I'm in the business of staffing. We work with clients who have needs they can't fill - we fill them - the client pays me money. When this goes right - it's a win-win. Client gets a great employee. I get paid for the service I performed. When it goes bad - it goes bad.
I worked 10 years on the HR/Recruitment side of the business. I took calls every single day from headhunters wanting to 'help' me with my openings. I get why so many get beat up in the staffing world - it's sales people calling on HR people who feel like they are being 'sold' to, not 'helped'. So, when that HR person finally agrees to take your 'help' and it doesn't end perfectly - there's going to be a problem! When that HR person signs off on check to be cut for $10K, $15K, $20K or more - and they feel like the services weren't rendered - there's going to be problems!
So, I'm going to give you some inside advice on 3 ways to recoup your fee you feel was unjustly paid:
1. Stretch Your Gurantee - I've signed staffing agreements (contracts) in the last 12 months with gurantees ranging from Zero days to 180 days. At a minimum, if I was sitting at your corporate HR/Recruiting desk, I would require a 90 days gurantee on any direct hire agreement. If I can't tell if the hire is good in 90 days - I should hire myself! If they aren't any good - I don't pay - thanks for playing - please try again - I've got nothing to lose.
2. Barter - I'm a business person. I don't want the fee for this one placement we just found for you, that you now don't like and don't want to pay for. I want fees on every single one of your hires! If I ahve a client who is unhappy, I want to make them happy - and I want to be happy. Tell you what - I won't charge you for this one - but I want the next 2 hires, exclusive. Deal? Deal. If you have a good relationship with your staffing partner, they'll do this in a heartbeat.
3. Just Don't Pay - Don't get me wrong - I hate you if you do this - but probably 75% of the time - you'll get away with it. That $10K fee you're refusing to pay, will cost me about $10K if I have to take you to court to get you to pay, and I can gurantee you'll never work with me again. If you did this I would never work with you again either - but let's face it - you have thousands of me waiting to business with you.
The truth is, most staffing companies are in business for the long haul. If you're really upset over paying a fee - something went wrong along the way and most reputable firms will be willing to work with you. I'll say most times I run into a HR/Talent Pro who is upset over a fee - it all goes back to the hiring manager not making the call when they needed to on a bad hire. One thing we do to help this is a simple 30/60/89 days check-in with both the employee and hiring manager. A simple, how's it going, and a simple day 89 - Last Chance! - call before you have to pay. 3 minutes of work, stems off a bunch of striff over paying a fee for a bad hire!