Who Needs HR If You Confirmed the Fee?

Jeff Allen COllection TipEditor’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:

You didn’t obtain approval from the human resources department.

How Client Pays:

This is a variation of the “preferred list” nonsense.

Usually there’s something buried in a human resources policy manual that reads like:

All employment agencies and executive recruiters shall be referred to the human resources department for approval as to their fees, their qualifications, and the terms of hiring through them.

Supervisors who are serious about hiring are among the most pressured people in the place. Management is screaming that work isn’t getting done, other supervisors are complaining about bottlenecks, subordinates are threatening to quit from overwork, customers are angrily canceling orders, and overtime pay is pushing production costs through the roof.

Even if the supervisor knows about that policy, he doesn’t care about it. This is a matter of job security. He’s got a personal paycheck policy.

So he talks to you, approves the fee, interviews, and sometimes even hires without notifying the human resourcer.

When you confront the client, the supervisor “recalls” that he “told” you to obtain approval from HR, and that you “said” you did. Will you be believed in court? Possibly, if it’s just your word against the supervisor’s.

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It’s not likely though, because:

  • You have the burden of proof by a preponderance of the evidence. You’re the plaintiff.
  • The policy will be introduced into evidence to show the client’s established procedure.

Your best evidence is a fee-confirming letter or email to the supervisor that shows a copy being sent to HR. It should include a sentence that reads:

If this does not confirm your understanding of our fee and terms, please reply immediately.

He is too busy to reply immediately. The human resourcer won’t either, since interfering with a hot hire is HR heresy.

It’s so easy to collect when you know how to set up your five-figure 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 jeff@placementlaw.com.