You Get Paid ‘Cuz You Caused the Hire

Editor’s Note: Every Monday, Jeff Allen offers you a tip about what you should do to ensure you never miss out — or get beat out– of your well-earned fee.

What Client Says:

There was a mistake about who referred the candidate.

How Client Pays:

Of course, these client “mistakes” are always in their favor.

We call the effect on recruiters “causation frustration.” Legally, you need to show causation –- that you were the cause of the hire.

If you still use that medieval “efficient procuring cause” theory, you’ll be backed into the “but for” rule. You’ll say, “But for my referral, you wouldn’t have hired my candidate.” The client will reply, “Thanks.” Only it expresses its appreciation with, “But for (insert anything you like here) we wouldn’t have hired him.”

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Use substantial cause if you feel the need to say something legalistic. Say, “We were a substantial cause of the hire.”

That way, you’re allowing for the inevitable twists and turns in every placement without foreclosing your fee. More importantly, substantial cause has an impressive number of syllables, sounds complicated, and makes you sound like a lawyer.

Use substantial cause well. We do!

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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