Jeff on Call: Do Resumes = Fees?


Q: Does sending the resume mean I am entitled to the placement fee?

Not without much more.

In spite of my years of writing, speaking, and lawyering about setting up the placement for collection, the “resume myth” still persists.

If sending a resume was the key to getting paid, I’d still be working a desk! I would have spent those years perfecting the ultimate electronic resume delivery system.

There are some exceptions – like a highly specialized niche market position where knowledge of the candidate could not have been known by the client. But these rely on the integrity of a client and candidate who already demonstrated they don’t have it.

So recognize that your highest leverage exists at one point, and one point only: Just after you present – and just before you identify – a candidate the client thinks he wants to hire.

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Note there are two phases to the referral:

  1. Present, and
  2. Identify.

If you haven’t fully cleared your fee in writing prior to identifying the candidate, you’ve lost your leverage – and given away your stock in trade.


To participate in future Q&As, email Keep in mind you should always consult with your own attorney. Nothing contained herein should be construed as legal advice. It is for your information only.

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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