I wanted to take a moment and share with you a disturbing trend that I am starting to see more frequently. My company has collected well over 100 million dollars and I have to admit I have seen just about every collection scenario imaginable but they are isolated. Very few times in my collection career have I seen such a systematic approach to stealing placement fees. Within the last 6 months, I have seen increasing accounts of this specific approach, which greatly concerns me.
The approach to which I'm referring looks something like this. The HR Director has to clear a name to make sure that they are not already talking to this candidate. On the surface, this appears to make sense. If you present a candidate and they have sent their resume out to hundreds of companies then there is always a chance that you could present someone that is already in the process of being considered. This part is not so new but here is the twist. They ask you for 48 hours to clear the name. Within that 48 hour period, they go out and see if they can find the resume on the major job boards and contact them through the job board or they pass your candidate's resume to their "Favorite Recruiter" who will present the candidate at a later time. I have had over 24 collection accounts this year that would fall under the suspicion of this scenario. Out of these 24 suspicious accounts I have been able to confirm that over half of them occurred just as I described.
So ask yourself this: "Over the last 12 months have I presented a candidate that was reportedly already in the system or submitted by another recruiter?" Were they really ever in their system or is this a sign of concern?
One thing that being in the collection industry has taught me is that most people are honest and have character, even the ones who pass across my desk for collections. Most of them are good people who simply misjudged cash flow. Unfortunately, about 5% of what passes through here are people who will try to beat the system every time they can. So now that I have put a knot in your stomach I will share with you a simple idea that will protect you from these thieves. Have your candidate sign a statement declaring they are unaware of any available positions within the companies you are presenting. This will prove effective in the event that you do not get paid and you need our help collecting your account, but, more importantly, it will help you collect the outstanding balance on your own without the need to retain my company.
So remember, if your client wants to clear a name, let them know that you have a signed document from the candidate stating that they are unaware of any position within their company. When done with tact, this strategy will reduce the risk of having your candidate stolen and protect you should it happen anyway.