Answered by Steve, Hiring Expert at Caterpillar Inc., on Friday, November 15, 2013
I believe that it is perfectly fine to network with a hiring manager through LinkedIn, however, be cautious in how you construct your communication to them. The best way to do it is for your initial e-mail to say something along the lines of "I wanted to take this opportunity to introduce myself...I recently applied for a position at your company...I look forward to the opportunity to speak with you, etc.". I would not recommend using LinkedIn simply as a way to follow-up with them or to find out about your status. You can do this subtly through the type of communication I described above. In addition, connecting with a hiring manager on LinkedIn can help you build your network for the future.