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The Resilient Recruiter

Nov 30, 2020

Imagine this - you’ve worked really hard to deliver talent for your client’s urgent requirement. It was a tough spec but you found the perfect candidate. You managed to contact them, get them interested in the job, conduct a full screening interview, and submit the candidate's CV. Sadly your client changed their mind. They would not be hiring the candidate you’ve introduced, therefore no placement fee unfortunately. But after some time, you discovered that they’ve actually hired the candidate. Sound familiar?

Yes, backdoor hires can be frustrating to you as a recruiter or a recruitment business owner. Today’s episode actually deals with this dilemma as our special guest, Barry Cullen, offers very practical advice and solutions to prevent, detect, and recover losses resulting from fee disputes and backdoor hires.

Barry is the Founder and Director of introPROTECT, a London based law firm who are experts in backdoor hire and fee disputes. Barry has a unique and interesting background. Prior to training as a solicitor, he started his career as a recruiter.

Episode Outline and Highlights

  • [0:55] Barry’s unique background and “history of failures” leading him to where he is now.
  • [14:25] From a solicitor’s perspective - the pandemic’s impact on recruiters with clients who can’t or won’t pay their invoices.
  • [21:26] Prevention is better than cure - 7 tips on how to prevent backdoor hires.
  • [28:39] Sending your MPC (Most Placeable Candidate) email - what to avoid and what to include.  
  • [31:47] Barry’s take on multi-agency disputes and the right to represent.
  • [41:20] Dealing with how the word “introduction” is commonly misunderstood in recruitment.
  • [52:54] Barry explains the IntroPROTECT solution
  • [54:50] In case of a business falling out with a client, what should you do first before taking the legal route?
  • [1:01:40] If you are looking to do business internationally, what are the things you should consider from a legal perspective in case of a fee dispute? 

Law Practice and Recruitment

What do law practitioners and recruiters have in common?

“I came to realize actually, that being a litigator which is what I do, is basically recruitment,” Barry’s realization came about when he transitioned from being a recruiter to becoming a solicitor. He further explained, “If you are a recruiter you’ve got a candidate. If you are a litigator you’ve got a case. They are fairly similar things, right? I’m having to convince the other side, no matter how good my case is, I’ve got to convince the other side that my case is better than theirs. So a recruiter, even if their candidate is the best candidate they have for the job, they have to convince the client that they have the best person for them. So that’s very similar.”

Of course, having multiple stakeholders, putting deals together, trying to influence people’s perception, and managing expectations are some of the things that make recruiters similar to law professionals. Barry’s experience as a recruiter enables him to marry his law expertise with the needs of his clients who are recruiters and recruitment business owners.

What can you do to Prevent Backdoor Hires?

Backdoor hires can happen. But there are some things within our control to protect our clients, ourselves, and our recruitment business. Here are some practical tips from Barry:

  1. Have your terms of business in place and have it well-drafted. 
  2. Go through these terms with your client and ensure that they have explicitly agreed. 
  3. Place references to your terms (ie. placing a handy URL to the terms)
  4. Do good recruitment. Don’t just send a CV out to 50,000 hiring managers.
  5. When identifying a candidate, make sure you are identifying the right people.
  6. Follow up and follow through.
  7. Get a good audit trail of everything you do.

Sending Out an MPC Email? Don’t Send a Spec CV.

For a lot of recruiters, sending out an MPC email is one of the most challenging arenas in getting their fee paid. What should you do to avoid this situation? As you’ve read in the subtitle, do not send a specific CV. Instead, you may want to consider Barry’s advice: “If you happen to send a CV to a hiring manager and somebody in that company ultimately hires that person, it is much harder to show that you should get paid and that can be an issue...Take the time to craft the summary. Here is a very brief summary of why this candidate is worth working with. Not enough to identify who they are, but enough to wet the whistle.”

Essentially a summary or teaser of the candidate’s key achievements and selling point should be sufficient. And if the client is interested, then they come back and have a conversation before you send the CV. Barry added, “The really nice thing about that as well, is if that summary is going out with your terms attach, and the hiring manager then responding to you ‘Yes please send me the CV’, your terms will probably have a provision in there that requesting CVs from the agency is deemed an acceptance provision.”

Barry Cullen Bio and Contact Info

Barry is a solicitor, specialist in recruitment, and the founder of introPROTECT, UK's leading experts on recruitment fee disputes. With over 19 years in the recruitment industry - now as a solicitor and previously at the coal face as a recruiter and agency owner, Barry has a complete understanding of the industry, its key players, and the pressures affecting them. Barry’s personal specialism is avoiding or resolving litigation by the education of opponents so that they pay or brokerage of deals to ensure the best outcome for our recruitment clients. Preventing and successfully resolving backdoor hire, rebate, and other introduction fee disputes is where Barry really thrives. Whether advising in the background, brokering a deal directly with end clients, or enforcing through the courts, Barry’s focus is on getting the best overall outcome for clients, whether by way of payment, guaranteed future business, or both.

  • IntroPROTECT website link:
  • IntroPROTECT on LinkedIn
  • Barry on LinkedIn

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