What’s Wrong With Explaining the Fee? Everything!

Hi Jeff,

I must be your biggest fan (but must also share that status), and have read The Fordyce Letter for many years. You have great advice that has guided me through my career in recruiting. After 23 years doing it, I’d love you to answer a question.

A candidate I referred started today. We scheduled a phone interview for him with the client several weeks ago, but the client rep was a no-show.

After a week of trying to get that interview rescheduled along with trying to schedule another candidate, I received an email back from the client’s admin indicating that unfortunately, they had prior contact with both candidates.

I was both surprised and skeptical, since both candidates originally said they had never heard of the client when I revealed who it was. I called the admin on that, and she then located an email from the second candidate with his resume that had come from a blind ad on Craigslist.

As for the first candidate, the admin forwarded a short email dated six months earlier from someone else they had interviewed back then who turned down their job offer. The email said, “Call (candidate’s name), with his phone number. You will be impressed.” No resume or details were included about the candidate, only his name and phone number.

I then called the candidate to see once again if he had ever spoken to the client prior to us referring him. He assured me that he had not. He then informed me that he did get a call from the client a few days prior to this, and had been hired. He was very appreciative for all of our help and was on his way to do the pre-employment drug test. I confirmed his salary and asked him to call me after his first day on the job.

I asked the admin to have the hiring authority call me to discuss the situation. But of course, he never did. I left it alone to ensure the candidate started.

I have an executed agreement, and have made one prior placement with this client. (There was bad behavior from the client then too, but it did eventually pay).

Now, my question for you:

From your Placement Fee Collection Quiz, Question 48 below, as I send the invoice to the client today, why not send the reason why the fee is due? (An email with a name and number, and no resume from an email six months ago that they did not act on, does not mean they don’t owe me the fee.) I know the client is unscrupulous and I expect it will try to avoid paying, but doesn’t laying out the facts help?

48. The way any recruiter can be certain a well-earned fee won’t be collected is to:

  1. Call the candidate at home and discuss the facts.
  2. Send the client an explanation of why the fee is due.
  3. Send the client an invoice upon acceptance by the candidate.
  4. Send the client an invoice for the wrong amount.

I appreciate you taking the time to review this and look forward to hearing from you!

 Best regards,

 Vicki Hartnett

 Jeff Responds

Hi Vicki,

Where have you been all my life?

Let’s play poker. (No — not that kind!) You’ll play with your cards backwards, okay?

The absolute worst thing you can do when you’ve got a no-pay “un-client” is to disclose facts.

We’ll be placement payment playing in a minute. But first, let’s make our Fordyce Feefighters royal flushers by taking the entire Placement Fee Collection Quiz.  The Placement Law Language Quiz will help too.

Here’s how:

  1. Say, “Placement payment poker!”
  2. Go to www.placementlaw.com.
  3. Click the Placement Fee Collection Quiz button on the bottom row.
  4. Take the PFCQ.
  5. Click the Placement Law Language Quiz button on the bottom row.
  6. Take the PLLQ.
  7. Click the Answers to Placement Law Quizzes button on the bottom row.
  8. Grade yourself on the PFCQ and PLLQ.

Okay, high-stakes game on!

 Jeff Allen Magic

Time to introduce our online poker faces to The Allen Magic Collect-A-Fee System. 

Number 9 of the AMCAFS 10-point system reads as follows:

9.  Don’t send your placement file to the employer.

More fees are lost by doing this than all of the other mistakes combined.

Article Continues Below

This is like playing poker with your cards backwards.  The result is a complete defense to the employer. This includes a sanitized file and a turncoat candidate.

Whenever some human resourcer says, “Show me why we owe a fee and we’ll pay it,” understand the translation: “Show me why we owe a fee and we’ll show you we can avoid it.”

If you feel the compulsion to do this, just ask the employer for its file. That will make you a believer.

That compulsion is also an obsession.  You don’t need to be a CPC to figure out why. Salesmanship 101. You identify with the employer.  That’s how you were able to recruit your brains out for this “client” in the first place.  You’ve been telling anyone with a discernible pulse how wonderful it is. You convinced some complete stranger successfully too – all the way to accepting a gig there.

The problem is that you had to convince someone else first – Y-O-U. So now, you just can’t unhinge – can’t manage to un-identify.

Compulsiveness and obsessiveness escalate to an expensive character disorder when you consider the irrationality of expecting a card-carrying fee-avoider to open a checkbook that way. Saving a few bucks on attorney’s fees is a great temptation. I get that. Almost.

But blowing the fee to save the few barrister bucks? In poker, it’s called being “on tilt” — acting irrationally when you’re “all-in.” In fee collecting, it’s called being “on something” – acting irrationally so you’re “done-in.”

How to Lose A Fee

So let’s repeat the intro to AMCAFS 9 for any unpaid placement planeteers:

More fees are lost by doing this than all of the other mistakes combined.

The AMCAFS was introduced over 30 years ago. The seminar was recorded before a live audience of rapt recruiters, and instantly became the top-selling title in the EMPLAW Audio Series. Over several decades, the 10-point system became SOP for recruiters  throughout the placement planet.

In one way or another, the AMCAFS is still used in thousands of constant cash-in offices every day. It has also been adapted to collect retainer balances and temp service fees. It’s impossible to know how much has been collected in well-earned fees, but the amount through use of that little $39.95 package is easily in the tens of millions of dollars.

The package came with a guarantee of a free collection by our offices if any recruiter who used the system wasn’t paid.

Does it work? You bet! To this day, nobody has ever asked for the guarantee to be honored.

The AMCAFS is out of print now and only those who still have the registered package qualify for the guarantee.

But I’m still in print, so here’s my gift to you:

  1. Go to www.placementlaw.com.
  2. Click the red JEFF’S ON CALL! button.
  3. Type AMCAFS Freebie in the Subject field.
  4. Click Send.

Up for a little game of poker now, Vicki?

May you always win the no-limit pot!


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 jeff@placementlaw.com.


1 Comment on “What’s Wrong With Explaining the Fee? Everything!

  1. As “resume collection”, combined with cheap storage, becomes a more and more fearsome reality, we have added the stipulation that we get credit for any candidate that we present if they have not been spoken with by the company in the previous 30 days. It has been rejected only once that I know of and we don’t really care. We have found a home, usually at a higher fee, for every one of them. The company that passed because they refused to give us credit for someone who happens to be in their database? They simply missed the opportunity to add impressive and accomplished talent to their team.

    65 million companies in the U.S. and we only need 1 to say yes. For the company? If they like our talent, we are the only ones that have them and are aware that they are a great acquisition opportunity and can make them available to the client.

    Ego, pride and vanity…..it is an iffy strategy.

Leave a Comment

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