A Fee? You Said It Was A Favor

Editor’s Note: Every Monday Jeff Allen offers you a tip about what you should do to ensure you never miss out — or get beat out– of your well-earned fee.

What Client Says:

You said you wouldn’t bill us if we hired the candidate.

How Client Pays:

The usual ruses are that you said this was a favor to the candidate; it was a level you didn’t work, or a discipline outside your field.

It’s more effective than employers (and recruiters) realize, since “said,” “told,” “stated,” “talked,” “discussed,” and “verbalized” all mean nothing in court.  They’re oral utterances that are contradicted, refuted and denied by the words of each client witness.  That’s why the hearsay rule excludes them as evidence unless they’re made under oath.  That means on the witness stand.

Written documentation is all that will budge a judge, or send a flurry through a jury.  And even that won’t move your audience unless you can show it was communicated to the client.  It won’t be moved far, unless that communication was (actually or impliedly) accepted. 

Silence, as in not responding to the written agreement you sent, is among the weakest forms of acceptance because clients are silent for many  reasons.  It might even be because they don’t like recruiters.  That’s not enough.  You have to prove their witch doctor in HR intended to ambush the unsuspecting headhunter.

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An internal job order form, a fee schedule, a sendout confirmation, and even an e-mail from you are little more that corroborative evidence.  What do they corroborate?  Your oral, hearsay statements.  It’s better than contradicting them — but not by much.

Then it’s the client’s turn.  Its employees will contradict, refutem and deny your oral fee confirmation.  Then the hiring authority will roll out what you “said” time and time again.  You “told” the candidate the same thing.  Sometimes even imposters — total strangers — testify to what you “said.”

Courts don’t respond to truth.  They respond to proof.  That means writing.

Get it, and you’ve got it!

More than thirty-five years ago, Jeffrey G. Allen, J.D., C.P.C. turned a decade of recruiting and human resources management into the legal specialty of placement law. Since 1975, Jeff has collected more placement fees, litigated more trade secrets cases, and assisted more placement practitioners than anyone else. From individuals to multinational corporations in every phase of staffing, his name is synonymous with competent legal representation. Jeff holds four certifications in placement and is the author of 24 popular books in the career field, including bestsellers How to Turn an Interview into a Job, The Complete Q&A Job Interview Book and the revolutionary Instant Interviews. As the world?s leading placement lawyer, Jeff?s experience includes: Thirty-five years of law practice specializing in representation of staffing businesses and practitioners; Author of ?The Allen Law?--the only placement information trade secrets law in the United States; Expert witness on employment and placement matters; Recruiter and staffing service office manager; Human resources manager for major employers; Certified Personnel Consultant, Certified Placement Counselor, Certified Employment Specialist and Certified Search Specialist designations; Cofounder of the national Certified Search Specialist program; Special Advisor to the American Employment Association; General Counsel to the California Association of Personnel Consultants (honorary lifetime membership conferred); Founder and Director of the National Placement Law Center; Recipient of the Staffing Industry Lifetime Achievement Award; Advisor to national, regional and state trade associations on legal, ethics and legislative matters; Author of The Placement Strategy Handbook, Placement Management, The National Placement Law Center Fee Collection Guide and The Best of Jeff Allen, published by Search Research Institute exclusively for the staffing industry; and Producer of the EMPLAW Audio Series on employment law matters. Email him at jeff@placementlaw.com.


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