Fordyce Forum

Practitioner Frank Risalvato regaled us a few months ago with some client stupidity scenarios he’s encountered. He’s also a great believer in the sanctity of the accord with clients since he understands that misunderstandings can morph into disappointment and defeat.In his negotiating with a new client, the verbal agreement regarding who pays what when and how long the guarantee was to be extended became garbled in the client’s mind. Frank’s Emailed response put the reality of our profession in perfect perspective and appears here as a guide to others with similar misinformed client types.I may have misunderstood. I thought we agreed that you would remit the complete invoice provided I extended the guarantee to 90 days which I did.If you meant otherwise, I will re write the agreement with a 50% payment upon receipt and 50% balance due upon 60 days.Just as an “FYI”: It’s not so much cash flow as it is a matter of properly defining what it is we are providing as a service and when we earn our fee. I’m a firm believer that thorough communication beforehand avoids problems or misunderstandings later. After placing more than one thousand individuals since 1991, we’ve never had one complaint with the BBB or Div. of Consumer Affairs … few can make such a claim.We’re not in the insurance/guarantee business but in the “search” business and the “search” technically ends the day the hired candidate reports to work. At that point, the search is complete and we’ve earned our fee.”Retention,” which is the next phase, becomes the manager’s/company’s responsibility. Just so that you are aware, the 30 or 60 days which many firms will provide is merely to cover an unusual circumstance and is built in more as a deal “enhancer/sweetner” than anything else. What happens is employers begin to think they are paying for the “evaluation period” (as you had put it) but that is not how we earn our fee.Our greatest concern is: Most companies that ask for the longer extended guarantee, are usually the ones that have the highest likelihood of a turnover problem which may often be due to some underlying issue beyond our control (turnover, management, etc). I’m not saying that’s the case here … but pointing out what irrefutable statistics have shown over the years … and why we are more likely to decline a search of that nature than take it on.Every company that has been fine with our standard 30 day guarantee, interestingly enough, are the ones that have enjoyed the longest retention of hired candidates … in some cases 12 to fifteen years on the job!Again, just pointing out experiences which you might appreciate in knowing. Search is an art and not a science… there will always be risks on both sides. Also, keep in mind that some firms will gladly give you what you want without any negotiation… but those that “give in” so easily are likely to give in and overlook many things when it comes to the candidate process as well. Hopefully, you will respect someone who works hard to adhere to standards, both with the client and the candidate.Put differently you can go to Sports Authority or Wal-mart and buy a nice mountain bike at a very reasonable cost. But try getting an expert to explain all the gears, differences and you’ll be waiting a long time! Go to a local bicycle shop that has experts running it, and you’ll get an earful of informative descriptions as to the differences in bicycles, gears, brakes, deraileurs, and such. You might even get your head measured for proper helmet fit and perfect adjustment for bike frame… big difference for small difference in price right?Footnote: The client agreed and signed the agreement that day.

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Paul Hawkinson is the editor of The Fordyce Letter, a publication for third-party recruiters that's part of ERE Media. He entered the personnel consulting industry in the late 1950's and began publishing for the industry in the 1970's. During his tenure as a practitioner, he personally billed over $5 million in both contingency and retainer assignments. He formed the Kimberly Organization and purchased The Fordyce Letter in 1980.


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