Wednesday, October 12, 2005

With Friends Like These ...

I am more than just a bit pissed off today. I interviewed for a job last week with a huge non-profit in Chicago. I had to go through a placement agency to get it, naturally, but this job was perfect for me – so much so that in the subject line of my emailed resume to the agency, I wrote “Look No Further”. A bold thing to do, but the job was just tailor-made for me.

I went to the agency and even they were excited about me; agreeing that I was a perfect fit. They set up the interview and called me with details the night before.

Staci (my rep at the agency) told me all the normal things about how to dress, what to say, be on time, etc. And then she said that the company wanted some writing samples as well. I have never submitted writing samples before so I wasn’t sure exactly what to take with me. I asked for guidance and Staci told me to take any press releases I may have done for my previous company (no problem) and some samples from my blog.

My blog????

I thought that was a little odd. But she knew the customer better than I, so I figured she knew what she was talking about. So I printed off some news releases and a few submissions from my blog that I hoped would be suitable.

The next day, I had my interview with the company. After 2.5 hours, I left basically knowing that I nailed the job. The interview went very well and I was polished, professional, and my usual charming self.

I got a call on Monday from Carolyn, Staci’s supervisor at the agency. She delivered the news that the company absolutely loved me and that the interview was phenomenal. However, the company had some problems with the fact that I submitted entries from my blog as writing samples. Carolyn admitted that after reading what the company had faxed her, she agreed that the submissions were unprofessional. After I told her that it was Staci who advised me to take them, she apologized and said she would accept the blame and contact the company to discuss what happened.

This morning, Carolyn calls me again and tells me that although the company really liked me, they cannot get past the blog submissions, fearing that I might actually send something unprofessional out in correspondence on behalf of the company. The decided against hiring me because of that.

If I had a picture of my head exploding, it would be pasted in this space.

At first I was stunned. I did what I was told and lost the chance at a job that I was perfect for. And truthfully, I don’t really know if Carolyn even accepted the blame or not, because I am sure she does not want to look bad in front of her client. So now I probably look totally unprofessional and ignorant. And I can’t even complain to Carolyn the way I want because I still need that agency to help me find a job. This was my one, good solid lead and now it’s down the drain. So I start all over again.

If I had hair, I would be pulling it out!


  1. OMG...OMG. That is fucking nuts! What the hell was she thinking telling you to do that? Had she even read your blog? Staci needs to be fired ASAP...

  2. >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    I concur with Miss Penny Lane. The minute I read and caught the first words in your blog of what Staci had told you, my first thought was, "oh tell me Dop didn't take samples of his blog." When I use to hire, and if we (the company) wanted a sample of correspondence, we always asked if they had copies of old work correspondence, etc. I even saved some of my correspondence from my last employer - of course names and personal info deleted - when I left to initiate my career change.

    Dop, you always have the agency lead I gave - DHL International based in Chicago. They supposedly do have a team of professionals that focus on not-for-profit/non-profit positions. Can't hurt to check if your feeling awkward now with your current placement agency.

    Hope the new job comes along soon. Keep us posted.


  3. Oh God, I can't believe this! I am so sorry for you. I hope Staci knows that she just screwed you out of a job with her bad advice. I am so incredibly sorry. But keep positive... something will come.

  4. My suggestion is to call the place yourself and explain that you were provided bad advice and have since changed agencies. If they are ever interested in the future, they should call you and you'd be happy to come in again sans blog samples (say with slight humor). Might work out. Better than feeling like a victim and getting insane with anger.

  5. Yikes. People names Staci should never be trusted.

  6. Dop:

    Sorry to hear this. But I think somehow (hard to believe now, I'm sure) things will work out even better and you just weren't meant to have that job. Keep your chin up.

    Best wishes,

    P.S. And yes, girls named STACI are bad news. Also steer clear of Tanyas, Wandas and Tammy Jos.

  7. Staci is crap. If you want her taken out, you just let me know. I know people who know people.

  8. How did she know you had this blog?

  9. Call the non-profit and talk to the person who interviewed you. Take the responsibility for what you wrote - it's opinion after all -- but let them know you submitted it on the agency's recommendation. I hire for a PR firm and see bad writing all the time. If you're that perfect for the job, take it by the balls and fix it yourself. Don't rely on this agency to be the only one talking to the employer. They could be trying to cover their ass more than get you that job. You seem like a good guy. The people who interviewed you will know that. - Steve

  10. Dop, I have to agree with what hayofray and anonymous said. Contact the non-profit youself and tell them that you were given direct advice from the agency to submit samples of your blog entries. Let them know that this is not something that you would send out if you were hired. What's the worst thing that comes out of your calling them? Who knows, you may be able to answer some questions that they may have and get hired after all. Best of luck. - Shane

  11. Crimeny, You might also consider showing up personally to discuss the job. Not with a prejudged stance in mind, use your gut, but maybe just play dumb. "I understand you decided to continue your search, I have brought additional resources for you to consider and I would also like the oportunity to write a pr for you. (pro bono) yada yada yada. Don't necessarily bring up the problem, and maybe they can be negotiated to a sticking point that can be resolved offhand and you walk away with the job. Breathe. You have nothing to loose with this company for trying. Waallah!
    Finally do you want to rely on this level of expertise to help you get a job. request another rep.
    Flexibility is key in negotiating to yes. Good luck. If I can be of help with strategy, just say so and I will email you directly. Ciao.