I was bummed not to be able to make Recruit Fest especially since I grew up near Buffalo and I spent many a nights in Canada (including Toronto) consuming the sweet sweet nectar also referred to as Labatt Blue (brewed in Canada, not the crappy US version). I did read about a possible West Coast version next year which would be of interest to me being in AZ, I hope Slouch will bring me some Canadian Labatt Blue, you are allowed 2 carry ons… (don’t laugh, my buddy has done it before)

So Friday was a tough day for me and hopefully I can get some advice from my fellow RBC members as they get back to work and deal with Recruit Fest hangover. As I mentioned a few weeks ago I was frustrated with a fall out which became official on Friday when the candidate resigned and walked out the door. I have not talked to him to get his side but my contact at the company said he was far from professional in his words and actions.

This was my first placement there (great first impression) and my standard fee agreement gives 30 days to pay (which they did) and offers a 90 day replacement guarantee with no time frame to provide said replacement and no where do I mention anything about a refund. Initially, their legal team reviewed my fee agreement and made one change that they did not have to pay me for candidates they all ready had on file that were being considered for the position. That is a gray area for me but I agreed to the change and we signed. So it is apparent they have gone over the agreement, made their changes and are (or were) happy with it. When my contact called I said I would get to work right away on a replacement per the agreement and she wanted information on a refund. I said I only offer replacements and not refunds, I could tell this did not sit well. About 10 minutes later she called back and said she talked to their legal team and they are requesting me to commit to a time frame to find a replacement and if I do not do so, they get their money back. It was at this point I told her I needed to consult with my lawyer and get back to her as I did not want to say anything to hinder my agreement or relationship.

I will let you in on a secret, I don’t have a lawyer. I am a bit ticked that I was given all of 10 minutes to work on a replacement before they called demanding more than is in our fee agreement that they have all ready modified and signed. I am confident I am in the right because they modified my standard agreement and brought this up only after the situation happened and now they want me to go back and modify our original agreement so that it benefits them and screws me. I can understand their situation as they sent me a sizeable check for a candidate that lasted about 45 days and walked out but we need to abide by the agreement in place and at the very least allow me an opportunity to find a replacement. I did make one offer that if I was not able to find a replacement I would like to continue working with them and would offer them a lower fee on future placements so they could re-coup the money that way but it would require them to continue to work with me which is my ultimate goal, I was told no quite quickly.

I have dropped everything to focus on this and need to respond back today, I have been working on a written response with a business associate which I will include below. If I am not able to find a replacement in a suitable time then I assume they will try to come after me legally but I do not think they have a leg to stand on due to our agreement which was in place but this is a situation I hope to avoid.

I apologize as I have been long winded but I am frustrated that I am having this discussion about what to do when I fail on finding a replacement before I have been given a chance to do so. I wanted to get your thoughts on my situation and how I should respond to the company.

Thanks in advance!
Jason

Response;
I am sorry to hear that your hire of George did not workout. I am sure that this is frustrating for you and your team, and it is for me as well. Please know that I am doing everything that I can to find a suitable replacement for George in a timely fashion and as you are keenly aware, qualified candidates are challenging to locate. My ultimate goal is to replace George in a timely manner free of charge and maintain a positive working relationship with you for the future.

As a follow up to our Friday discussion regarding our fee agreement, I fully intend to honor the commitments made in our agreement. I understand that you are concerned about the loss of George and the timeliness of his replacement and your legal team is pressing for changes in the fee agreement that we jointly modified per their request prior to its execution. I am not in a position where I can retroactively modify our fee agreement, and I would not expect you to retroactively modify an agreement between us either. I would be open to discussing changes for the future if you chose to continue working with me. If I am unable to replace George in a timely manner, I am willing to discuss accommodations outside the scope of our current fee agreement on future placements as a professional courtesy to you and your team. I am confident that we can reach an arrangement that is agreeable to both of us which will hopefully allow us to continue working together.

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Some thoughts here. First - sorry about your fall off. We've all been there. I'll also leave out my thoughts on what an agreement SHOULD look like. We'll save that for another time - though I will say that I leave the option with them to replace at a discounted fee 30/60/90 or refund 75%/50% or 25% in same time frame. Enough about the future - let's discuss today.

We don't have all the data here. Why do you need to keep them as a client if they demand that you change the agreement after the fact? This tells me they would also feel free to change it from their side as well. So a word of caution there as well.

Now onto this fall off. I am not a lawyer but have bumped into this kind of thing on occassion. You have a signed agreement wherein you agree to replace the candidate. No time frame was noted. So let's just say that even without it being written - what do YOU feel is reasonable? 30 days? 60 days? Can you refill this job?

You always have to look at each of these things with this perspective: Where is the most advantageous place to spend my time? Is it most advantageous to bust your @$$ to refill a job which was unbelievably hard to fill in the first place? Or would your time be better spent finding a new client who does not want to change the deal after the fact?

Can you offer to pay back a percentage of the fee?

Bottom line - DO NOT FREAK OUT HERE MAN!!!!! YOU are the driver here, right? So THEY should be the ones being cool since they are the ones wanting to go back and change history - not you.

You can call me directly if you'd like. I can't type as fast as I can talk about stuff like this!

Jerry - 888-293-9249

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