It’s not always obvious.
I could liken it to buying a new property.
Everything looks great in the photographs. The price is acceptable and it’s in an area linked to good schools/shops/transport links.
You then turn up to find the photos were taken 10 years ago (from a very flattering angle), the house has since been home to six students (it only has three bedrooms) and it smells a little bit like trainers, cigarettes and damp.
It’s also in the only part of town completely inaccessible to local amenities.
Similarly, a business can have a great website and a well-known brand but when you turn up for your first meeting you start to see the reality behind the façade.
The receptionist doesn’t smile and greet you.
The recruiting manager leaves you waiting for 20 minutes before finally making it down to meet you.
Employees seem quiet/miserable/uncommunicative and the décor is dated and uncared for.
Fast forward to the client meeting and more alarm bells start to ring.
The manager is vague about the positions they are trying to fill and hasn’t put together proper job specifications.
When asked about where the roles fit into the wider business strategy their answers are similarly weak. They then tell you they are meeting with four other recruiters and that all have pre-agreed to work at low rates with extended payment terms.
On the one hand, you’re being given an opportunity to work on several new projects but on the other, you’re beginning to realise that the negatives are far outweighing this single positive.
You start to ask yourself some key questions.
Would I feel comfortable marketing this business to my talent network?
Will I feel my time is well spent working on such low margins?
Is this going to be a good emotional and financial investment?
Some recruiters may decide to take the gamble but the road ahead will never be paved with gold, just pitted with the inevitable landmines.
One of your best category managers has a terrible interview – boom!
The interview panel fail to give any feedback following your first stage interviews – blast!
You fill a role but payment is never forthcoming – crash!
Tempting as it is to jump at every business opportunity it’s important to take a step back and think things through.
As humans, we want to spend time with people we like and trust.
As recruitment professionals, our focus should be the same.
It may take a little longer, but if we build our networks on good relationships then we should never have to contemplate bad business opportunities.