Collecting missed placement fees can be a daunting task for recruiters because it's an awkward conversation to have with a client, especially if you have a longstanding relationship with them. Rather than risk damaging the relationship, many recruiters will consider it a cost of doing business and let back door hires slide.
But the reality of the situation is that most back door hires are the result of an oversight, and clients are willing to pay up when the oversight is brought to their attention. The collection process just needs to be done with a little finesse to ensure that client relationships aren't damaged.
If you want to increase your chances of collecting on a missed fee, without damaging your client relationship, read on for some collection do's and don'ts:
Do: Gather documentation.
Don't: Send it to their attorney.
The first step to collecting on a missed placement fee is to gather all your documentation: the signed agreement from your client, emails between you and your client where you discussed the candidate placement in question, and anything else you can use to prove that the candidate came from you. If you don't have all of these things, you may still be able to collect - but it will be more difficult. Once you have this information, reach out to the client to let them know about their "oversight" and let them know you'll be sending an invoice.
If their attorney requests this paperwork, your best bet is to let a collections agency or attorney handle the situation from there. Generally, the attorney is looking for ways help their client get out of paying you - but a good collections agency or attorney can find potential loopholes and address them when they send over the documentation.
Do: Offer to be flexible.
Don't: Offer a reduced fee.
It's possible that some clients haven't paid you because they simply don't have the money. This can be due to cash flow issues, or because they didn't get the budget approved within their organization before working with you. In these cases, you could let them know that you're willing to accept a reasonable proposal to settle their debt, but you should not offer up a reduced fee on your own - this will keep the negotiating power in your hands.
Do: Send a collection letter.
Don't: Forget to include a due date.
If your initial attempts to contact your client and collect your debt are unsuccessful, you should send a final collection letter which includes a date by which the invoice should be paid. You may also mention that if you have not received payment by that date, that you will be contacting your collections agency or attorney and that they will be liable for expenses incurred (if you have a signed agreement from your client which mentions that).
Do: Maintain a professional relationship throughout the collection process.
Don't: Badmouth your client or try to place their candidates elsewhere.
Not only is maintaining a professional image important for your reputation, but it is also a key part of collecting your missed placement fees. Maintaining a professional relationship will help keep the doors of communication open and make it easier to negotiate with your client. Staffing firms that badmouth their clients or try to place candidates elsewhere open themselves up to the risk of legal action taken being against them.
Have you successfully collected on missed placement fees in the past? Let me know if you have any tips to add!
This post was originally published on Hirabl.