Welcome to The Fordyce Letter:

The Fordyce Letter

Straight Talk for the Recruiting Profession


Jeff Allen

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.

Articles by Jeff Allen

Jeff's On Call!

Have More JOs Than You Can Fill? Hire A Freelancer. Here’s How



Placements and the law logo

Let’s face it. You can’t accept every search. You can’t search and supervise at the same time either. And you certainly can’t afford to have search specialists on your payroll, hoping the right job order comes along. Placement doesn’t work like that.

The result is that you take more JO’s than you can bill — “backup JO’s” just in case you find someone. But you don’t. Some other recruiter does.

Enter the freelancer — a “consultant’s consultant” who does “brokered” searches on a project (one-time) basis.

Freelancers are low-overhead, low-profile recruiters who usually work out of their homes. They don’t market their services to employers, and don’t solicit job orders. Instead, they depend on visible brokers like you to refer search business. This allows them the flexibility to recruit on their own schedule. In fact, many are employed management and technical types who moonlight after hours.

Jeff's On Call!

Avoid the Fight and Get Your Fee When You Reorder Your Sendout Process



ask-jeff

Hi Jeff,

You are such a great help to us in figuring out what to do! Thank you for sharing your wisdom and experience.

I just placed a candidate with a large software company. I sent my standard placement agreement (25% fee) to HR but they did not sign it.

The HR person told me that we would get something processed if the candidate proceeded into the interview process.

The candidate then proceeded all the way through the process (in spite of HR stalling the paperwork), and just accepted the company’s offer of a base salary of $160k (plus another $40k in bonuses). At our standard fee of 25% of first year salary, it would be $50k.

Fees, Jeff's On Call!

Collecting When There’s a No-Fee Policy



Jeff Allen COllection Tip

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 don’t pay fees.

How Client Pays:

Sometimes it’s for “certain positions,” sometimes it’s not. Sometimes it’s “company policy,” sometimes it’s personal preference. Sometimes it’s in writing, sometimes it’s not. Sometimes it’s a low fee ceiling, sometimes it’s

Jeff's On Call!, Legal, The Business of Recruiting

How To Fund An Employee Buyout Of Your Search Firm



Placements and the law logo

The best recruiter incentive is ownership. It’s also the most dangerous. You’re trading a commitment by an employee for your livelihood — your life.

Speaking of life, let’s talk about life insurance. Not enough owners do.

William Lareau wrote in his classic Conduct Expected: The Unwritten Rules for a Successful Business Career:

All of us tend to think that we have control over what happens to us because we generally pay attention only to what we do and what happens as a result. We tend to assume a direct cause-and-effect relationship without considering all the

Jeff's On Call!

“Substantial Cause” Gets You the Fee When “But For” Is Why Bother



JeffOnCall logo

Note: Over the years, Jeff Allen has answered hundreds of placement law questions from recruiters, owners and others. One that comes up regularly is about the “but for” argument when a fee is in question. This Q&A is a classic, but it is so important an issue that we’re republishing it here. If you have a legal question, email Jeff Allen directly. We only publish questions with permission.

  Hi Jeff,

Jeff I really enjoy your column and I am learning a great deal about the in?s and out?s of the recruiting world. You are an invaluable asset for me!

Here is my situation: a recruiter sent a candidate’s resume to my client back in December. My client did not move on her (this was 2 1/2-3 months ago). She subsequently took another job. I called her not knowing that she had already been presented to my client . She is willing to talk about leaving the job she has only been at for a couple of months, and my client is now interested in talking to her. She did not interview with my client back when the other recruiter presented her, and she would not be talking with my client but for my efforts in tracking her down and convincing her to leave her current job.

Q: Does the fact that she took this other job in the interim negate the first recruiter’s claim?

Fees, Jeff's On Call!

The Candidate Can’t Waive Your Fee



Jeff Allen COllection Tip

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:

The candidate assured us you weren’t representing him.

How Client Pays:

There are three ways this attempted waiver of the fee occurs:

For Managers

Get Rid of These 10 Undercover Time-Wasting Over-Workers



Placements and the law logo

Recruiters are always wondering how we’re able to respond so quickly on a national basis. Believe it or not, we work regular hours. I learned the techniques when I was managing a recruiting office.

You can too, if you:

  • Understand where your non-productive time is spent and;
  • Overhaul your procedures.

All the time-management seminars, workshops, books, calendars, timers, alarms, buzzers and electronic voices in the world won’t help you. They’re just pea-shooters in the war against time. Your problem isn’t on the battlefield, it’s in the war room — right there in your office.

Here are the 10 biggest undercover over-workers:

Jeff's On Call!, Legal

Why Having the Candidate Pay the Fee Can Become A Federal Case



ask-jeff3

Hello Jeff,

Every Monday morning, the first thing I do is look for your column. You’ve been my legal guide for so long, and I really appreciate the help.

Is there anything I should know about taking money from a candidate?

A hiring manager wants to make an offer to my candidate, but the COO doesn’t want to pay the placement fee. The position has been open for 9 months, and my candidate is the right person for the job.

At the behest of the director of HR, I sent this candidate to use as an inducement for the COO to hire him. I have a signed agreement with the client to pay the placement fee if it hires anyone I refer.

It’s the candidate’s dream job at a dream compensation. Now HE wants to pay the fee.

On one hand it doesn’t feel right, on the other hand I have the power to make the candidate whole.

This seems so simple, but I just wanted to run it by you.

What do you think?

Thanks in advance, and thanks for helping me get this far!

Dean Mannello
The Sherwood Group

It’s Not That Simple

Hi Dean,

JOC inquiries like yours help all recruiters to know the law. That’s our

Fees, Jeff's On Call!

“Fee’s Too High” Is No Defense When You Have a Contract



Jeff Allen COllection Tip

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:

The fee’s too high.

How Client Pays:

Recruiters laugh or get angry at the “fee’s too high” position. But courts will arbitrarily reduce placement fees in the name of equity (fairness) unless there is a written, signed, or otherwise fully accepted contract introduced into evidence.

Cold Calling, Jeff's On Call!, Relationships

How To Turn Client Criticism Into A Win



Placements and the law logo

Although it’s rarely discussed openly, the most pervasive problem in doing search is internalizing criticism from employers. It causes recruiter burnout, limits options, stifles creativity and results in low self-esteem.

That is why overcoming objections is such an important part of any placement training program. But overcoming objections doesn’t overcome the effects of destructive criticism. This PTL column will show you how to do so and improve your bottom line.

Let’s start with your role in the placement process. With few exceptions, the relationships between the recruiter and the client are transitory. You’re in a “what have you done for me lately” business. You’re only as good as your last placement. Don’t perform, suffer a massive ego stroke, or overcharge and you’ll be history. This is a reality of business; it’s a value-for-value relationship. That’s why you charge for your services, and that’s why they pay. For this reason, satisfied clients are the key to a satisfied, successful you.