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‘The Candidate Said You Wouldn’t Charge Anything’

by | Jul 6, 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:
“You said you wouldn’t bill us if we hired the candidate.”

How the Client Pays:

This is one of those naïve “defenses” only a foolish fee-fighter would allege.  Yet it’s among the most popular, because candidates fall all over their paychecks to help.

There are actually two levels of defense here:

1. The candidate was your agent and therefore could waive (relinquish) your right to the fee.

This is a sophisticated argument, since you didn’t actually deputize the agent to act for you.  However, ostensible (apparent) or implied authority can sometimes be credibly argued if the candidate represents (states) that you authorized him.

2. The candidate was a witness to your waiver of the fee.

This is the safest route.  The candidate doesn’t have to lie (much), and can even say he  thought you waived it.  Usually the words he “heard” were, “Don’t worry about paying the fee.”  He “mistakenly” interpreted this as meaning no fee would be charged to the client.

Supposedly that’s what he said during the interview.  The client “reasonably” believed him, so hired.  No agreement to pay, no communication with you (since it believed you weren’t involved), therefore no contractual liability.

Don’t budge.  There’s no legal way a client can prove an actual agency relationship existed with the candidate.  The candidate’s thoughts have nothing to do with the obligation of the client under the legal objective theory of contracts.  It simply says, “Look at  the parties’ agreement to determine their intent.

“Let the facts speak for themselves.”  Don’t back down.

That client will pay!


(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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