Today I was absolutely gob-smacked by something I read about a supposed leader in the recruitment and job search game. For those of you who are in the Recruitment & HR industry or active on LinkedIn, this might not be news to you. The rest of you however, here is a warning about what not to do when frustrated with someone while at work.
The article in question outlines the response Kelly Blazek, Founder of Job Bank in Cleveland Ohio sent to a young job seeker who sought to connect with her on LinkedIn.
For those of you who haven’t read it, here it is:
Poor Judgment on Your Job Seeking Strategy
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” [scribbled-out name] because it’s the truth.
Oh, and about your 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 of 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 want to build your connections.
Don’t ever write me again.
Just writing this I am dumbfounded all over again as to how Kelly ever managed to establish a successful business delivering employment services. Needless to say when the job seeker received this, then no response to her apology email she sent despite the request not to contact her again, she posted it on a forum or two so her friends could be as outraged as her at the treatment she has received from a complete stranger.
Who here knows what happened next? Everyone? Wow…Who would have guessed! It went viral on the internet and a self-styled titan of the recruitment industry, Kelly Blazek, is now fighting for her career. All within 48 hours.
You simply cannot treat people like this and expect to survive in a relationship game like recruitment…Period!
Now if you are one of the lucky few to absolutely love what you do so passionately you WOULD or DO work for free, then this isn’t directed at you. For the rest of us, who love what we do with a passion one day, and hate it just as passionately the next, this is a screaming example of why self-censorship is an essential attribute of anyone employed in a role where success is tightly bound to your reputation and your ability to play well with others.
This applies equally if you are a recruiter, an employer or an employee. I’ve been in sales for close to 20 years, and I’ve been in agency recruitment for 3 of those. In this job I have to sell myself to candidates, myself to clients, clients to candidates and candidates to clients. I can tell you, categorically, that this is the single hardest sales role you will ever work. There is no other product on the planet more diverse, no product on this planet as capable of both making you laugh or making you cry. And arguably no product on the planet less dependable than people. To me, this is also what makes it so rewarding.
But! I have my down days. Everybody does. Days where I want to tear my hair out because a candidate or a client have pulled something out of left field which results in days, weeks or months of hard work going down the drain. It’s not fun. Sometimes it’s even enough to put me off my game for the rest of the day.
Like Kelly *shock, horror* I even get people requesting to link with me on LinkedIn who aren’t, on the surface, able to help ME.
And this is where she went wrong. It isn’t about her. She built her business helping people meet other people. Why does she think, due to a moderate amount of success (I say moderate, because until this happened, I’d never heard of her) that this formula has changed? That the formula of meeting new candidates, identifying or helping to grow their potential or actual skills, capabilities and experience, then matching them to clients’ needs; that this no longer applied to her. Was it because there is now a couple of degrees of separation between her and the “coal face”?
On a daily basis here at Transparency IT, I, and my directors, engage in growing our candidate potential. More often than you can imagine, this revolves around giving job hunting advice, CV writing advice and hell, even career advice to people who we cannot place in our current roles. The reason we do this is because even if we never place these candidates, they will remember us as the agency who gave a crap, the guys who gave advice when they didn’t have to and the guys who helped them perfect their job hunting skills that eventually landed them a job.
Here’s a hot tip for you Kelly: Candidates become clients. It’s a no brainer really (like Kelly it seems).
The days of waiting 20 years to be promoted to a management position is over. This can happen within a few years if you are talented at your role. Social marketing is on the way in, crikey, it’s already here in big way and if you are a smart manager, you are already asking your employees to help source your next lot of employees. I want Transparency IT to be the first name thatemployee gives to their manager when asked about good talent for their business. I want the manager to go “Oh yeah, I had a great experience with those guys…..and that James bloke writes a fantastic blog!” Then get on the phone to us. Our reputation for fantastic candidates, awesome clients, transparent processes and helpful, friendly staff is what makes our business successful. Without any one of these our business suffers or fails completely.
…and last, but not least… Treat others as you would like to be treated.
Kelly, give us a buzz! We don’t know you. We’ve never done business with you. But we’d love to help you straighten out your CV now you are looking for a new job!
Because that’s what we do!