Why do recruiters never share company names on job ads?
This is easy, the answer is confidentiality. Simples. The client company has asked a recruiter to help them with their talent search. Recruitment is time consuming. It requires professionals and it is not something for amateurs to try (as it will end up costing more money and time in the long run). So if a company has invested time and money to find and partner with a recruiter they will want that recruiter to take on the work and do not wish to be contacted by prospective candidates.
The recruiter is not withholding the name of the company for the sole purpose of keeping you “in the dark” or for any other nefarious reason.
Quite the contrary: your recruiter is not disclosing the name of the company for a number of good reasons. One of those reasons is to protect you, the candidate.
So what are those good reasons? Below are some of the reasons why your recruiter isn’t telling you the name of the company:
There are confidential circumstances surrounding the search. If a recruiter contacts you about an opportunity, chances are good that the search is being conducted on a confidential basis. The company could be replacing an underperforming employee or hiring “under the radar.” When that’s the case, companies really do not want their recruiter to disclose their identity until a certain point during the hiring process. And a recruiter must honour that request.
Additionally, there may be sensitivities around the role or the company - the business or role may be going through significant changes (both positive and negative) and although not announced they are looking to get key hires in place beforehand. In which case it is important that confidentiality is maintained until the interview process.
It would be a bad idea for you to circumvent the process, find out the name of the company and contact the hiring manager directly. For some reason, some candidates believe that this will enhance their candidacy. I can’t stress enough that this is a bad idea. First of all, it’s simply not ethical to circumvent the search professional who informed you of the opportunity. Second, going around the recruiter is not going to give you an edge or help you “get in the door.” For example, if the company name is on the job advert then applicants will often try to approach the company directly, thinking they are being clever and bypassing the recruiter - this is something most companies do not want. Unsolicited direct approaches are often as welcome to a company as juicy slug in a salad which is why company names are left off the job advert.
Additionally, if a candidate is rejected by a recruiter as they do not meet the basic criteria for the role and the candidate thinks they know better (and usually, they do not as they will not have had access to the client briefing or know the background of why the role has arisen or the culture or business in as much detail as the recruiter) a dejected candidate may decide to reach out to the client directly. Again, this is mostly unwelcome.
Another factor is timing. Timing is everything during the hiring process. Look at it this way: obviously, the recruiter is not going to keep the name of the company secret forever. In the event of a face-to-face interview, you’re going to find out who the company is and be given all the information you need to do your research beforehand. Eventually, all will be revealed. However, there is a specific timeline in place for everything, and that includes this stage. There is a time and place for revealing the name of the company with the opportunity.
Another reason is that often companies do not want to announce to their competitors where they have talent gaps. Respect the need for confidentiality.
All these factors mean that companies will often ask for confidentiality to be used when advertising and often, at the early discovery stages of the talent search. GDPR guidelines also require that anyone who handles information must consider the necessity of sharing that information to a third party so if your recruiter cannot divulge the company name straightaway, chances are they are just doing their job and being an ethical recruiter.
A work-around is to sign a Confidentiality Agreement, which you should take very seriously indeed. However not all recruiters have CA in place or choose to use them as they can be difficult to enforce.
If your skills and experience match the requirements then most likely you will be invited for a discovery call/interview to find out more about you and your chance to ask questions about the role. Your recruiter may not yet be able to go into more detail about the client (and remember this isn’t them being awkward, merely being professional and maintaining their client’s confidentiality). But should you progress, then most certainly you will be given copious amounts of information so you can do your due diligence in advance of an interview and if after your research you do not want to proceed then you can withdraw from the process.
If you’ve made the decision to work with a search consultant or recruiter in an effort to find another employment opportunity and grow your career, it would make sense for you to trust that recruiter. If you trust that recruiter, then you should trust them to know when to disclose the name of the company and when not to.
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