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Collecting Your Fee When the Company Lowers the Starting Salary

by | Feb 16, 2013 | Recruiter Training, Top Echelon Blog

Welcome to our ongoing series of blog posts in the Top Echelon Recruiter Training Center: “Jeff Allen’s Collection Tip of the Week.” Each week, we’ll highlight one collection tip from Allen, JD/CPC, the world’s leading placement lawyer.

Since 1975, Allen has collected more placement fees, litigated more trade secret cases, and assisted more placement practitioners than anyone else.  He’s also the author of 24 books and a regular columnist for The Fordyce Letter, one of the leading publications in the recruiting industry.

Below is this week’s collection tip for recruiters, courtesy of Jeff Allen.

What the Client Says:

“The candidate’s starting salary is lower.”

How the Client Pays:

Falsely stating the starting compensation is almost always done over the phone.  Legally, you can be bound to the amount by invoicing based on it.

This is because the employer can allege the following:

1. You orally agreed to accept less than the full fee.
2. You waived your right by not verifying the amount.
3. You weren’t sufficiently connected with the hire to know the offer.

There are two invoice protections you can use:

1. State the annual compensation on the invoice (so a mistake will be apparent).
2. Footnote the fee with the sentence below:

*To be adjusted pursuant to the enclosed fee schedule when verification of the candidate’s starting compensation is received.

But your best bet is to get something in writing, examples of which are listed below:

1. A letter from the hiring authority
2. A copy of the offer letter
3. A copy of the payroll ledger

Insist.  You have an absolute right to this.  If the client gives you some nonsense about the candidate’s “right to privacy” or whatever, invoice immediately!

Do your homework, and a properly-worded invoice is all you’ll need to get paid.

(Know how to collect your well-earned fees?  Test yourself!  Visit Allen’s Placement Law website and click the “Placement Fee Collection Quiz” button.  Allen can be reached via telephone at 310.559.6000 or via email at

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