5 Top Client Excuses to Avoid Fees and How to Handle Them

If you are a recruiter and suspect you may have fallen foul to a backdoor hire, don't always go in all guns blazing on a client and candidate.


It can be as simple as an assumptive request for the agreed fee, and the client pays up. If not, things may escalate, then it's likely you’ll be dealing with a client who gives reasons as to why they think it is okay to dodge the agreed fee. Here are the five excuses you are most likely to find yourself up against and our advice on responding:


  1. “We didn’t sign your terms” – Recruiters aren't estate agents, so signing on the dotted line is not the only way to accept terms of business. If the client receives or is on notice of your terms, then relied on your services, they will usually apply.

  2. “We already knew the candidate.” – Sure, but were they already talking to them about a role before you alerted them? If not, then odds are you were the effective cause, and they must pay your fee.

  3. “We actually hired them for a different position” – Introductions aren’t usually role specific. Even the most basic terms of business confirm this, so don’t let this excuse fly! Also, avoid agreeing on terms that do make introductions job specific!

  4. “Another agency sent us the CV first” – It isn't usually a first come, first served system; it’s generally about which recruiter's introduction caused the engagement. The other agency may have been first, but which introduction was the effective cause? The key here is evidence, so be the best recruiter to the candidate to ensure they are both an information source and ambassador for you. Make sure you have tracked actions on your CRM/email, so that you can show your work to confirm it was indeed you that landed them the job. Also don't be afraid to ask for copies of any other applications (but get the original emails, we often see inline email chains that have been conveniently amended to back up the client's version of events).

  5. “The candidate applied directly, and we didn’t make the connection” – Hat and funny glasses was it? New hairstyle perhaps? If they interviewed the candidate through you, then clearly this isn’t a viable excuse. It will usually be a tough defence for the client to establish.


At introPROTECT, we are doing everything we can to stamp out the injustice of backdoor hires and unpaid fees. We know more than anyone that it isn’t easy to tackle these disputes yourself, so we share our experience as backdoor hire and disputed fee specialists to help recruiters. If you find yourself struggling to get your fee from a client, give us a call and let us deal with the excuses for you.



This blog post was written for and first shared on Boomerang Funding.