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A Job Centre in Bolton demanded that "friendly" be removed from a job ad on the basis that it discriminates against the unfriendly - "enthusiastic" and "motivated" have also been victims of similar bans. While my personal view is that these words do little harm (or good. Does anyone ever decide not to apply for a job they want because they read "motivated" and think "good point, that's not me"?), the minor furore this caused showed how ridiculous this stuff is.

A spokesman for the Department that oversees Job Centres felt the un-friendly ruling was going too far but then blasted herself in the foot with both barrels by saying they have guidelines against using personality traits "so if an employer wants someone who is 'bubbly and vivacious", we would get them to use other words to get the message across".

Leaving aside the fact that the line between "bubbly and vivacious" and "friendly" is wafer thin, and someone's eaten the wafer, what is the point of demanding that you get exactly the same message across but use different words? It's like being hit by "friendly fire" - it may sound nicer but still hurts like hell!

The Institute of Recruitment Experts Who Have To Butt in on Everything naturally had to comment.

"To be fair 'friendly' is not the best way to phrase this - 'outgoing personality preferred' would have been more appropriate" - chomping the wafer mentioned above while proving our industry's total inability to use one word when at least three will do *crosses all fingers and hopes irony of having a go at wordiness in vast, rambling newsletter passes by loyal audience*.

Can anyone explain why "outgoing personality" is preferable to "friendly" because it's a mystery to me? Doesn't it discriminate against the introverted, the quiet, and the reserved? And where on earth does this all end? Ultimately, logic dictates this must lead to a ban on all words that carry any level of subjectivity, leaving just factual requirements - recruitment Nirvana (the bland leading the bland?).

People who get involved in debates like this remind me of that strange breed who complain to the various authorities about product adverts, getting all in dither when they should be spending the ad break like the rest of us - making a cup of tea. Mind you, for the first time ever, I saw the point of a complaint that was upheld this week: an ad for "Take a Break" magazine showed a despondent pensioner staring at an empty food plate while outside a meals-on-wheels driver read the mag under the tagline "Whatever you are doing it can wait - while you take a break".

Now that is offensive

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Recruitment Advertising - Now the word "friendly" is discriminatory where will it all end?



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