Client Won’t Pay Because There Was An Ad? Demand Proof and You May Collect Anyway

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.

What Client Says:Jeff Allen Collection Tip

The candidate answered an advertisement.

How Client Pays:

It’s amazing how many cases come to us — all the way to collection — without the recruiter checking whether the client even posted an internet ad. Actually, it’s over half the time!

As with salary misrepresentations, employers will freely say an ad was running. But they know they’ll get nailed if they write it. When they’re pressured, they try to figure out something else.

So as a rule, if the client doesn’t proudly send you a copy of the ad, it probably didn’t run. You should, (run, that is!) — to your lawyer.

If you receive the actual posting, review it and ask yourself:

  1. Did the ad look the same as the job order?
  2. Did the ad run just before the interview?
  3. Did you set up the interview?
  4. Did the candidate really respond to the ad?
  5. Did the employer notify you that the candidate responded to the ad?

And then the clincher to ask the candidate:

6. Did he or she write you were the source of the referral on the client’s application?

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These are highly-collectible fees, because an ad is a passive recruiting device. It rarely incites a client to hire. Ads flood employers with resumes, and the attempt to read them electronically generates very funny mismatches.

Identifying, inciting and igniting is what incendiary recruiters do. We’re on fire and that causes the hire!

It’s very difficult for an employer to connect an ad with a hire if a recruiter was involved.

That’s why these disputes often result in the client paying a full fee.

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