How the “mother” of job listings lashed out at candidates
Kelly Blazek is well known in her neck of the woods for having over 960 LinkedIn connections, a bi-monthly email list (“Cleveland Job Bank House”), and an active Twitter account (@NEOHCommJobs). But if you live outside of Cleveland, you may now know her as the sender of several abrasive emails to job seekers looking to connect with her or her lists.
Last week, 2013 IABC Communicator of the Year, Kelly Blazek responded to a stranger’s request to connect with her, which has made the rounds in BuzzFeed Community Forum, and Imgur, and today, Cleveland Scene got a hold of the following email thread:
My name is , I currently live in Chicago and am planning on moving back home to Cleveland in the next few months. I was born and raised in Cleveland and am excited to come back, finally. [A] friend of mine referred me to your Yahoo Group and I requested admission, but was denied.
When I told [my friend] about this, he told me that contacting you was the best way to gain access to the group. I am currently active in the employment market and have been in Technology Sales for the past 4 years.
What is the best way to gain acceptance into this group, so I can help find a job?
All the best,
Simple enough, but this is how Blazek responded:
[H]ow about starting with NOT presuming I would share my nearly 1,000 personally-known LinkedIn contacts with a TOTAL stranger? How bush league to pull that stunt. It’s what kids do – ask senior executives to link in to them, so they can mine contacts for job leads. That’s tacky, not to mention entitled – what in the world do I derive from accepting a stranger’s connection request? You earned a “I Don’t Know ______” from me today, for such an assumptive move. Please learn that a LinkedIn connection is the equivalent of a personal recommendation. If I haven’t heard of someone, met them, or worked with them, why would I ever vouch for them on LinkedIn?
My Job Bank is a gift of my personal time and effort to benefit my profession. It’s a privilege to help thousands of jobseekers – but I have my limits. You have not earned the right to ask me to connect on LinkedIn, and your Yahoo Group request was denied because you didn’t provide any information when you requested membership – or failed to respond to a request for more information that indicates your background is a match for the jobs I share.
No more questions or requests. Please tap into the other job seeker resources in NE Ohio for your search.
Kelly Blazek | Principal
Gemba Communications, LLC
2013 IABC Communicator of the Year
But wait, there’s more bullying
In addition to that gracious email from the communications professional, the following is also allegedly penned by Blazek:
This is how Kelly Blazek, the biggest Northeast Ohio marketing/creative job posting leader, treats young jobseekers: https://t.co/jaKBMw0knb
— Joseph Hughes (@nczeitgeist) February 25, 2014
Lights out for @NEOHCommJobs
After all of the letters went public, visiting her Twitter page now looks as follows:
Why she and others should definitely bully others
I have no idea how many LinkedIn connections I have because I don’t find much value there, personally, but it’s over 2,00, so by Blazek’s connections, I would be within my rights to rudely respond to a request to connect.
I also created and operate a Closed Facebook Group called “Austin Digital Jobs” which I think has over 15,00 members, so by Blazek’s standards, I would be within my rights to rudely respond to any new requests to connect.
Our company has an email database that is hundreds of times the size of Blazek’s, so by her standards, I would be within my rights to rudely respond to a request to join any of our email lists.
It makes sense, right? I mean, she’s a pretty big deal, so why wouldn’t she respond rudely? I mean, Mark Cuban responds to emails without belittling people, but this douchey lady in Cleveland is so high and mighty that she should most definitely bully people that are using social networking tools to actually network.
I’ve hurt a few feelings, but come on
Look, I have a group similar to Blazek’s, and I’ve hurt a few feelings in the process by calling spam out for being spam, and it is a pretty time consuming task to keep the group focused on legitimate jobs instead of event postings, fake Nikes for sale, work at home scams, and so forth.
With thousands of people, it can become tiring, and I do rule with an iron fist, so I can relate to Blazek, but I do not rule with that iron fist for my own self interest or because I’m so important that I should bully anyone that is below me in the caste system, rather, I am aggressive with rules to keep the group clean, focused, and so that members don’t get barraged with garbage. I get messages every single day thanking me for keeping the group on task, and I will always keep it that way so that the group actually has value.
Blazek was clearly trying to keep value in her little worlds, but to be so cruel is completely uncalled for, so while I am here to defend her for… no wait, it’s indefensible. And on top of that, who in the hell uses Yahoo! groups anymore? Most of those “members” are likely defunct, just like my 20 Yahoo email addresses from college. Lady, your comprehension of social media AND of communications is what is rookie here, not a polite request from a stranger to which you reacted like a wild hyena that just took crack for the first time and is getting acid thrown in its eyes as it is walking across hot coals.
I bust my ass with a jobs group that I don’t get paid for, because I want to give back to my city in yet another way, so I just can’t understand why she would proclaim herself the Godfather of a city and make people kiss a ring while she builds her “personal brand” on their backs. I call bullshit.
One of my friends summarized Blazek’s behavior perfectly: “Karma’s only a bitch when you are.”
UPDATE: Blazek carefully pens an apology after the emails went viral – are you buying it? Tell us in the comments.
Story updated in 2015 to reflect accurate ADJ Membership number.