Editor’s note: Jeff Allen has heard every employer excuse that you can imagine for not paying up — and dozens more that defy imagination. Over the last 18 months, he’s documented one a week. Because of the importance of collections, Fordyce will periodically reprise the most common situations he addressed. The complete collection is here.
What Client Says:
The candidate’s staring salary is lower.
How Client Pays:
Falsely stating the starting compensation is almost always done over the phone. Legally, you can be bound to the amount by invoicing based on it. This is because the employer can allege:
- You orally agreed to accept less than the full fee.
- You waived your right by not verifying the amount.
- You weren’t sufficiently connected with the hire to know the offer.
There are two invoice protections you can use:
- State the annual compensation on the invoice (so a mistake will be apparent).
- Footnote the fee with:
To be adjusted pursuant to the enclosed fee schedule when verification of the candidate’s starting compensation is received.
But your best bet is to get something in writing like:
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- A letter from the hiring authority.
- A copy of the offer letter.
- A copy of the payroll ledger.
Insist. You have an absolute right to this. If the client gives you some nonsense about the candidate’s “right to privacy,” or whatever, invoice immediately!
Do your homework, and a properly-worded invoice is all you’ll need to get paid.