“We had the candidate's resume.”
This is similar to the argument that we talked about in the last chapter, but with a little bit of a twist. Also, this argument is almost always used by larger companies because they have a large database of resumes but do not really know what to do with them. This argument is also different from the last chapter because the argument of, “We had his resume,” typically lacks the personal connection to the candidate that we used in the last chapter. No one has talked to or worked with the candidate. They simply have the candidate's resume.
The success of these types of collections really depends on several factors.
Did you set up an interview?
Did the candidate mention that they had applied with the company in the past?
Do you have a signed contract, and how does it address this subject?
So let us break down each example.
1. When were you informed?
When did the client let you know they had this candidate's resume? There is a very big difference between you sent over the resume, and they emailed you back within 10 minutes to say, “We already have them,” vs. “We set up the interview and helped with the offer letter.” For example: let us say you sent over the resume, and within a few hours they informed you that they already had the candidate. There may not be anything you can do, especially if the company informed you that they will have to first clear the name of any candidate. With that being said, I would trust a recruiter’s gut feeling over what I am looking at. If something like this example happens to you, and you feel that there is something going on that does not seem right, call me. We will certainly be behind the 8-ball, but call me and let us discuss the issue and see what can be done.
2. Did you set up the interview?
As much as Example 1 can be challenging to collect on, this example is one of the easiest, and the reason is procuring cause. Let us assume you sent over the resume and then set up the interview and in the final hour HR calls you and says, "We have an issue because we already had the candidate’s resume, so we cannot pay you." They can claim they had the resume, but that argument is almost worthless unless they had been actively interviewing the candidate. You have the procuring cause on your side. They could have had the resume buried in a database with 10,000 other resumes, but that would have been a needle in a haystack. If that happens, use my The “Litmus Test” of "We are not going to pay you because", stop talking to the debtor, and call me or your attorney. This debtor is looking for a reason not to pay you, and anything you say could give them something that compromises the case.
3. Did the client mention they had applied?
The reason I want to know this is because this gives us more information to use if the issue does not feel right. This by itself will not get something paid one way or another, but if you present the candidate and the client later tells you they had the resume this could help us get it collected. You really want to know this information to head off an issue before it is an issue in the first place. Let me explain; for example: you have a candidate and they tell you that they had applied two years ago but did not get the job. Then you may want to reach out to your client and let them know that you have a candidate they may have information on, but you know is not being considered for this position, and what would be their position if they had the candidate in their database? Handle this in writing and see what the client tells you. If they say great we will pay you, then get it in writing and send over the candidate’s information. If they hedge their answer, you may want to present another candidate.
4. Do you have a signed agreement and what does it say about this issue?
The reason that I mention this example last is because it is the least likely type of collection that we see since the agreements are typically silent on this subject. DISCLAIMER: this collection is not legal advice. In a perfect world, our client would have their own agreement signed and it would say something along the lines of: if we present a candidate that is not actively being considered for the position, a fee would be owed even if the candidate had previously applied for another position within the hiring company.
"We had the candidate's resume.” The surprising thing about the argument of “We had their resume” is that 75% of the cases that we handle are actually the ones that our clients set up the interview, and our clients are told they already had the resume after the interview was set up. We find that these types of collections are used more to cover HR's backside because their systems are so poor, and they do not track resumes as well as they should. They realize after the fact and try to recreate the facts to cover their backside. Below are two case studies that had very different outcomes due to the facts of the case.
Case Study Number One:
Large Fortune 1000 Company
Fee Owed: $27,000.00
Reason for the Dispute: Our client presented the candidate and set up the interview. During the interview, the candidate mentioned to the hiring company that they applied two years ago for another position. The HR manager called the client to say they would not pay because they already had the candidate’s information and had previously interviewed them.
Our Argument: Our client had a signed agreement that was silent on the issue. We reached out to the hiring company's legal department and discussed the specifics of the case. We explained that at no point was the client informed that the candidate had previously applied. We then explained that the reason our client was not informed until after the interview was because the hiring company did not know they had the candidate’s resume until after the fact. If it were not for our client's efforts, the candidate would not have been hired for the position. We suggested the attorney look up a few specific cases in their state concerning procuring cause.
Resolution: It took us a few weeks to get to the correct attorney in the hiring company's legal department. The debtor paid the full balance within 30 days.
Case Study Number Two:
Fee Owed: $33,000.00
Reason for the Dispute: Our client presented the candidate to HR, and 3 days later they are informed that they already had the candidate's resume. No interview had been set up, and no other contact was made between our client and the hiring company. In addition, our client did not have a signed contract, and the contract they emailed over to the hiring company was silent on the issue.
Resolution: The hiring company’s attorney got involved, and we discussed the issue. They told us the case was weak, I agreed but did not tell that to the attorney. We discussed the facts, and the attorney offered $2,000 as a settlement in full. We rejected the offer and talked to the client. The client said they would accept $10,000, and after another 2 weeks the debtor's attorney offered $5,500 which the client accepted. In my opinion, our client was lucky to get anything because if we had sent this to our forwarding attorney we would have more than likely lost the case since there was no signed agreement, the client was informed within a reasonable amount a time, and no other connection was made between the candidate and the hiring company.
Wilson Cole is the founder and CEO of Adams, Evens & Ross, the nations largest credit and collection agency design exclusively for the staffing and recruiting industry. In 2008 he was inducted into INC Magazines, “INC 500” for being the CEO of Adams, Evens & Ross, the 307th fastest growing privately held company in America. This exclusive group of other INC 500 CEOs includes Bill Gates of Microsoft and Larry Ellison of Oracle.In 2007 Recruiting & Staffing Solutions Magazine’s Editorial Staff named him “ The Billion Dollar Man” due to the fact that he had collected or helped his clients collect more than 1 Billion dollars in past due debt over his career of almost 20 years as CEO of Adams, Evens & Ross.