Know when you have a right to a backdoor fee, and when you don’t. If you don’t, you could lose credibility, reputation & revenue.

I have just been instructed by a new client, a large travel company, which is being bullied by a recruitment agency into paying an alleged back door placement fee, which the agency really isn’t justified in charging.

The agency did no more than send my client their terms of business with a CV. The CV wasn’t read, or selected for the open role. The candidate then terminated her right of representation by that agency.

A few months later another agency submitted the same candidate’s CV to my client for a different role. This time the CV was read and selected. The second agency did everything it should to deal with the interview, feedback, and candidate engagement. The candidate was offered the role by my client, which she accepted. That agency is entitled to an Introduction Fee.

The first (ineffective) agency is now hounding my client to pay them a second introduction fee, or dismiss the candidate and claim a rebate on the introduction fee paid to the second (effective) agency. My client is annoyed. The candidate is upset. I am disappointed. And you can be sure that the first agency won’t be used again by my client.

I have long blogged about being the need for a recruitment company to be the effective cause of a back door placement in order to justify a fee. I can’t suggest strongly enough that recruitment companies understand what effective cause actually means, rather than chasing a fee that they are not due.

Don’t get me wrong, I love recruitment companies, and I love to see them receive payment when it’s due. I am more than happy to champion the cause of claiming a fee for a backdoor hire, if that is what it really is. What I don’t like is pressurising and bullying tactics, borne out of purely financial intent, or lack of information.

So before you chase a back door fee, make sure the client has had, & agreed (even deemed acceptance will do), your terms. Make sure your terms contain the appropriate provisions to claim an introduction fee whatever role the candidate is engaged in or regardless of by whom they are introduced. Make sure you can document everything you did to cause the engagement of the candidate by the client.

But ultimately, know your legal position, and make sure that you were the effective cause of the introduction. If you weren’t, politely walk away.

Lucy Tarrant