Meet the One Who Got The Wrong Johnson

Meet the One Who Got The Wrong Johnson

by Kerry Scott on 24 July 2009


Once I had a stint as an interim HR manager for a company with Johnson in the name.

Now, here in southeastern Wisconsin, we have a bunch of companies with Johnson in the name.  There’s Johnson Controls.  There’s S.C. Johnson.  There’s Johnson Wax, which is now called JohnsonDiversey, which used to be part of S.C. Johnson, but isn’t anymore.  There’s even Johnsonville Sausage.

One thing we don’t have, though, is Johnson & Johnson.  That’s in New Jersey, not Wisconsin.

So imagine my surprise when I was conducting a phone interview for a job with one of these Johnson companies, and she told me I was “full of crap.”

See, I’d asked her why she was interested in a job with us.  She gave a long answer about how fabulous Johnson & Johnson was.  It was clear from the context of her answer that she didn’t just slip up and give the wrong name—she really had the wrong company altogether.  She thought we were Johnson & Johnson.  She even talked about the baby shampoo they make.

Now, in fairness, we had lots of candidates who confused us with one of these other companies.  Several of them make some sort of cleaning products, so it’s not hard to see how people got confused.  When she finally stopped to take a breath, I gently said something like, “I really like Johnson & Johnson stuff too.  This job, though, is with JohnsonDiversey.  We make commercial cleaning products.  We used to be part of S.C. Johnson, but we’re not related to Johnson & Johnson.”

And she argued with me.  I can see being embarrassed, because it’s a somewhat understandable mistake.  She wasn’t embarrassed though.  She was pissed.  I think she thought I was trying to pull some sort of scam or make her look stupid or something.  She’d clearly just had a bad experience or two with a recruiter.

That’s when she told me I was full of crap.

She’s definitely not the first person to think so, but I think she’s the first person to accuse me of not knowing what company I worked for.

Clue:  Know what company you’re talking to, and don’t get nasty if you make a mistake.

Tales of the Cluefree appear pretty much every Friday. Past stories are here.

Photo by wonderferret

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Sabrina July 24, 2009 at 10:03 am

What an idiot. Having been from that area I hear the Johnsons of the SC variety are great places to work!!

Charles July 24, 2009 at 11:59 am

It is one thing to make a mistake and confuse the companies’ names; but, she actually argued with you? Now, that is stupid!

P.S. I have done consulting work with Johnson & Johnson in New Jersey; and that gets confusing too as there are about a dozen different divisions and even more subsidiaries. There are at least half a dozen locations scattered around central NJ and some out in PA. I’ve had third-party recruiters call me about jobs at “J&J” and they cannot tell me which one!

Kerry Sandberg Scott July 24, 2009 at 12:26 pm

I think she really thought I was an outside recruiter who was trying to pull some sort of bait-and-switch. She was absolutely certain that I’d put the wrong company name on the posting. In fact, she was so sure that I actually pulled it up on the computer to double check while she was talking, because I thought maybe I HAD screwed it up (nope).

In fairness, I think she had just come off some sort of really bad experience with a recruiter or agency or something. But still.

carla July 25, 2009 at 5:03 pm

I can see being confused, especially when you get a lot of calls while looking for work – but to argue with you??
.-= carla´s last blog ..Matt & Natt Vegan Handbags from =-.

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