Many years ago, I had the idea of creating a meat-flavoured fizzy beverage in a can. Y’know, for those moments when you want the refreshment and sugar rush of a cola, but also the comfort of some good old fashioned home cooking. Sadly, interest in “Lambonade” was weak to say the least. Ever since then, and arguably before, I’ve been fascinated and entertained by bad business ideas. Some would say that by co-owning a rec-to-rec firm and a recruitment alternative that charges clients next to nothing, that I’ve taken the joke a tad too far…
However, my interest in the bizarre world of business continues. Thankfully the winds of chance have blown me into the recruitment industry, where due to the incredibly low barriers to entry, the next bad business idea is only just around the corner. And as 2020 finally splutters (and it really is spluttering) into gear, we will no doubt see a raft of new recruitment firms trying to do something “different”. Sadly, with so many recruitment firms out there, doing different often requires doing bizarre. And bizarre has the same chance of working as you do of dying from coronavirus. So here’s a list of truly terrible recruitment business ideas. Some have already happened, some are purely from my own dark and twisted brain, but regardless of fact or fiction, at some point in the future, we will see worse.
Pick an awful name:
Choosing a name for a recruitment firm is an absolute ball-ache. I’ve done it. Well, I’ve wasted time trying to do it, and then paid someone to do it for me. For those who want to save money and play it safe, simply use two inoffensive and generic first or surnames. This could be your name, or a combination of names. Hell, make the names up if you want. You’ll never offend a client or candidate by being called Michael Page, Hunter Campbell, Alexander James or even Rice Consulting. Another option is to buy a name straight of the internet. Yep. That’s a “thing” now. For some examples, please click here, but for those too lazy, some of my favourite recruitment company names on offer “off the peg” include: Protota (I like them mashed or roasted in duck fat), Qontrac (who is a strong, independent black woman who don’t need no man) WeAreVery (Very what? Don’t leave us hanging like that) and Humanonomy (Please don’t call me after Friday beers as I can’t say my company name). My favourite of all time however, comes from our own shores. Between 2008 and 2009 Auckland was privileged enough to host “Pirate Recruitment”. Yes, this was a legitimate recruitment firm who thought that what better way to convey trust, ethical behaviour, and quality recruitment services, that to align themselves with the swashbucklers of the high-seas. Or with toothless, yellow-eyed Somalians. I’m not sure, and they aren’t around anymore to ask.
Pick a name that ages badly:
Unfortunately we could all fall into this trap. Without a crystal ball, who knows what term will fall out of favour. In the early 90s, adding “2000” to the end of your brand name was cool and futuristic, until the inevitable happened. “Recruitment2000” was less than edgy in 2001. Once upon a time, there was a recruitment firm playing it safe by calling themselves ISIS Recruitment. And then who should come along but the Islamic State and fuck it all up for everyone. When I was a young man, there was a large recruitment firm making waves called “Bright Young Things”. With various changes in employment law around agesism, this was discreetly changed to BYT, and is now probably something totally different. Interestingly, the Bright Young Things moniker has been picked up by another firm, but this lot offer academic tuition, so I suppose the use of “young” is OK.
Specialise. And then don’t:
“I’ve opened a firm. We recruit IT Contractors in the SAP space only. There’s a massive gap in the market here in Auckland for contractors who have SAP experience. We’re going to be called “SAP Recruitment”. Fast-forward two months and then the SEEK ad from “SAP Recruitment” pings up: “Facilities Manager, Perm, Hamilton.” Well Mr SAP Recruitment, you are a greedy little toad and you’ll be calling me for an internal recruitment job before the year is out.
Work from a beautiful location (i.e. not Auckland, Wellington, or Christchurch):
What a dream it would be to run a multi-million dollar recruitment firm from you castle overlooking Lake Wakatipu. Except it never works. Winning the trust of clients over a shonky video call and never actually meeting candidates does not currently make for a successful recruitment firm. No sir. If you want to make some money, sit in some God-awful traffic and pay exorbitant rent for an office without plasterboard like the rest of us.
Don’t just charge your clients, charge your candidates as well:
Double your revenue stream by taking your candidates’ first month’s salary. Actually, those superstars at Quest Recruitment already tried this, and suffered a bit of a backlash for being such utter bastards.
Set up next door to a good recruitment firm, pick a similar name or brand colours, but make sure your door is closest to the elevator:
This is my latest idea, and quite frankly, it’s genius. Firstly, the back story: Our office door is about 1 foot away from the office of Talent International. On our door, we have, in mahoosive letters, a sign that says “Rice” and a sign that says “JOYN”. These letters cover about 70% of an 8ft high door. Talent have the same size door, covered in the Talent branding, and also have a plaque on the wall with the Talent logo. However….at least once a week, some bumbling IT buffoon walks straight into our office and asks to see someone who works at Talent. So without even trying, we have a steady stream of telephone-vetted IT candidates who were judged good enough to meet entering our office. And the beauty of it is, we don’t have to do any of the leg work in sourcing them. As it happens, we’re not an IT recruitment firm, so this currently serves only as a minor annoyance. I am tempted however to rebrand as T@lent International and start flicking CVs out.
Only work with clients and candidates who treat you with respect:
Anyway, that’s me done for today. Have a great weekend.