Truth In Advertising

I have had this post sitting around for a while with no activity, and considering that the incident listed below took place back in 2010, I feel I can relate the details without catching too much flack over what transpired.  Also, I would like to make it clear that the details related below are based on my personal observations.  It is entirely possible that I may have misconstrued the circumstances of what transpired this night, and if I did make the inadvertant mistake of misreporting what happened, I apologize.  That said, let’s dig into  a little bit of history and one of my biggest pet peeves.

I had attended the PinkSlip Mixers Kickoff event in Palo Alto, CA on Tuesday night (01/12/2010) and wanted to brieflycomment on an incident that I witnessed firsthand.

Without singling any one specific organizer out, this is what I observed:

(Prior to the event) advertisements (namely webposts and emails) for this event listed that among companies participating would be Tesla Motors, who would be sending recruiters to meet with attendees.  As it turned out, this was not the case.  A colleague of mine that was recently hired by the company at the time, was singled out as having worked there, even though I do not believe it was my friend’s intent to identify himself in such a fashion.  The bottom line is that the message communicated to the audience was that Tesla Motors (and specifically their recruiting team) was a willing and active participant in this event, which was a major blunder, if not flat-out fraud. 

How many of those attending as candidates were eager to meet with someone from Tesla, and would be more than disappointed or even angered by their absence?

Now as to whose at fault for miscommunicating this, I do not want to say.  What I can say, is that according to the friend (employed by Tesla), he provided advanced knowledge to this event’s organizers that Tesla was not a ‘lock,” that (the organizers) had ample time to either warn participants up-front that Tesla’s recruiters were not verified to attend, or at least, come clean about the recruiters’ absences to the reporters from at least three different news organizations that attended.

To add insult to injury, I personally witnessed one of the organizers tell a female reporter from Channel 5 (CBS) to her face that he was not aware of the situation, did not know why (Tesla) did not show up, and that he was in the dark as to what was going on.  It seemed from this exchange that he implied that the recruiting team from Tesla were specifically expected to show, and that they essentially bailed with no explanation.  I am appalled.  How do you drum up the gall to do that to somebody?  What’s more, why would you?  Admit it was a mistake.  Let the reporters know that you are working to make them available for the next event.  Anything but throwing these folks “under the bus” to cover for your failure.

Now I do not know absolutely why this happened, and to be honest, considering how long ago this transpired, I seriously doubt anyone will care, but it did leave a very bad taste in my mouth, enough to want to stay away from PinkSlip Mixer events for a while.  It also brought to light that when participating in these events, it helps to enter into them with the notion that if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

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