Track Your Referrals to Avoid ‘Back-door’ Hires

Editor’s note: With this post, Jeff’s Collection Tip of the Week column goes on break. Jeff will continue writing his Placements and the Law column in the print edition of The Fordyce Letter. Jeff also answers legal questions about search and placement in his occasional Jeff’s On Call articles. You can find Jeff’s past Collection Tips columns here.

What Client Says: 

 The delay was too long from your referral to the hire.

 How Client Pays:

The average delay from referral of a candidate to hire is 98 days. You probably think it’s 30 days. I did when I was a recruiter. But as an HR manager, I learned the truth.

You think it’s so short because you’re unaware of those back-door hires.

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The typical recruiter loses track of a rejected candidate within 30 days after the referral. The recruiter gets caught in a “sendout-turndown cycle,” not realizing that a viable candidate’s contact information is sitting there on some hirer’s desk like an ad. It may even be circulating around from one potential hirer to another. But to the recruiter, 30 days means “cold and old.” He’s busy on some hot new search assignment somewhere else.

Recruiters move fast. Bureaucratic, committee-controlled, politically-dominated companies move slowly, but unsurely. The delay provides an irresistible temptation to call a candidate directly or accept his follow-up call. Then it’s a very short step to forgetting your fast five-figure fee.

So keep track of sendouts with candidates and clients for at least 90 days. Then call the clients and ask for the candidates you referred.

Vigilance is valuable — two-thirds more than you realize!

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