I was recently asked how we could publicly identify the employers in our industry to help professionals from being taken advantage of or being treated poorly.  Unfortunately, due to the dynamic nature of human diversity, there are good and bad professionals as well as good and bad Principals.  And this isn’t just a problem in our industry, it’s at every level of society.  Have you ever heard the saying “Professionals don’t leave bad jobs, they leave bad managers?  We work in an industry with a unique set of circumstances and a level of intimacy that doesn’t exist in other professions.

As a business owner that caters to the HNW & UHNW, I take my client’s privacy very seriously.  Besides the obvious slander liability legal issue which could cost me everything I own, discretion is at the heart of our industry.  But at the same time, as a representative of Precise Home Management, I feel like I have a responsibility to prepare a potential placement candidate as much as I can without violating confidences; after all, placement is far more than knowing the right skillset for the Principal, it’s about chemistry.  That’s where due diligence on behalf of the Professional is needed (not the first time you’ve heard me say due diligence).

This is a difficult industry to get a job in, 6-12 months of unemployment is not unheard of.  By the time the interview process begins, we’ve been out of work for so long that a bit of panic sets in; that coupled with the excitement of a potential new job can cloud our vision, it has mine in the past.  I learned the hard way to never let panic or desperation drive my decision.

Below are a few tips to help you identify the red flags as long as you aren’t letting panic cloud your thoughts.

  • Ask the Principal the right questions. Remember to be tactful in your timing. asking some questions too early can negatively affect their perception.
    • How long has your current staff been with you?
    • Why did it not work out with my predecessor?
    • Can I speak to my predecessor?
    • Can I speak with any of your current employees?
  • Ask your agency:
    • Do you have a history with this client?
    • What is your client interview process?
    • Also note how well your agency screens you, they should be doing the same with the Principal.
  • Have any other agencies represented them?
    • This is a shot in the dark, agencies may not always know who the client has used in the past. But it never hurts to ask.
    • Reach out to you other industry agency contacts and see if they have heard anything.

Now that you have some answers, read between the lines.

Something else you need to remember is that just like you are on your best behavior in the interview, so are they.  Nobody likes to talk about their bad traits or their faults.  Unless you are employed by a super-psycho, you may not find out that they are bad employers/bosses until the honeymoon period wears off.

While I don’t directly wish it on anyone, it’s not a bad thing to have some experience in one of the nightmare homes.  It gives you thicker skin and makes you value a semi-difficult position.  We all have the battle scars, I wear them like a badge of honor.