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‘You Said You Wouldn’t Bill Us if We Hired the Candidate’

by | Jun 17, 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:

The usual ruses are that you said this was a favor to the candidate, it was a level you didn’t work, or a discipline outside of your field.

It’s more effective than employers (and recruiters) realize, since “said,” “told,” “stated'” “talked,” “discussed,” and “verbalized” all mean nothing in court.

They’re oral utterances that are contradicted, refuted, and denied by the words of each client witness.  That’s why the hearsay rule excludes them as evidence unless they’re made under oath.  That means on the witness stand.

Written documentation is all that will budge a judge or send a flurry through a jury.  And even that won’t move your audience unless you can show it was communicated to the client.  It won’t be moved far, unless that communication was (actually or impliedly) accepted.

Silence is among the weakest forms of acceptance because clients are silent for many other reasons.  It might even be because they don’t like recruiters.  That’s not enough.  You have to prove their witch doctor in HR intended to ambush the unsuspecting headhunter.

An internal job order form, a fee schedule, a send-out confirmation, and even an e-mail from you are little more than corroborative evidence.  What do they corroborate?  Your oral, hearsay statements.  It’s better than contradicting them—but not by much.

Then it’s the client’s turn.  Its employees will contradict, refute, and deny your oral fee confirmation.  Then the hiring authority will roll out what you “said” time and time again.  You “told” the candidate the same thing.  Sometimes even impostors—total strangers—testify to what you “said.”

Courts don’t respond to truth.  They respond to proof.  That means writing.

Get it, and you’ve got it!

(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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