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:
We thought the candidate would be liable for the fee.
How Client Pays:
This is often coupled with statements that you didn’t cause the hire.
Here are a few likely lines:
- “We thought the candidate was going to pay you.”
- “We thought this was part of your career counseling arrangement with the candidate.”
- “We never agreed to pay the fee.”
The best way to protect yourself is to prominently state on your fee schedule that all fees are paid by the client business, and identifying the client specifically on the schedule.
Then have a heart-to-heart with the candidate about pursuing the fee against him. There’s no law against heart-to-hearts about pursuing candidate fees. Pursuing them, yes. Don’t go there – it’s a violation strictly enforced by your state’s consumer protection agency. But heart-to-hearts, no.
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Heart-to-hearts like that send the candidate charging to the client’s HR office. This causes great angst about a wrongful hiring.
Ergo, the candidate is your fierce, free, and forceful collection agent.
What formidable fun – and followed by a full fee!