Jeff’s On Call!: MIA Sourcing Partner

This post’s inquiry comes from Michael Sayles:

“Dear Jeff,

As a longtime subscriber of The Fordyce Letter and great fan of your Placements and The Law column, I thought I would ask for your opinion on an issue that I am experiencing. As other search firms may have had this same problem, I was hoping you might provide your thoughts on “Jeff On Call!” Here’s the issue:

I was referred to a sourcing organization through a friend whose opinion I value. The contract was signed, the fee paid and two resumes (off target) were received. That was the extent of my contact with this firm. Many unanswered e-mails and calls later I am beginning to think that I need a new approach. Your thoughts would be appreciated.

Again, thank you for your trusted and valued writing.


Hi Mike,

Thanks for writing and your most gracious comments about TFL and the PTL column!  It’s so gratifying to hear that we’ve been helping to keep you ahead of the curve.  That’s our job.

The problem with the sourcing arrangement you mentioned is the same problem that exists anywhere in the placement process where compensation is tied to effort rather than results.  Successful deals vary from split fees (usually 50-50 between a candidate recruiter and a client recruiter anywhere in cyberspace) to a small incentive for lead generation by a part-time researcher.  But the common denominator is money in exchange for production.

The sourcing services out there such asyou encountered typically charge a fixed fee for identifying qualified candidates.  So the two basic problems are that:

  1. The up-front fee arrangement with no accountability defies human nature, and
  2. You have neither the expertise of a networking associate nor the ability to oversee a researcher.

As a result, these folks have an abysmal track record.

If anyone out there decides to use a service like this, please learn from Mike’s experience.  Be sure to:

Article Continues Below
  1. Tie compensation to results
  2. Carefully define what constitutes “results” in writing, and
  3. Don’t agree to pay for anything beyond expense reimbursement until you are satisfied with the results.  That means qualified candidates who match the specs yyou requested.

Again, thanks for the great question and for — well — Fordycing!

Best always,


If you have a legal question you’d like to have Jeff answer here on The Fordyce Letter, check out Jeff’s On Call! and submit your question.

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


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *