Editor’s note: Jeff Allen has heard every employer excuse you can imagine for not paying up — and dozens more that defy imagination. A few years ago he began documenting them in a weekly collections column. Because of the importance of collections, Fordyce will periodically reprise the most common situations he addressed. The complete collection is here.
What Client Says:
It wasn’t a “bona fide job order.”
How Client Pays:
There’s no such thing as a “bona fide job order.” It just sounds legitimate – in fact, “bona fide!” Back when employment agencies were regulated, it meant something. Here’s an example from the former California Professional and Vocational Regulations PVR 2859):
A bona fide job order may be considered to have been given [if] the employer or his agent, in person, by telephone, telegram or in writing, registered a request that the agency recruit, or gives permission to the agency to refer applicants for employment who meet stated job specifications.
The accents change from state to state, but the words mean the same thing: Nothing.
All a client needs is to deny that it gave you a JO. The 45 minutes you spent discussing the job doesn’t count. Clearing the fee with everyone in the hiring process doesn’t either. In regulated states, you can lose your license too. It won’t cost the client a nickel (unless it pays bona fide taxes).
Article Continues Below
The Impact of Gendered Wording on Candidate Attraction
If you need a license to place, be sure to get the employer’s signature, a return acknowledgement, or whatever your state requires.
But if you’re in an unregulated jurisdiction (and you probably are), go for a bona fide fee!