We’d like to think it’s easy to spot someone who’s going to take advantage of us – someone who is “slimy.” We’d like to think they all look something like the guy above – bad hair, bad clothes, terrible breath. But unfortunately, slimy people often look just like you and me, and under that seemingly normal exterior can be a low down dirty rotten scoundrel.
So what signs are you missing that might read “slimy” in hindsight? Think about these 6 things.
- They say “always” and “never” a lot. Good business people, good consultants, good friends can be flexible with their ideas and opinions. If you’re meeting with someone and they tell you something like you “always have to do X if you want to be successful” and you have to do it exactly their way, they might be selling you a whole lot of nothing.
- They badmouth their competition. We all have competitors, within companies and as businesses, but there should be at least a few of them we respect. If you’re meeting, for instance, with a potential coach, and he or she sells you a whole line about how they’re the only coach for you and all other coaches suck, chances are they suck themselves. You have to want your competitors to succeed and to get along well with those in your industry to truly be respected.
- They’ve been in and out of every job in a few months. There’s a woman who is notorious in a certain industry I know. She’s got a resume a mile long and can talk a big game about her industry and all of what she can produce for a company. But she inevitably leaves within four to six months. Why? Because she can’t actually produce. But somehow, her smooth talking gets her in the door. These kinds of six months here, six months there resumes should be huge red flags.
- They don’t do what they say they will. Once, sure, twice, forgivable. But if you’re constantly setting meetings where this person bails or makes strategic plans they don’t deliver on, they might be slimy.
- They’re always doing something new and different (and I mean, completely different). We all have that friend (or colleague). One minute, they’re looking for a job in marketing, the next they’re going back to school to make a difference, after that they’re selling Mary Kay, and pretty soon they’re trying to get you to buy equity in their new big business idea. Slimy.
- They’re constantly discounting their services “just for you.” This one should be a no brainer. If they’re always trying to sell you something and saying they “normally charge X, but for you, I can do Y,” run away! Run far, far away.
Slimy people are everywhere. They’re in corporate, they’re in nonprofit, they’re in government. They’re everywhere. The key is knowing when to spot them and leave them in the dust.