Wednesday, February 18, 2009

When Companies Just Don't Get It

I'm posting this thread as an example of why I think companies fail to take advantage of opportunities that are present in this ever-quickening marketplace... by no means do I believe that there is an opportunity for ME at this company, but I approached them in a manner where I offered to discuss their business, the greening of America and the impact of the interactive web community when invited into the doors of a business.

Excerpt from my unsolicited email (2/11):
"This resume may seem off-target, but in today's world where we are becoming more aware of what we are throwing away—and how it can be reused—I believe that there will be certain industries that will birth the great companies of this century. It is with those companies that I would like to bring my skills to assist in that ascension from good to great."

I then outlined my skill set, the opportunities that may be present given the new Administration and that I'm available for any chance to converse with someone in their marketing arena. Honestly, I didn't expect an invitation, but I'm taking the shotgun approach to finding a job in KC.

It's their response that caught me as dangerously impersonal.

Their response (2/16):
"What position are you applying for? We are not allowed to take resumes without a specific position listed. Please take a look at our website for a full list. Thank you."


Deffenbaugh? Who is Deffenbaugh? Am I to believe that some relative of the family business name (one that is actually called by their last name) is responding to unsolicited HR emails? If I called their office and asked for "Deffenbaugh," who am I likely to get on the other end of the phone?

So, I called em...
ME: "Hi, I need to speak to Deffenbaugh."
THEM: "Who?"
ME: "Deffenbaugh."
THEM: "What do you mean, Deffenbaugh?"
THEM: "Deffenbaugh is the company name, not a person working here."
ME: (LMAO so hard that I had to hang up).

This may be a case where the company is acting it's age... they've been around forever... they collect trash... so their dinosaur mentality may just be a function of who they are and what they do.

My response to them (2/18):
I appreciate your timely response, but I must take a moment to offer some advice. In today's world, where relationships are what develop loyalty, this response from you is far from warming.

I hope you take no offense to this... I'm a seasoned marketer with a specialization in developing community, aka relationships customers that has worked with both large and small companies around the country.

1. Your email is signed as "Deffenbaugh." Visions of templated responses and auto-regurgitation come to mind. If I called your office and asked for "Deffenbaugh," who would I get? The answer is no one.

2. In an effort to be nimble and react to opportunity, it is a wise business decision to keep good resumes on file. As Jack Welch, former CEO of GE states, companies go from good to great by being able to match talent and opportunity when one or both arise.

I wish you luck in your business.


Anonymous said...

I toss an occasional LOL into written word - rarely is it literal. Your Deffenbaugh call produced a literal LOL - thanks!

Nice outside the box thinking.

Robert Zamees said...

:-) Thank you for reading!

Anonymous said...

Deffenbaugh's Director of Public Relations:

Tom Coffman
Deffenbaugh Industries
(913) 667-8708

Chimpotle said...

You sent your resume to them unsolicited. Why did you expect anything other than an auto reply? They likely have an intern screening those and routing them to the right department. If you're going that route, you better have someone specific you are sending it to, not a general email address.

Frankly, I'm rather pleased they dealt with it in this manner. They are a waste disposal company. I don't want them to market to me. I want them to come pick up my trash.

Robert Zamees said...

Point is... it wasn't an auto-reply because it came several days after the unsolicited submission. Though, I'm quite sure it's a templated (i.e., cut and paste) support response.

Two more things to say:
1. Deffenbaugh is not just a "waste disposal company." It is this short-sightedness that impacts our ability as a nation to be more cognizant of what we can do to take care of our planet. They do much more than pick up your trash.

2. Deffenbaugh is part of your community... they are in your homes, they are in your schools, they are in your businesses... as soon as they realize that they are in your kitchen, then they should act like it and embrace the seat at the dinner table to find out how they can help you with so many other things that we can do as citizens of the Earth.

Neither the company or the customers realize the potential of their relationship... evident by their impersonal response and by the most recent comment on this blog.

Robert Zamees said...

BTW, Deffenbaugh's corporate recruiter, Laura Rupe, replied to my email claiming that is "illegal" for them to accept resumes/applications without a position stated per the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP). Seriously?

Then she goes on to say that she "gladly keeps all resumes in a database."

Huh? Is she breaking the law?

Now, it gets even more confusing. She says, "I feel like our automated system is actually helpful to our candidates (my customers) in narrowing their search with us and not have to be put in a 'general' folder."

Is there a "general" folder or not?

CONCLUSION: I think I'd rather have the simple template instead of the indecipherable email. The template tells me exactly what kind of company I'm dealing with, while the email reads like something from "A Confederacy of Dunces."

Anonymous said...

Enjoy the bread line whiner. Maybe they'll find your witty humor more interesting than me, and presumably any future employer, did.

Robert Zamees said...

Ahhh, one must breathe in the presence of trolls. Breathe IN. Breathe OUT. Expunge the bad air.

Now Troll, you have no idea where I've been and what I've done in my professional life. I don't say it to brag; I say it to state fact.

So, take that sweaty sock that you haven't washed since your Mom kicked you out of the house... yeah that one that you stuff in your pants... and suck on it for awhile.

kcmeesha said...

I am always surprised when people actually live up to stereotypes, yours is one of the self-help type: don't wait for an opportunity, create your own,yadda, yadda, yadda. Companies in this part of the country may not be as cutting edge as the the ones on the coasts, but on the other hand they are not the ones who brought you internet and then real estate bubble. So maybe conservative doesn't equal stupid.

Robert Zamees said...

Self-help type? What does that even mean? You're bringing visions of aisles in bookstores and rows of books that I've never read, nor even looked at. My shelves are full of classics, modern fiction and a lil' non-fiction... well, plus all my tomes of reference books.

Me thinks there's much land between cutting edge and bleeding economy... lots of switches, buttons, dials and knobs and it ain't no recipe for burnt chicken to be blamed on a microcosm of entities, as you suggest.

Far, far from it. There is often as much blame to be found in action as there is inaction.

Call 911!

Anonymous said...

Deffenbaugh was sold over a year ago and is no longer a locally-owned family business. The "Deffenbaugh" identity was presumably retained due to it's high name recognition in the Kansas City market.