The manager of a 7,300-subscribers JobBank newsletter in northeast Ohio, has offered an apology for her strident replies to applicant emails, which went viral over the past week or so.

Here’s part of Kelly Blazek’s written apology, according to Cleveland.com:
Hundreds of people contact me every month looking for help, and as the bottom fell out of the job market, their outreach and requests demanded more of my time. I became shortsighted and impatient, and that was wrong.

My Job Bank listings were supposed to be about hope, and I failed that. In my harsh reply notes, I lost my perspective about how to help, and I also lost sight of kindness, which is why I started the Job Bank listings in the first place.
At least three applicants to the newsletter made the self-described “house mother” of Cleveland’s rejection emails public on the Web. Quite a few critics on Twitter called Blazek’s responses a bad reflection on Cleveland’s professional community. The #KellyBlazek hashtag is a pretty good catalog of that criticism, and there’s even a parody account.

Here’s one example of a response from Blazek--a 2013 International Association of Business Communicators communicator of the year--which was posted to BuzzFeed last week:

The latest exchange was posted to Cleveland’s Scene website Tuesday. Here’s the initial overture:

Hello Kelly,

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?
And Blazek’s reply:
[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
Comments on the Scene piece were as unkind to Blazek, if not more so, than her emails were to the applicants. One called her an “arrogant idiot.”

 

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