In the popular thread from yesterday regarding candidate ownership Barbara Goldman brought up an important topic.  "But for My Efforts" has always been what us old school recruiters have used as the standard by which we feel our fee is earned.  It's always been that way for me.

Over the years though, many agencies have been drafting agreements with their clients that state specific terms of "ownership" for candidates introduced.  Usually these are 1 year or 6 month time frames.

So what's the story here?  Aren't these 2 viewpoints absolutely contradictory?  Do you use the "1 year" rule when it suits you?  Do you also demand the "But for my efforts" rule be applied when another agency introduced your candidate 9 months prior to your hard work?


For the record I do not set forth any time based parameters in my fee agreements. 


We can't have it both ways.  Thoughts?



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Comment by Sandra McCartt on February 8, 2011 at 4:02pm

Actually Jer, i have had situations come up in the last year where i have had it both ways.  Several of my clients set the rules themselves that they honor a recruiters referral for the period of one year.  With the same client i had one situation where we submitted a candidate who was not hired at that time.  They opened a new position, did not list it with us but when another recruiter tried to submit the same candidate 8 months later they checked their ATS and gave us the referral.  In another situation we submitted a candidate that the internal recruiter had missed when reviewing their database.  The internal recruiter took the position that the candidate had applied on his own 8 months before, found him in their ATS after we sent the resume and called him.  The director of HR took the position that they would never have contacted him if we had not sent the resume so paid us a fee.  The difference seems to be that they will honor TPR referrals for a year but since internal gets paid whatever they do they use the "but for" when it comes to a conflict between internal and external.


We had another situation where we submitted a doctor in February.  Another recruiter submitted the same doc in July, got him interviewed and hired and was paid a big fee.  When we asked about it the company came back and said, "our error", we did not check throughly, you had the first referral, our mistake.  They paid us an additional big fee.


Sometimes the "But for" conversation works and someitmes it doesn't.  Most of the clients i work for set the one year rule to honor referrals from thrid party recruiters.  If i accept that rule from the client i have no choice "but to" honor it when another recruiter is involved.  It's been my experience in the past few years that the "but for" rule is not holding as much clout as it used to.  Probably the reason is the expanded use of ATS systems.  Previous to technology being widespread resumes were lost or for

Comment by Jerry Albright on February 8, 2011 at 4:13pm

Thanks for the input Sandra.  Much like you - I also am subject to the rules of my clients.


The "But for" rules perhaps is on it's way out then?  What about clients that agree to your terms?  Do you have a time frame?

Comment by Sandra McCartt on February 8, 2011 at 5:04pm

I don't normally put a time frame out there.  I will ask how they like to work with a recruiter and what their position is on referrals if we come up with candidates they have seen in the past and forgotten.  If the client asks me i will ask for a year.  It all depends on the type of client.  Some of the physician and scientific searches we do take six to eight months before a hire is made due to contracts and liscensure.  If it's a smaller business it rarely comes up because they don't hire that many CFO's in a year so candidates are gone anyway if they are worth a flip.


I love my CPA firms that i work with and attorneys.  They seem to remember in perpituity that i sent someone at some time so will call me to track them down years later or just automatically honor my referral if they list with me even if they have talked with them in the past and didn't hire.  They seem to take the attitude that if they didn't hire them and didn't think about them , "but for" me digging them up again they would never have had the opportunity to talk with them again.


Bigger companies with an enterprise wide ATS system could give a rip about the "but for" so i ask for a year with them.  Sometimes will go in and resubmit the candidate after a year if the company hires a lot of people and is growing if my candidate is still available or still interested in being kept in the loop with the company.


Short answer, "But for", it all depends.  :)

Comment by C. B. Stalling!! on February 9, 2011 at 9:39am

I have had client tell me the one year rule when i was working as an agency recruiter. Al i asked for in return was a list of all who allpied for the job. They said that would take to long and threw the rule out.


Just because they have the resume does not mean they have the candidate interested..


good luck

Comment by Joe Goss on February 9, 2011 at 3:07pm

The recruiting world has evolved and it's certainly not wise for a company to consider a candidate as a referral of a specific agency "in perpetuity".  I've had to deal with agencies submitting people at different times to different parts of a big company as well as candidates applying on their own after an agency submitted them elsewhere. Both sides try to put together an agreement that protects their own best interests, but we are dealing with people so there's always something that wasn't accounted for.


It's more than fair to give an agency one year of "ownership" of the relationship. If you can't get the person on board by the end of that time, all bets are off. Sometimes you'll get paid on a submission that you have forgotten all about, yet gets hired. Other times, you'll do all the work, but you don't get paid because someone else got there first. 


As long as your companies act ethically and within the letter of the agreement, that's all you can ask.  Because the price delta between paying a fee or not is so high, you will always find people willing to take out a magnifying glass to figure out who should get paid on the deal.


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