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How to Collect Your Fee: ‘There Was a Mistake . . .’

by | May 2, 2012 | 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:

“There was a mistake about who referred the candidate.”

How the Client Pays:

Of course, these client “mistakes” are always in their favor.

We call the effect on recruiters “causation frustration.”  Legally, you need to show causation—that you were the cause of the hire.

If you still use that medieval “efficient procuring cause” theory, you’ll be backed into the “but for” rule.  You’ll say, “But for my referral, you wouldn’t have hired my candidate.”  The client will reply, “Thanks.”  Only it expresses its appreciation with, “But for (insert anything you like here) we wouldn’t have hired him.”

Use substantial cause if you feel the need to say something legalistic.  Say, “We were a substantial cause of the hire.”

That way, you’re allowing for the inevitable twists and turns in every placement without foreclosing your fee.  More importantly, substantial cause has an impressive number of syllables, sounds complicated, and makes you sound like a lawyer.

Use substantial cause well.  We do!

(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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