Usually, applicants are pleased to hear back from the organizations they contact about job openings. In this case, not so much.
Consider the tale of one Diana Mekota, who tried to connect with Kelly Blazek, the boss of the Cleveland Job Bank, via LinkedIn. According to a story on CNN.com, Mekota, 26, was planning to move to Cleveland in the coming months, and was checking out employment opportunities.
Mekota’s LinkedIn request sparked a response from Blazek that should make every HR manager wince. Mekota posted it in full on several social media sites, and it spawned a firestorm of comments.
Here it is:
We have never met. We have never worked together. You are quite young and green on how business connections work with senior professionals.
Apparently you have heard that I produce a Job Bank, and decided it would be stunningly helpful for your career prospects if I shared my 960+ LinkedIn connections with you — a total stranger who has nothing to offer me.
Your invite to connect is inappropriate, beneficial only to you, and tacky. Wow, I cannot wait to let every 26 year old jobseeker mine my top-tier marketing connections to help them land a job.
I love the sense of entitlement in your generation. And therefore I enjoy Denying your invite, and giving you the dreaded “I Don’t Know” … because it’s the truth.
Oh, and to request to actually receive my Job Bank along with the 7,300 other subscribers to my service? That’s denied, too.
I suggest you join the other Job Bank in town.
Oh wait — there isn’t one.
You’re welcome for your humility lesson for the year. Don’t ever reach out to senior practitioners again and assume their carefully curated list of connections is available to you, just because you wanted to build your network.
Don’t ever write me again.
Classy, eh? And we can’t resist adding this bit of irony: Blazek was named 2013’s “Communicator of the Year” by Cleveland’s branch of the International Association of Business Communicators — although it appears that organization is rethinking its decision.
Despite Blazek’s edict not to contact her again, Mekota emailed Blazek to “to reach out as there has been a large miscommunication and I merely wanted to explain myself,” according to the CNN piece. She said she sent a LinkedIn request so Blazek could see her credentials because a friend told her not to send a resume.
Blazek’s tirade went viral immediately (there’s a shocker) and the reception was not warm. A sampling of the comments:
- “Ego much? I hope she never finds herself jobless without any connections (new city, etc). Wait, never mind, I hope she does.”
- “Looks like someone forgot where she came from.”
- “Wielding ‘entitlement’ like the ultimate trump in self-affirming superiority. I haven’t seen that before in the history of anything ever.”
- “Life Lesson #1: Business people are selfish scumbags.”
Overall, some mighty good publicity for Blazek’s organization — world-wide publicity, at that.
For her part, Blazek did send a private apology to Mekota, and wrote this email to CNN: “I am very sorry to the people I have hurt … “Creating and updating the Cleveland Job Bank listings has been my hobby for more than ten years. It started as a labor of love for the marketing industry, but somehow it also became a labor, and I vented my frustrations on the very people I set out to help.”
Acting like a jerk rarely pays off
So what’s the takeaway here for HR pros? Ignoring the obvious — acting like a jerk rarely pays off — there are a couple of lessons here.
The first: Never send a email in anger. If Blazek had given herself time to let her irritation diminish, she might have realized how offensive her message was.
Second: Never underestimate the power — or the speed — of the Internet. People doing dumb stuff is what makes the Internet go ’round.
Finally, Blazek could have used Mekota’s request as a teachable moment — by gently explaining the etiquette of connecting to senior people on social media.