Secrets, Agreements and Fees Topped Jeff’s Consults at Fordyce

If you just returned from the 2012 Fordyce Forum in Dallas, you might have to look in the mirror to recognize yourself.

That’s because you’re probably a different person than when you left. A little sharper, a little more positive, a little more confident.

Why is that? What makes this industry confab so very unique? Unlike any association, network or franchise event? There are three things:

1. The Learning Environment

I’ve participated in well over 100 conventions of every size and shape. None so brilliantly facilitates the placement-learning process. It’s magical.

The convention layout optimizes interaction among recruiters. It’s relaxed because there are so many Fordyce family members there. The conversations you hear are substantive. A few I noted were: “Let’s work together on deals”; “Did you check out those sourcing techniques?”; and, “I’m so glad my staff got to hear it!”

B-i-i-i-g difference, folks. The larger events are “conventions.” People “convene.” The smaller ones are “conferences.” People “confer.” The Fordyce Forum is a conversation. People converse. It’s the difference between a dialogue and a monologue. That conversation is all about making more placements, faster, and with more fun.

Superb food, buffet style. So there’s no wasted time fussing about seating, menu preferences, and filling your plate again with something you loved. No sitting next to the spouse of someone who places temps in Nairobi.

The venue is first class, self-contained and service-oriented.

Overall, a magical optimum placement-learning environment. In a word: IMPLOSION.

2. The Sessions

The Fordyce Forum doesn’t book “speakers” and they don’t give “speeches.” That’s fine if you want to drive up attendance, but it doesn’t drive up placements.

Let’s say you have 30 participants in a session. If they average only five years of search experience, there’s 150 years of experience making placements in that room. So the trick is to harness that experience and to leverage it through the presenter.

How did you “learn”; what you were “taught” in a classroom?  Probably by asking the closest whiz-kid or participating in a study group.

That’s also how you geometrically pay for your trip. In a word: INTERACTION!

3. Jeff’s On Site!

The JOS private legal consultation idea was developed because recruiters showed up at my workshops so they could meet with me personally.

This is not a loss-leader “free consultation” come-on. It’s one-on-one, and totally confidential. We pump my 46 years in and around the placement process into anything your heart desires. Maybe it’s your fee agreement, a collection problem, or even pending litigation. Perhaps it’s an emergency because a recruiter just left and took your client and candidate information.

The issues vary, but the charge doesn’t. My reward is seeing you succeed.

This must be very special, because I’ve been asked by around a dozen groups to do it for their events. My answer is always the same.

This is a labor of love and I thank you. In two words: DO IT!

Here’s some general advice on the kinds of subjects recruiters ask about. (For obvious reasons, no specific communication will be disclosed.)

Trade Secrets Protection

The most significant development in protecting client and candidate files (since I wrote our industry-specific statute in 1973) is our use of the federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (18 USC 1030, et seq.).

Applying the CFAA to placement information is a massive breakthrough. Any use of a computer to remove or copy data can invoke liability and enforcement by the closest U.S. District Court.

All you need to enjoin (stop) the conduct, and seek money damages is to prove that an ex-recruiter:

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  1. Accessed your computer without authorization to do what he or she did; and
  2. Caused damages of at least $5,000 (that small-claims number is no typo) within one year.

For more on this, go to and click the “Placements and The Law” button at the bottom. Then click the “Placement Trade Secrets Quiz” button below it and test your knowledge.

Recruiter Employment Agreements

Consistently, 80% of the recruiter employment agreements we review daily are either unenforceable or — even worse — illegal.

Even the best agreements when written are only as good as the latest federal or state law, regulation, and court ruling. When there are employees in several states, multiply the complexity by that number.

Employment agreements are an art form. They must be enforceable to the extent the law allows. They must also be marketable to new and current employees, so they sign without changing the terms. (This is both a constitutional equal protection and an equal employment issue.)

So when Fordycers meet with me, we review their agreements, and I make suggestions on how to clean them up. If I can’t do it during the JOS meeting, they can take the agreement back to their attorney and have it reworked.

There’s a lot to know here, but publishing it might cause you pain. Ergo the JOS consult is the perfect place to discuss it.

Fee Collection

A hugely popular JOS subject. Whether it’s reworking your fee agreement so it gets signed and enforced or helping you with a five-figure fee-fight, I’m yours.

I returned home to calls and e-mails on these and many other subjects. Well over half of the recruiters who call could have received my advice in person and free.

It’s technically a half-hour consult, but anyone who knows me knows that’s a very Spandex time estimate. A smile and appreciation usually have us catching up with each other after the last consult is done.

I put my money where my mouthpiece is because you’re a cut above. How do I know? You showed up.

Giving back to you is my way of thanking you for investing in yourself.

The Fordyce Forum should be your absolute goal for next year. Truly, being a part of this amazing happening will give you the edge you need!

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