Imagine if you will… you have met with a new client. Taken the time to completely understand their business and their pain… agreed terms of business – both verbally and in writing… Spent hours & hours sourcing… you know… mapping markets, job boards, referral, social media, head hunting. Further hours phone screening… interviewing… preparing profiles… multiple client/candidate meetings… managing an offer… managing a counter-offer… references… and then Mr Underwood gives me a call…
‘Hi Craig, Frank Underwood from VP Recruitment here.’
‘Hi Frank.’ I gush… absolutely sure that he is calling to congratulate me on the fantastic job I have done sourcing and engaging the perfect person for his business. ‘You must be pretty happy with the result… Janie is resigning today and she’s sure she won’t have to work notice so will be available to start on Monday.’
‘About that…’ silence… crickets… the sound of impending doom… ‘I’ve been looking at our cash flow and to be honest. I can’t afford to bring Janie on and pay your fee as well. One of them unfortunately has to give…’
I was stunned… flummergusted (yes I made that word up).
‘What do you mean?’ I asked.
‘Well… the simple facts are… we had to offer Janie $5k more than we originally expected & we have to find that somewhere. I want you to discount your fee by $5k.’
‘Sorry Frank.’ I interjected. ‘When we sent Janie’s profile over, we clearly addressed her salary expectations. If this was going to present a challenge why didn’t you discuss it then?’
‘It slipped through…’
It slipped through?!?!? It effing slipped through!!??
‘Frank.’ I said. ‘The fee represents the work we did for you on this placement. When we signed off on the project you had no concerns… none whatsoever about the fee. Let’s be honest. If you did some work for one of clients with agreed fees up front how would you respond to a negotiation at the end of the process?’
I hate being put in situations like this. For one… it is so easy to react impulsively. I could have said.
‘Well I better get on to Janie before she resigns and let her know that you are making ultimatums around not paying agreed fees… just to give her the opportunity to understand just what type of company she is attaching herself to…’
‘As the once great Bucks Fizz sang… Not for all the tea in China… or all the corn in Carolina… You have made a very powerful enemy Frank Underwood. I’m advising Janie to stay where she is. You are nothing more than a dishonest fraud…’
What would you do?