Rocking all over the world – except Brighton

11 June 2010
Air guitar listed as a hobby on your CV? Don’t bother applying for a job with Brighton council. Brighton & Hove City Council has struck the wrong chord with taxpayers and Status Quo fans alike, with an eccentric ad campaign for executive jobs – for which fans of the British headbanging stalwarts “need not apply”. The council is reported to have spent about £10,000 on the website SayNoToStatusQuo.co.uk in the hope of luring unconventional candidates for four new £125,000 strategic director roles. Instead it has attracted a blaze of publicity for its “bizarre” recruitment strategy – the home page is adorned with the words "Status Quo fans need not apply" in gold lettering with pink thunder bolts. The accompanying video clip extols the values of “outcomes, effectiveness and efficiency” sketched on a backdrop of waves washing over a pebbly beach, set to a tinkling new age soundtrack. The strategic directors will be responsible for helping the council to secure savings of £20 million next year. Simon Porter, who manages Status Quo, said: “This just seems like a ludicrous waste of money, and particularly in the very week that the new Prime Minister is warning everyone about future budget cuts. Perhaps Brighton should make some savings in its recruitment department.” John Barradell, the chief executive of Brighton & Hove, has apologised to the riled rockers in an open letter on the council’s website. He wrote: “What we mean by this play on words is that we want people who will come to the council with brilliant and original ideas… the question of musical preference will not be asked at interview; it is not relevant to the recruitment of these jobs.” But before anyone leaps to accuse the public sector of discrimination against rock ‘n’ rollers – let’s not forget that David Smith, commercial director of the Department for Work and Pensions, once tore up the stage as an early member of Iron Maiden, before laying down his guitar to take up the mantle of procurement.
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