Jeff Allen Answers Inquiries

Two situations have arisen immediately after the last issue hit the streets. We asked Jeff for advice:

Situation #1 Major law firm client posts new opening on their website. Recruiter sees it, recruits perfect person and Emails resume. Immediately upon receipt, the client calls and says “Sorry, that person is known to one of our employees and, in fact, we already have a call into her. Even though she hasn’t yet responded to our telephone message, we won’t pay a fee if we hire her.” P. S. – Client has no problem with the fact that the opening was picked off the website since that seems to SOP for this recruiter/client relationship.

Jeff’s Answer

No defense as to the prior knowledge of the candidate. Possible defense as to the prior call to the candidate. This is a causation issue, not a race. If the call to the candidate from the law firm “causes” the hire, no fee. If no return phone call or the call doesn’t “cause” the hire, the referral from the recruiter “causing” the hire invokes liability for the fee.

This is why we use referral periods on signed fee schedules they eliminate this nonsense.

The notification by the law firm is a professional response to this dilemma. It shows good faith and. Those kinds of clients should be thanked, not tanked.

Situation #2 – Just recruited an applicant (Director of Payroll) from a competitor of my client. The candidate pointed out to me that she knew many people from my client, she actually did a few presentations at their offices on a new system they where implementing at the time and knows the Dir. of IT at this client.

How do you suggest I handle bringing my applicant to their attention? I do have a signed fee agreement with them, yet I am still not comfortable. This is a brand new client that I just developed. I already have 3 people in play for the job, yet I know this woman is THE ONE. Your suggestions would be most appreciated. Also, the applicant informed me that no one has ever contacted her about this position and me calling her, was the first time she has heard of it.

Jeff’s Answer

The candidate’s prior knowledge of employees working for a “client” has nothing to do with the right to a fee. The candidate is not a contracting party, only the subject matter of the contract. I would just email or fax the candidate’s information and state that although she knows some of the employees at the “client,” nobody there has contacted her regarding the opening.

Our suggestion

Get the candidate’s authorization to refer her to that company. Here’s what we previously recommended, not only for this situation but for all similar circumstances:



I authorize (search/placement firm) to refer my credentials to the following companies:

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I have not previously sent my credentials or resume to these companies for the purpose of exploring employment opportunities nor have I authorized the referral of my credentials by anyone else, such as other recruiting firms, inclusion of my credentials in a database or through personal acquaintance with any current or previous employee of these companies.


This makes it completely safe for you to refer this candidate to “client” since they acknowledge that you are the one who tapped her shoulder, stimulated the interest and got the deal done.

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


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