If you are recruiting (3rd-party, contingency recruiting), you can no longer rely on a handshake to count on receiving your hard-earned fees --on time, and in the correct amount. ...Yes, believe it or not, I am old enough to remember the days when lots of things were successfully handled with a handshake and a promise. Ah, gone forever ...those were the days.
Sadly, these days, even having such a contract in hand doesn't guarantee that your agreed upon terms will be adhered to.
An old recruiting friend of mine called me at home over the weekend. She needed to vent. Business has been tough for many contingency recruiters in the past two years (though you may not realize that if you aren't one of them). This particular recruiter had successfully recruited for 20+ years, and had always done quite well until about mid-year of 2002.
Good jobs have been harder to come by, so she was thrilled when a start-up/joint venture company contacted her about filling a number of positions for them. To date, they owe her approximately $53,000. She discovered on Friday that the company is actually broke, and her fees are not forthcoming (any time soon). ...And yes, she does have a contract with them.
So, now what does she do... file a lawsuit? That could be a major expense (not just in money, but in time lost from work), and the results will likely be the same. They are broke, so lawsuit or not, she can't get blood from a rock.
My point in this tale is this... Be careful who you do business with. Check them out as best you can, just as they will be checking you out (no matter how 'legitimate' they may sound on the phone). Meet them whenever possible. Looking at someone, eye to eye, is a much more reliable compass than any voice on the phone.
My friend had better things to do with herself than to work for 2 months for nothing. Don't let this happen to you!! ...Choose your customers as carefully as they choose their vendors, no matter how tempting their proposal sounds. And don't work on a second placement for them (Big Red Flag) when you haven't been paid for the first.