I work in a male-dominated field (software development), and my clients will be male-owned companies most of the time, with mostly male employees. Until now, my clients have been referred to me by my (HV) mentor, and they have all been highly professional and really great. I've enjoyed working for them, and they've been happy with the products. All is well.I have decided to consider taking on another client, as I have an opening, and just started looking around. I decided to incorporate FDS-style vetting into potential new clients, to save myself stress, and keep my career happy, professional and without unnecessary hassle.I just had a phone-interview with a potential new client. This is a man with a relatively small company. I had beforehand asked him about the project and how many developers they currently have, since it is very useful for me to know whether I will potentially be working with a large team, small team, or alone. He did not respond to this, and just asked for a phone-call another day. I accepted that, and expected clarification.The phone call was red flag galore. Not only was he vague about number of employees - they apparently used to be around 10 people in total (no mention of developers at all, and he gave me a range of numbers of employees, which was odd and signifies unstability to me), but "he didn't need them". No idea how many they are now, but as he also added on later that he didn't take it (the work) as seriously now (red flag), and wanted a lot of free time (despite it being his "life-project" - red flag in a small business hiring, it sounded like an excuse for his business not running well). Honestly, I assume it's just him at this point, and he doesn't seem to be very professional about it.
In his ad for a developer, he specifically asked for a front-end developer. I asked some probing questions about the project and system, and he has no computer-minded people there now at all. And he "has no clue about stuff like that", as he put it. But his "buddy" would probably be available for any questions, as to the shipwrecked project (that he left more than 2 years ago). I'm sure any fellow developers can see the potential nightmare here. If I took this job, I'm sure I would be everything from front-end, back-end, devOps, system designer, "IT-guy", customer service and janitor. He even started talking about wanting a lot of instructional and promotional videos for his customers (does he expect me to make them? I got that impression). This man has no idea what he wants. And although he cannot clearly state what he actually wants done, he wants me to give a fixed-price offer. I am usually paid per hour, and had informed him of this. With a description as vague as the one he gave me, it's impossible for me to give him a number. I don't know what he wants me to produce, because he doesn't know what he wants.He has a lot of vague ideas about the product. It is a large project for one person (we are not talking a website here, but a larger system of apps including database management etc). But he has no idea how to go about it, no clear plan for anything. No time-horizon or idea of what he wants done and when. It was started a long time ago by his "buddy" when this buddy was a student, and then abandoned over two years ago, half-done. No explanation as to why. He tip-toed around why they abandoned the project. There was a lot of talk about his buddies, and how they were helping him with his business. And he hasn't had a professional developer in at all, but he assured me the project was in great shape...Not to mention, that after I had presented myself at the start of the phone-call (it was apparently important to him which part of the city I live in, even though it is remote work, which is odd), and then asked him to present his business to me, one of the first things he mentioned was his ex-girlfriend (*sigh*), and their break-up (how professional) TWO YEARS AGO... And how he locked himself in a room for a week to figure out some stuff. He was constantly excusing himself for rambling and told me to ask him to shut up if I wanted to.
At the end of the interview, I said I will get back to him within a couple of days with my decision. He immediately said he had like 20 applicants. I just said ok to this, and he then backtracked and stated that he might hire several (so he might be able to include me). I again just said ok, that would be fine. He states it's not enough work for a 100% position (which is fine, I have several clients and accept smaller projects), but he seems to plan on having a lot of random people just chipping in here and there, to an endless undefined project, which sounds chaotic to me.
I don't think this guy has any idea of the scope of his project-ideas, and he clearly has issues with being professional. I decided before the interview to do some FDS red flag-scouting, and I'm glad. I'm laughing right now. I will not be taking him on as a client. I don't do online dating, but right now I'm really feeling for those of you who do. This was only an interview for a project, and the scrote *still* managed to whine about his ex. Wow.