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Archive for March, 2014

As we all know, communication has taken a major turn, for better or worse is up to interpretation.  Email, texting, Skype, FaceTime, these technologies and others like them have made it easier to get in touch with anyone.  In terms of getting a job, or simply trying to grow your professional network, LinkedIn and other media sources have proven to be very helpful.  I’m sure this is what Diana Mekota was thinking when she recently reached out to Kelly Blazek, the leader of an online job bank for marketing professionals in Cleveland, and 2013’s “Communicator of the Year” by Cleveland’s Association of Business Communicators.  The response Mekota received from Blazek was very surprising and just plain mean.   According to the 26 year old, this is part of the “feedback” she received:  “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.”  She then went on to mock the young lady’s generation saying that they feel entitled and ended the conversation by telling Mekota to never contact her again. A pretty hefty and shocking response to Mekota’s humble one merely asking Kelly Blazek to add her to the company’s roster of people looking for jobs, as she is moving to the Cleveland area and will be in need of employment.  She figured that the head of one of the most prominent job seeking companies would be the person to contact… how dare she… Sheesh.  Anyway, the rest of the details of this particular story are all over the internet. This story was/is huge news.  It, not surprisingly, started out on a social networking site and was then picked up and written about by CNN, Fox News, and other big names.  I for one commend Mekota for making it known what happened, not to just necessarily make Blazek look bad, but to bring this issue of importance into the limelight.

You may be thinking to yourself, ‘perhaps Kelly Blazek had a bad day and simply exploded in a moment of frustration.’  This may be true, but if so, it highlights the need for professional communication in all mediums, including over the internet.  It is understandable that people feel more comfortable lashing out in an email or a text, especially to someone who is a stranger to them and someone they will most likely never have to see face to face.  However, dynamics of our social world have changed dramatically within the past decade.  It is not unheard of for recruiters to close deals over text message, and it is certainly common practice to email potential and current candidates for various reasons.  Might you receive an email from a person completely unfit for a job, or someone whose arrogance makes you want to write back in all CAPS AND TEACH THEM A THING OR TWO?  Of course that could happen, but you—we—as recruiters and as professionals in the workplace should never act on it.  The reasons are simple. As my grandmother would have said, “Don’t burn a bridge.”  Who knows? Maybe Ms. Mekota will have a very successful career in Cleveland and will someday be someone Blazek would want as a contact….that’s probably not going to happen now.  In our case, if someone reaches out to our firm looking for guidance or help with finding a job in the banking industry, we help them.  Sometimes we can’t even help them directly in a way that would benefit us, aka: get us paid, but we make an attempt to help them anyway using our connections and knowledge of the market.  Why? Because not only is it a kind thing to do, but that person who you helped may be in a different situation down the road in which we could place them, or they may know someone who would be right for a job we are trying to fill and will recommend us to that person based on the way we have treated them.

I’ll put it this way.  If a young woman had physically walked into Kelly Blazek’s office and said the same words as Diana Mekota had said, I’d bet you a million dollars Blazek would have been sweet as pie.  Maybe she would have snickered to herself afterwards, but she wouldn’t have spoken to her that way.    We as a society have to come to terms with the fact that with the implementation of technology and its impact on the professional world, we are now more than our physical presence.  The things we say (type) define who we are just as much as what we say with our mouths and what we put out into the world via the interwebs impacts how others view us.  I’d even be so bold to say that it impacts others’ perceptions of us even more because it is, for the most part, permanent.  As they say, once it’s online, there’s no erasing it.

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