Quick synopsis:

A longstanding client of ours sought help with a Head of Sales role.  My usual contact, the VP HR was especially vague about the role and especially unreliable in communicating anything. 

No big deal, we know their business pretty well and were able to draft a job req, source a strong round of talent, and put a few good candidates forward.  She interviewed candidates and dismissed each quickly and with no concrete substantiation.  No big deal. Onto the next round.

Then she fell out of touch entirely with candidates in process, so it became apparent that something was wrong.  As it turned out, she had been recruited by another company and was on her way out when we began talking about the Head of Sales position.  She sandbagged our interviews and we later learned that she took one of our candidates with her to the new gig.

I'm not exactly sure what grounds, if any, I stand on. Our fee agreement doesn't include language covering this scenario.  Anyone taken action on a similar heist?

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Thanks for making it through my screed, Jeremy. I considered posting it as a blog, however, 1) it was triggered by your post and I wanted to add my .02 here, and 2) I didn't want my first blog post to be seen as a whine about a goofy client. I've been threatening to start blogging forever but for now I'm enjoying the occasional comment on others' stuff.

Now, if that was really meant as a nice way to say "hey dude, stop hijacking my thread," then duly noted. :)

PS: Finally, I didn't want my story to come off sounding like a celebration of a drop off, which is never cool. Well, almost never cool...

@ Chris - know what you mean about your blogs being spotted, but I thought "Ta hell with it" and jumped in the deep end (ensuring of course a few nice words about current employer included of course....).


Go for it - theres always the delete key!

Against my better judgment, I'm taking your bait.  Dammit,  I've already spent more time on this than it deserves. You read the post just fine. But you're making assumptions that reflect more on your own character than they do mine. No relationship I have is black and white. Are yours? The complexities of those relationships are too numerous and too layered to put into a brief discussion post meant to solicit advice on a specific (and stated) topic.  The next time I need a professional evaluation, I'll come straight to you and save everyone else the time it takes to respond.

We've done tons of great work with this client and will continue to do that. They are a wildly successful start-up and admittedly, their founders and high executives grope their way through this rapid growth period.  Hey, here's an excellent opportunity for you to make critical assertions about my client! 

They've retained our work because we provide them with a level of service that extends beyond just matching X's and O's. In other words, we operate with a level of expertise that they don't have in their organization. Contrary to the cliche', sometimes that requires us to push square pegs through round holes. And often, their perceived needs change by the scope of the talent pool we recruit. 

Look, I'll happily resign to the fact that you and I operate differently. Maybe our client profile differs so much that the differences are hard to comprehend.  But I won't make assumptions about the quality of your work.  If you must make assumptions about the quality of mine, keep them to yourself.

@Chris- no way! I'm happy to have your story here, especially if it distracts people from my lame and ill-advised digressions above.  You're a good writer though, I think this material would be well received by this audience. 

Jeremy - thanks for the reply.  We'll just have to leave this one where it is.  I've developed some pretty "well earned" absolutes  over the years.  I'm sure you have as well.

Enjoy the afternoon. 

@Jerry- Fair enough.  I didn't actually call you a pretentious asshole.  I only said that you read like one. My apologies for the implications therein ;)

That's a tough one.  Jerry, you have a point but in this case, I don't think it would have helped.  Plus he obviously presented the spot on candidate.    I would call the company that you have the relationship with.  (someone high up)  and explain what happened.  Ask for the next retained or exclusive search (for her replacement, maybe)

Obviously this HR person acted with malice and aforethought to steal a good candidate and take him with her to her new employer. I would never,Ever, let somebody do that and roll over and play dead. I do not have to have an agreement to collect something. I have written off a total of 4000 bucks of uncollected fees in 35 years and I've had some very strange deals happen and gotten paid.

It may all be in the finesse of the approach but that would be why they make ice cream in 31 favors.
And the funny thing is I don't bother having clients sign a fee agreement. Never have and never will. Roll over backwards in horror over that one. :)

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