First off, it is paramount to have a signed contract between the company looking to hire and the person or organization offering a candidate. Everything following is going off assumption that you have a signed contract. Some important language to put in a contract is “that the client agrees that they owe a fee of (some) percentage, regardless of if the candidate reaches out to them directly or indirectly, for a period of 12 months from the last point of presentation or last discussion of that candidate.”
It is also important to have language about candidates being hired for any position, whether it be consultant, employee, 1099 or anything. This language protects against long hiring scenarios during which the hiring company may try to pull a trick to avoid having to pay a recruiter or staffing firm.
AER has seen it all too many times before. The recruiter or staffing firm presents the resume of a candidate to a hiring company, the hiring company says “ok we’ll setup an interview for this candidate,” they pause the hiring process either before the interview or shortly after, they claim they’re not going to hire for some random reason, the recruiter or staffing firm remind the hiring company 6 months or so later that the candidate is still available, and then the hiring company hires the candidate directly after 30 days or so. This is of course commonly known as a back-door hire. The hiring company’s defense will most likely be it was 30 days or whatever outside of the presentation period. That’s why it’s important to have language about “12 months from last point of presentation or discussion of the candidate.”
Again, make sure the contract is signed and accessible. You do not want to be the company that either forgot to get the contract signed or just as bad, do not know where it is at. Using an applicant tracking system can help a lot with this, assuming it is configured correctly. Even going old school by printing it out and putting it in a folder is better than not having the contract accessible.