Top 50 HR & Recruiting bad asses in APAC featuring – Ross Clennett

Hello.

As regular readers will know, I have been running this series of blog posts from my list of top 50 HR and Recruiting bad-asses and profiling the people on this list.

I am writing this post late (in my lunch break), normally I do this late at night and I write an overview on a topic that interests me.

However,  if you glance across to my twitter feed on the right of this page you will note I drank way too much Guinness last night.

So I am a bit too tired hung-over to write something.

However after re-reading Ross’s profile, I went and watched “Simon Sinek: Why Leaders Eat Last” again.

I love this talk, even though I have seen it 20 times. I recommend you go and watch it. It goes for about 45mins and so maybe not at work, though when you get home.


So #27 on my list is Ross Clennett and a guy whom I recently had a great debate. It was all good fun and so I hope you all look forward to reading his profile as much as I did.

Ross is a high performance recruitment coach and recruitment industry blogger and commentator.As a professional recruiter, between 1989 and 2003, Ross screened over 80,000 resumes, interviewed over 3,000 people and successfully placed over 1,500 people in work. Over this time he worked in London, Sydney, Adelaide and Melbourne.

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Ross with his wife, Michelle, 
as they head out to celebrate their 7th wedding anniversary.

What do you do in the HR/Recruiting scene?

Since 2003 I have run my own coaching and training business, RossClennett.com, from my home office in Mornington (60km SE of the Melbourne CBD). My clients are almost all owners of small and medium-sized recruitment agencies in Australia, New Zealand and Singapore. Most of my services are provided via webinar, Skype or phone. I have also been blogging every week since September 2007.

Why/How did you get into the industry?

Like many career recruiters I had no thought of recruitment as a likely career while I was studying (BEc, University of Tasmania). Like many Aussies and Kiwis I decided that London was a good post-degree option. When I arrived I went to an agency recommended by a friend of mine (Accountancy Personnel, now Hays) and the recruiter talked me into a job with them as a permanent accounting recruiter in the AP office just near Victoria station. The rest, as they say in the classics, is history.

What is something we don’t know about you?

At university I was a very committed amateur thespian and student politician and had I not gone to London after graduating, I may have had a very different life.

Which people inspire you globally?

I’m not sure inspire is quite the word I would use to describe the following people, it’s probably more respect:

  • Kevin Wheeler (US)  Kevin would be older than 99% of recruiters operating today yet he has a boundless energy to understand the trends shaping recruitment globally and he has a wonderful way of communicating that knowledge  whether by word, on stage or over  dinner with a good glass of red.
  • Greg Savage (Aus) I worked for Greg for nine years and he has been the person who has had the biggest impact on me , professionally. Even after thirty plus years in recruitment Greg still loves recruitment and has done more than anybody in Australia to raise the educational and ethical standards of our industry.
  • Geoff Morgan & Andrew Banks Geoff and Andrew showed the recruitment industry how to build a profitable and scalable public recruitment company. Their skill at doing this is evidenced by, in the fifteen subsequent year, how many people have tried to emulate their example, and almost all have failed.
  • Nigel Heap has had an extraordinary 27 year career at Hays. He completely turned around Hays in Australia and NZ  when he started as MD in the mid-1990’s and built a profit and people powerhouse. He is now applying the same skills to the Hays Uk & Ireland business, with similar results.

What about companies then, which inspire you globally?  I am not inspired easily! Again I would say that I respect a company like Atlassian for their approach to talent. My former employer, Hays, has, despite all their critics, proven to be a very successful company no matter what global market they enter (the USA remains an exception).  In the Aus/NZ recruitment industry, companies like people2people, Wavelength International, Six Degrees Executive and Madison Recruitment are all ones I admire.

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Ross with RCSA (Aus & NZ) President Robert Van Stokrom after 
day jet boating on the Dart River post 2014 RCSA International 
Conference in Queenstown, NZ


What advice would you give someone looking to enter this industry?

Keep your focus narrow and simple. Don’t over complicate recruitment!

As an example I see three or four page position descriptions and I despair. If you need more than one page for a PD you are probably making things harder and more complicated than it needs to be.

What is your favourite drink?

Beer. The pale ales that come from Little Creatures, Cascade and Coopers are all excellent although I am always open to trying a beer I haven’t tasted before!

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What are you currently reading?

Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action by Simon Sinek. Prior to that, Influence: Science and Practice (5th edition) by Robert B. Cialdini . I also always have a music industry memoir or biography on the go. I have just finished James Freud’s (The Models) first memoir as well as a recent Bee Gees biography (by David N. Meyer) and Led Zeppelin biography (by Mick Wall).

Why do you love the HR and Recruiting industry?

It’s an industry that is more important than ever (no matter what some people say), it’s never dull, I always meet interesting people and I owe by living to it.

Who would be top 5 on your list?

(To count as a Thought Leader in my book you have to regularly either blog or speak at conferences, or both)

Greg Savage, Jonathan Rice, Rob Davidson, Craig Watson, James Elliott, Paul Jacobs

(I would love to include a few women on this list but, unfortunately, very few women in Aus/NZ recruitment blog or speak regularly, Nicole Underwood being an exception in Australia.)

I would have included Joris Luijke (ex-Atlassian) but as he now lives and works in New York  I’ll have to regard him as ineligible for a 2015 list.


Thanks Ross, you should know that I debated dropping an F-Bomb in this post, though thought I would refrain.

Please comment below who you would like to hear from next……

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.

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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