simply ignored these messages, because I still haven't found a way to say f*** off professionally.
With all these unpleasant encounters, you might think that I am against using LinkedIn for dating or socializing. On the contrary, I think it's great! Why? Because you get to see a person professionally.
Even though the personality thing matters as much, if not more, I have dated men that I am not proud to introduce to my circle of friends. If we initially choose the person we date based on their appearance, or their body, why can't their achievements also be one of the deciding factors?
Also, the pictures posted on LinkedIn are most likely sans filter, so there is a higher chance we will get what we see there, minus the power suit. Overall, I think LinkedIn is a better judge of potential dates, compared to Tinder. Or, you can use Tinder together with LinkedIn, in order to weed out potential candidates.
Even after having said that, we should be careful about approaching people on LinkedIn. Since it's a professional platform, if that's not your main intention, be clear about it from the first time you connect with them.
It will save time for both parties, especially for people like me, who really, really want a new job, not a new boyfriend, because I already have one. And yes, he is on LinkedIn.