February 10, 2021

Dear Miss Deed, 

I thought I'd seen it all, but how about this one?!

My contingency client, a hospital, sent me a memo telling me they will pay our fee, BUT I must get the candidate to agree that the amount of the fee will be considered income to him and a 1099 issued to him in his name if he accepts their position.

The Code of Ethics says that it is a violation if a candidate pays the fee. Am I in trouble?

Stunned

Dear Stunned, 

Good grief! I have never seen this before.

Good news! You are not in violation of the Code because the candidate is not, in fact, paying the fee. He is only responsible for any income taxes that could result from the additional income being added to his gross income.

I must add if your doctor takes this job under these conditions he is either the most desperate candidate in the Western Hemisphere or you are a smoother talking son-of-a-gun than that good-looking fella heading up Ethics at the NAPR.

Love ya, 
Miss Deed

 
 

 

 
 

January 13, 2021

Dear Miss Deed,

I am with a recruiting firm and I have successfully worked with a group practice for several years. We have an excellent relationship, but I may have made a serious mistake.

I recruited an internist to join another in the group. They did not get along. The internist I just recruited called me to say he was unhappy and could I help him find another job.

The group administrator found out and called me. She was angry because I was helping the dissatisfied doctor find a job. I had a good relationship with the doctor and was only trying to help him.

What did I do wrong? I am . . . 

Baffled

Dear Baffled,

Where should I start? I call this “back door” recruiting. It is a great concept. While you are making placements with a client, you secretly recruit doctors away from the client. Theoretically if you play your cards right, you will only need one client because if you keep the timing right for each doctor placed, you can recruit one away. It is like perpetual motion.

The problem is, clients tend to get upset and more importantly NAPR strictly frowns on this activity.

In fact, the Code of Ethics is very clear about not allowing this. Basically as long as you have a financial relationship with your client (defined as having made a placement on a contingency basis within the past 12-month period) you cannot recruit a doctor away from them. (If you have a retained relationship, the same applies.)

However, there is one loophole. That is, if the doctor has publicly announced that he or she is resigning, then you are immune from this section of the Code of Ethics. Obviously the doctor you were working with was confidentially seeking another job. This puts you in significant trouble.

I think we need to talk.

Yours Truly, 
Miss Deed

 
 

 

 


December 2, 2020

Dear Miss Deed,

I work diligently to screen my candidates. I am careful and conscientious in obtaining information about my clients so I can clearly and accurately portray the opportunity to my candidate. I identify my client's name and location and ask the candidate if anyone has spoken to him or her before I call my clients.

Recently, and in ever-increasing frequency, when I call my client to clear the name, I am told they already have the CV. Sometimes the client reveals the other firm's identity. I am frustrated and disgruntled.

Yours truly,
Disgruntled

Dear Disgruntled,

As you know, physicians in the scarce specialties are being overwhelmed with calls from recruiters and often do not pay much attention to the recruiter who gives minimal information and then sends their CV out to one client or several for that matter. (We do know that some recruiters send CVs first, get the client's confirmation of a need, and then call the client.) Clearly the latter is a violation of the Ethics Code, Section IV, A., 4. regarding unsolicited referrals. This section, however, allows for multiple CV send-outs if the candidate has given permission.

In terms of the candidate's lack of knowledge or failure to remember that his or her CV has been sent, the Ethics Code has little jurisdictional authority without smoking-gun proof that the offending firm sent the CV without the candidate's knowledge or permission. Unfortunately, because physicians are not individually members of the NAPR, the Ethics Code has no jurisdiction. 

I realize this may not be the answer you are seeking honey, but it is the best I can do until we can get those son of a guns to join the NAPR.

Cordially,
Miss Deed

 
 

 

 
 

November 4, 2020

Dear Miss Deed,

I spoke to a doctor, told him about my client's job opportunity, got his permission to submit his curriculum vitae, prepared the email and called my client to let her know the good news that I had a candidate for her only to find out she already had him. Since the doctor didn't know anything about my client, I asked how this could happen. My client said that she has worked with the referring firm a long time and the recruiter just sends in the CVs.

Does a long-term relationship with a client change the rules?

Signed,
Unclear

Dear Unclear:

No! While it's nice to have the kind of relationship you described the other firm has with your mutual client, it is definitely a violation of the Ethics Code and unfair to other recruiters (such as yourself).

The Code is very specific in Section III. A., 4. that unsolicited CVs are verboten (and also unethical). The relationship one has with one's client can never supplant the fact and spirit of the Code. Many firms have long-standing relationships with clients. If the Code allowed for exceptions based on longevity, situations like yours would continuously arise causing chaos and serious ill-will with the offending firms.

Send your client the Code, point out the applicable section and ask her to require all firms to clear the name(s) with her before submitting the candidate. When you've done all this, go out and have a few beers. You done good!

Cordially,
Miss Deed


 

 
 

October 7, 2020

Dear Miss Deed,

I believe I was the procuring cause for a placement, but Sky Blue Recruiting claimed the candidate because they had him sign a Right of Representation letter. Does Sky Blue Recruiting have a legitimate right to the placement? 

Signed,
Desperate for a Fee 

Dear Desperate: 

Procuring Cause is an action which sets a series of events in motion which ultimately leads to a placement. If you made a valid referral (got the candidate's permission and cleared the name with the client) then your claim for the fee is valid.

Sky Blue Recruiting's strategy was clever but unethical. A Right of Representation letter signed by a candidate simply asserts that the recruiting firm has been granted formal approval to represent the doctor, usually just to the specific client(s) discussed. It is a helpful tool when
making your case for a valid initial referral when the client has received an unsolicited curriculum vitae on that candidate from another firm.

However, when a valid referral has been made, as in your case, and Sky Blue Recruiting attempts to undermine that valid referral by inducing the candidate to sign a Right of Representation they have in fact, violated the NAPR Code of Ethics, Section IV: Ethical Rules, subsection A, Relations with Clients and Potential Clients, paragraph 16: "A Member shall not utilize a Right of Representation document to supersede another organization’s properly made prior Referral."

Having the candidate sign a Right of Representation after the fact, to create the firm's case for their fee entitlement is clearly underhanded and violates the Code.

Good luck and go collect your fee!

Sincerely, 
Miss Deed


 

 
 

 September 9, 2020

Dear Miss Deed,

I am a physician and listed my curriculum vitae on the World Job Bank. I received the following e-mail from a recruiting firm: "We have great practices for you around the country. Please tell me where you want to go."

I am annoyed because I took the time to spell out my geographic preference and don't have time to read silly, non-specific e-mails. Do I have any recourse with this firm? 

Yours truly, 
Expected Moore, MD 

Dear Dr. Moore: 

Yes, you do! In Section III, Ethical Rules, subsection D. 4. a., the NAPR Code of Ethics states "additionally, no candidate registered with the World Job Bank, Cooperative Mailing Program or any future member service may be contacted for any purpose other than to present practice opportunities (jobs)". In other words, the firm who contacted you should have described a practice(s) or in some way given you details about a job. Because the e-mail failed to describe any aspect of a practice/job, the firm has violated this section of the Code. 

The Code allows the Ethics Committee a choice of several disciplinary actions. Although your annoyance is significant, removing a digit from the right hand of the firm's owner is not one of them. Because this is both a first-time offense and a new section of the Code, the firm will be cautioned against committing future similar violations. 

Sincerely, 
Miss Deed