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