My reply to Ross Clennentt’s blog about our use of the word……. ‘Fuck’

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Today I was sent an e-mail about this blog by Ross Clennentt who only days ago I had included in my list as one of the top 50 influential people in the Australasian recruitment industry.

In his blog he goes on to say;

“that whoever wrote the Vend VP of Global Marketing job ad; I think you’ve overstepped the mark. Your use of the F word is not contextually appropriate. It just comes across as look-at-me showmanship.”

It was a well written blog and the guy (Ross) can obviously write.

However, I didn’t agree.  Anyone that knows me knows I am of the ‘EQ recruitment’ movement. I believe in searching for people who feel like they truly fit into your culture and I believe doing great work while truly being themselves is what people actually want in these modern days. Ross suggests on his about me page that he stopped recruiting in 2003 and so I give him the benefit of the doubt that he has not experienced the EQ movement and how important culture is in modern business.

So to Ross, his readers, his commenters and to my readers I write this open reply.

Dear Ross,

I work for Vend in the Talent team and so I thought I would pass on our reasons at Vend for using the word ‘fuck

Oops, I did it again.

In our recent exchange on twitter I suggested you did not get it.

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To which you replied by saying that “you’re absolutely right; I don’t ‘get it’ but keen to be enlightened.”

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I am not sure if you will be enlightened, though here are our reasons for using the ‘F word’ at Vend and in our ads.

Firstly: We are encouraged to bring our real personalities to work and not to leave them at the door. This means that we have a lot of different people who work at Vend, people from all over the world, all kinds of religions – and Vend welcomes and supports everyone including people who drop an F bomb.

If someone is offended by something at Vend they can (and do) speak up without being afraid of any consequences. But we really push to be true to ourselves in the market when we attract talent and we are extremely proud of our culture and the work we do. So we work hard to maintain what makes us unique as a business and that means letting people drop an ‘F word’ if they need/want to. It is not uncommon to hear people swearing at Vend every day. Considering one of our supporting values is “Just fucking do it” I would be highly surprised not hearing an ‘F word’ every day.

vend_new_hq_newmarket_fitout_idealog_9_520x400-1

Secondly: We work in a new tech start-up, much like Atlassian who you also wrote a blog about. In the startup world the people whom are attracted to and often found working in these companies are from what the kids would call the “New school” of business and don’t feel they need to hide nor forgo their complete vocab just because they are at work.

Finally: I agree with ‘Anonymous’ on your comments that asked, “Was this blog post written in 1952?”  Yes this is 2015 and regardless if you like it or not, Fuck is being used more than ever in business by all generations.  Did you know that the words Bloody and bugger were the two most prevalent and offensive swear words in the 18th and 19th centuries. We now use those particular words (especially in Australia) all the time. Things change and the word fuck is as I see it a great word to depict passion.

Well, we at Vend prefer to use it in a passionate and uplifting way to which is different than you have in your previous blogs.

So why did we at Vend use this in our VP of Global Marketing ad?

(p.s thanks for marketing the ad)

https://jobs.lever.co/vend/f6266da5-4ae2-4ea2-8114-213f3c3a040f

Well, we like to write our ads to address peoples IQ and EQ.

While the intent isn’t to offend (because we’re far too nice for that), if somebody is offended by the word Fuck then there’s a chance they may not enjoy working at Vend. As for you suggesting that our use of the word is:

Not clever.

Not funny.

Not appropriate.

Not necessary.

I will tell you, the very reason we use the word is to ‘detract’ people who are offended by it, so I believe this makes the ad quite clever, very funny, appropriate for Vend and ABSOLUTELY necessary.

By giving readers a good peek through the windows it allows them the opportunity to opt out if they choose. We have done this only a few times over the years and when we do the feedback is really positive.

Some of this weeks feedback:

“Embrace it! Vend is super proud of its culture and if it needs the ‘f’ word to reinforce how awesome it is then go for it! Vend is challenging the status quo and I love it.” 

“I just had to say that I loved your VP Global Marketing search profile.. well done!”  (from a Media Specialist at NASA)

“Refreshing”

Why wouldn’t we keep doing this? To date we’ve had one complaint that’s come to us direct and after responding to this feedback openly we received a great response in return. Not one of agreeance but certainly acceptance.

So hey, we won’t all agree in life, but I hope I have ‘enlightened’ you as to why we chose to write the word ‘fuck‘ on our own ads.

I will conclude by addressing your final remark on your blog.

“So, to whoever wrote the Vend VP of Global Marketing job ad; I think you’ve overstepped the mark. Your use of the F word is not contextually appropriate. It just comes across as look-at-me showmanship.”

This is your view and I respect it. (Not agree with it.)

I hope that at your place of work, you and your colleagues and or staff are allowed to ‘say what you want’ and ‘bring your true personality through the door.’

At our workplace this is completely appropriate and by no-means is intended for showmanship, next time you come to New Zealand, come in to our digs and have a beer and say hello. I bet you mutter the words – “Actually, this must be a ‘fucking’ great place to work.

Just so you know 100% of Vend employees are proud to work at Vend and we swear all the time. You can check out how great our culture is here and you will note that in all the pictures nobody has soap in their mouth.

Thanks for reading.

You pal,

Troy

13 thoughts on “My reply to Ross Clennentt’s blog about our use of the word……. ‘Fuck’

  1. An enjoyable distraction to my day reading both Ross’s and Troy’s comments and responses. Troy I think your goal of using the “F” bomb to screen applicants will (and has because you tell us) work – for better or worse, it works. However your response is so defensive it comes across as petty and immature. That’s my opinion on this piece… I’m sure your a fucken awesome guy doing fucken awesome stuff for a fucken awesome company but I personally wouldn’t use the “F” word…

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    1. Cheers for your ‘ironically sweary’ comment. The good thing is here is that everyone is entitled to their opinion on the topic which some deem controversial. I think we just used the word “fuck” as somebody else might use the word amazing as in ‘our’ culture that is how we roll……..

      Liked by 2 people

  2. As a manager, if a recruiter reported to me and they used this sort of language in any formal communication, especially an advertisement, then I would look to sack them for serious misconduct.

    I would suggest that Troy may lack in business acumen. He obviously doesn’t understand competitive advantage or the competitive nature of recruitment. The attitude of “we don’t want them anyway” may come with a two fold cost, the cost of missing out on good talent and also the cost of good talent being employed by a key competitor.

    In this post, Troy outlines that this is typical of a “new way of working” and that the F word is even incorporated into one of their key values. They encourage people to be themselves and to bring their whole personality to work with them. He comes across as thinking that other people don’t understand the importance of corporate culture or that the focus on culture is a new thing. Wrong and wrong!

    The two key factors to the success of any culture are trust and respect. Vend appear to miss the mark with this.

    While the advertisement was bad enough, what makes it even worst is the blog post written by Troy. His explanation of why and how they do things is even more damaging to the Vend brand.

    In summary, I will not be applying for a job with Vend, I will not look to buy any of the products and I will not recommend them to people (and yes, I have influence with several retailers). Troy, you should have also thought about your customers.

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    1. Thanks for your comment Vaughan. You obviously didn’t catch the whole debate as I did not actually write the ad.

      However I do stand behind the ad and the reasoning on why the word was used.
      Simply: “Passion to accentuate the sentence.” As for your saying that I am ignorant to other cultures, inherently disagree. I have recruited for many cultures (100’s) and always adopt a stance on addressing, marketing and searching the target market of people for that particular business.

      All I was saying that, this is the way “Vend” works.

      Sometimes people swear here and by putting this in ad we are just being ourselves.

      As for me not understanding recruitment? Well I’d like to think I am pretty good at my job and my mother and a few people would also agree.

      Thanks for your comment none the less and I am sorry you feel this way, however you are more than entitled to weigh into the debate. I hope however on reflection you will see that all I am/was saying is that “Be yourself as everyone else is already taken”

      Troy

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      1. Troy, thank you for your response. At the end of the day, people in a free society have the right to vote with their feet. This model might work well at VendHQ today, but I challenge you to make it scale as the company grows.

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  3. I am anything but offended by the word. In fact i use it daily so i would be a hypocrite to take offense to it. That being said, i think that people whilst not being offended by the word itself may find the offence in reading it in an ad. I get your point completely that the language evolves and todays curse word is tomorrows term of endearment. So i think im in the majority by not being offended by the word. However i understand that people would be offended or taken aback by its use in a job ad even though not being offended by the word in general. At the end of the day though, your team is clearly excellent at marketing. This ad has probably got more publicity than any other in recent times and there is no such thing as bad publicity (unless you’re Rolf Harris).

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