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How to Combat the ‘It Wasn’t a Bona Fide Job Order’ Claim

by | Dec 11, 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:

“It wasn’t a bona fide job order.”

How the Client Pays:

There’s no such thing as a “bona fide job order.”  It just sounds legitimate—in fact, “bona fide!”   Back when employment agencies were regulated, it meant something.  Here’s an example from the former California Professional and Vocational Regulations (PVR 2859):

A bona fide job order may be considered to have been given [if] the employer or his agent, in person, by telephone, telegram or in writing, registered a request that the agency recruit, or gives permission to the agency to refer applicants for employment who meet stated job specifications.

The accents change from state to state, but the words mean the same thing: nothing.

All a client needs is to deny that it gave you a job order.  The 45 minutes you spent discussing the job doesn’t count.  Clearing the fee with everyone in the hiring process doesn’t, either.  In regulated states, you can lose your license, too.  It won’t cost the client a nickel (unless it pays bona fide taxes).

If you need a license to place, be sure to get the employer’s signature, a return acknowledgement, or whatever your state requires.

But if you’re in an unregulated jurisdiction (and you probably are), go for a bona fide fee!

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(Know how to collect your well-earned fees?  Test yourself!  Visit Jeff 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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