The Top 5 Signs of a Bad Job Order

You’ve most likely heard the expression “Any business is good business.” As you probably already realize, that saying does NOT necessarily apply to recruiting. And it certainly does NOT apply to a bad job order.

Industry trainer Barb Bruno said it best in one of her Top Echelon blog posts: “When you think of all the work that goes into marketing your services, writing a job order, and working that order, it’s vital that you choose to work only job orders that have the best chance of resulting in a placement.”

As Kenny Rogers sings in his famous song, “The Gambler,” “You’ve got to know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em, know when to walk away, know when to run.” But HOW can you tell which direct hire job orders should send you running in the opposite direction?

Below are the top five signs of a bad job order:

#1—No urgency = a bad job order

The client should be able to give an expected fill date for the position, even if it’s tentative. “ASAP” is not a timeline. Try asking more specific questions. Those questions could include, “What is the target start date?” or “When will you be available to interview with candidates?” If they cannot answer those questions, filling the position is probably not a high priority.

#2—Slow or no response

If your client has a habit of missing phone calls or it takes longer than 48 hours to hear back, taking more job orders from them may be inadvisable.

#3—Several recruiters working one order

Make sure you aren’t wasting your time in a race against several other recruiters to fill the same job order.

#4—Key decision makers are AWOL.

Will you have access to the key decision maker or hiring manager? It may be worth your while to find out up front. You’ll likely start with human resources and that’s fine, but pursuing the job order could be an exercise in futility if the person with the need isn’t involved.

#5—The client is looking for a “purple squirrel.”

The client wants a recent college graduate with 15 years of experience who can write in cuneiform and juggles torches in their off-hours. That may be a slight exaggeration, but some of your clients’ expectations are likely almost as ludicrous. Instead of slogging through the mud, maybe it would be best to say, “Thanks, but no thanks.” Alternatively, you could ask them to “try out” a candidate with MOST of what they’re seeking (cuneiform but no fire-juggling?) on a contract-to-direct basis. Since they have no long-term commitment, they may be willing to give a close-to-perfect fit a shot!

With or without these telling signals, you can probably tell bad business instinctively. But you also know that you need to generate income and you may be hesitant to turn it down. What if you had a steady stream of income that allowed you to be choosier about your job orders? It’s not a fantasy. You CAN turn down a bad job order. IF you are generating steady income through contract staffing.

When you have contractors, you’re paid for every hour they work during the contract period. That means you’re making money even when you’re not making direct placements. This gives you the freedom to turn down job orders that you know ultimately won’t be worth your time. This, in turn, leaves you with more time for the good job orders that are much more likely to deliver a large direct hire placement fee.

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