Kelly Blazek, Cleveland Job Bank Head, Criticized Over ‘Arrogant’ Rejection Emails

February 28, 2014 Updated: February 28, 2014

Kelly Blazek, the head of a Cleveland area job bank, has been criticized after rejection emails she sent to job seekers were published online.

The first came from Diana Mekota, a graduate of John Carroll University who moved back to Cleveland last summer.

Mekota tried to connect with Blazek on LinkedIn, and got this reply: 

“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,” the email continued. “Wow, I cannot wait to let every 25-year-old jobseeker mine my top-tier marketing connections to help them land a job. 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.” The email ends with “Don’t ever write me again.”

Mekota told the Cleveland Plain Dealer that she was so shocked that she emailed Blazek to try to clear things up, but Blazek didn’t respond. So she started sharing her email with friends.

“I decided, with the attention and anger it was fueling, it would be best to share with sites like imgur and reddit,” she said.

The emails started circulating online on most social media websites, including Twitter and Facebook. People called them “arrogant” and called Blazek “an embarrassment.”

The emails and replies are especially damaging to Blazek because she is well-known for her communication skills, being named “Communicator of the Year” in 2013 by the Cleveland Chapter of the the International Association of Business Communicators.

Blazek is not just a headhunter or a recruiter, but a senior communications executive who enjoys helping others in the profession,” the IABC said in a statement announcing the award. It noted that “her listserv is one of the largest individually produced employment compilations in the country within the marketing and communications field.”

Blazek said in an emailed apology to the Plain Dealer: “I am very sorry to the people I have hurt.

“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.”

She added: “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. The note I sent to Diana was rude, unwelcoming, unprofessional and wrong. I am reaching out to her to apologize. Diana and her generation are the future of this city. I wish her all the best in landing a job in this great town.”

She deleted her blog and Twitter account after the criticism started pouring in. Emails to others were also made public, along with the reply to Mekota.

“This was never a personal attack simply because I was turned down. More than anything, it was about the fact that this senior professional was treating young professionals like this, in a time when it’s already difficult to find a job,” Mekota said, noting that she has accepted Blazek’s apology. 

“Since this story became so viral, I have heard from hundreds of people in the Cleveland area. Their reaction has been worth all of this. Knowing that people in the Cleveland area are excited for ‘boomerangs’ and young professionals is the best homecoming I could ask for.”

Follow Zachary on Twitter: @zackstieber