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Contracts Before Presentation

First, let me say I’ve made several placements with no contract in place. Is that best practices? Not by a long shot, but sometimes there are circumstances which allow for it. Please recognize they are far and few between.

We all know how important a contract is in our business, but let’s first address a couple key points when you don’t have a contract in place (always given with the caveat that we are not lawyers and this isn’t legal advice. Hire an attorney.)

  • If the company has paid you previously, they have accepted your terms and the contract is implied.
  • If you shared with them terms and fees in the email where you presented the candidate, and they interviewed the candidate, they’d have accepted your terms.

Despite the fact there are ways to still have an implied contract, it’s best to have one in place, regardless. We’ll give you a script on Tuesday to use to go back to clients you’re supporting where a contract isn’t executed.

Let’s say you have a new requirement, and the client has indicated the contract is in legal. I’d aggressively recruit against the role, but I would NOT present a candidate until the contract was executed.

Often, the first candidate you find can be the carrot we dangle to get the contract signed.

“Mr. Hiring Manager, I’ve found an outstanding candidate and I don’t want to lose momentum. I’d like to set you up to speak with him, but I can’t until the contract is signed. Are you able to speed them up so we don’t lose this candidate?”

 If they can’t speed it up, ask them if they would send you an email saying the contract is with legal, but they agree to the payment terms of X% of the salary. If I had that email from a HM, I would feel comfortable presenting a candidate.

Hold your ground. The best leverage you have is an actual candidate. NO candidates should ever be presented without an executed contract or, at a minimum, an email from the HM letting you know they have agreed to the fee. 

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Tricia Tamkin, headhunter, advisor, coach, and gladiator. Tricia has spoken at over 50 recruiting events, been quoted in multiple national publications, and her name is often dropped in groups as the solution to any recruiters’ challenges. She brings over 30 years of deep recruiting experience and offers counsel in a way which is perspective changing and entertaining.

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