In an exchange that has since gone viral, Diana Mekota, a 26 year old planning to move to Cleveland had emailed and sent a Linkedin request to Kelly Blazek who runs a popular online job bank for marketing professionals in Cleveland. Mekota’s short message detailed her education, professional and volunteer activities and asking to join the 7,300-member jobs list.
Blazek’s response was less than civil.
"Your invite to connect is inappropriate, beneficial only to you, and tacky," Blazek wrote. "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," she wrote, then continued. "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 want to build your network."
She wrapped up with: "Don't ever write me again."
Despite Blazek’s directive to not write to her again, Mekota, who has posted Blazek’s email on her imgur account
, replied informing Blazek there has been a “large miscommunication”.
She said she sent a LinkedIn request so Blazek could see her credentials because a friend told her not to send a resume.
"I apologize if this came off as arrogant or invasive as that was never my intention," she wrote. "I was again, hoping to join your very impressive job board but I understand you(r) reservations."
Since the posts went viral Blazek told news
she had apologised to “everyone involved”.
"I am very sorry to the people I have hurt," she wrote in a statement to CNN
. "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."
Blazek has since deleted her Twitter account and Wordpress blog.
So ignoring the obvious what are the key takeaways for HR?
Never underestimate the power of the internet:
Once you hit send or post it is forever even if you delete it, cancel your accounts or post anonymously. Someone else is more than capable of taking a screen grab or forwarding on any message. Assume everything can be traced back to you.
Take a moment before you hit send:
It’s imperative to take time before responding to an email that has irritated you to ensure an offensive message such as this example is not sent out. Wait until you have calmed down or ask someone else for feedback before replying.
It’s ok to be blunt and clear but do it in a polite way. Blazek could have used the opportunity to explain the etiquette of connecting with senior people on social media instead of admonishing Mekota.
Job seekers usually welcome feedback – not a scornful email blasting their hopes, but that is what one US job seeker received when she reached out for help in her quest for work.