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Monday Morning Memo: UK Back Door Hires With Luke Menzies

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UK Back Door Hires With Luke Menzies

For this podcast, Wilson Cole, President of Adams, Evens, & Ross (AER), Samantha Cole, in-house counsel for AER, and Luke Menzies, UK solicitor, discuss back door hires. It turns out that back door hires in the UK occur in about the same manner as they do in the US. A recruiting agency introduces a candidate, client company says they’re not interested and then goes quiet, and turns out a few month later that the client company hired the candidate in secret so the recruiting agency would know nothing about it (or that they are owed a fee). The excuses for back door hires in the UK are also very similar to the excuses for back door hires in the US: 1) “we forgot you presented the candidate to us when we just happened to find them on LinkedIn later on,” 2) “we didn’t understand or receive your terms of service,” 3) “the same candidate was introduced by a different agency,” and 4) “we knew them already.” Luke explains that the worst thing a recruiting agency can do to hurt their case after it learns a back door hire has occurred is communicate in a way that shows a lack of confidence about getting paid the fee that the agency should have received.

Luke’s solution to this is to stand firm behind the terms of service and resist the temptation to offer a deal too quickly. Wilson’s solution is for the recruiting agency to stop all communication immediately after a client has said they’re not going to pay, and escalate to collections professionals immediately, because anything the recruiting agency says/does after that can damage their case. One particular thing that will damage a case is the recruiting agency giving the client company documentation that a fee is due, after they have said they are not going to pay, because the client company will use that information to create a legal defense. Luke adds that in the UK, while having signed terms of service are great, it can still be enough to convince a judge if a recruiting agency can prove that the terms of service were at least sent to the client company, this is assuming the terms clearly state what the fees are and when they are due. Wilson confirms with Luke that similar to the US, when recruiting agencies in the UK stand firm behind their terms of service the client company will pay about half of the time and the other half of the time further action is necessary, whether collections and/or legal. In the UK, if legal action is required, the average period of time before the case is resolved is typically 6-12 months, depending on how much money is on the table. Luke’s experience is that in the UK the need for legal action is very rare. To follow up with Samantha, you can email her at Samantha@aercollections.com. To reach Luke, you can visit his website at www.menzieslaw.co.uk.

2 Key Quotes

Key Quote 1

Luke explains that the worst thing a recruiting agency can do to hurt their case after it learns a back door hire has occurred is communicate in a way that shows a lack of confidence about getting paid the fee that the agency should have received.

Key Quote 2

Luke adds that in the UK, while having signed terms of service are great, it can still be enough to convince a judge if a recruiting agency can prove that the terms of service were at least sent to the client company, this is assuming the terms clearly state what the fees are and when they are due.