By David Burden | , , , Recruiters REALLY Keep it Private… at First


“This recruiter called but they won’t tell me the name of the organization. What’s up with that?” This is a common complaint among high-level candidates who see a posting with a title/geographic area, but no organization name. Combine that with a previous bad experience, or urban legend about a recruiter, and your guard is up. That’s not a bad thing. You should ask questions (check out one of my previous blog articles for more on that topic). However, we do have our reasons for holding back that information… at first.

Why don’t we lead with the name of the organization?

Organizations invest in our services to connect them with high-value choices that they would not find but for our efforts. In some cases, the organization may be trying to fill the role themselves by posting an ad, and praying they get lucky. So, if I message you about a role with organization “X” without helping you understand why you should work with me, you might logically go directly to the organization’s website, and send your resume in. If you do that, it will likely end up in a black hole, and that will be that. It’s bad for you, and it’s bad for me.

While you might think that “cutting out the recruiter” makes sense, it really doesn’t. When I present a candidate, I take the time to get to know them, assess their fit for the role, and then introduce them, not their resume, to the hiring authority. This is a much more successful strategy both in terms of moving forward in the process and in getting helpful feedback rather than sending a resume through an electronic platform.

When will I know the name of the organization?

Most of the time, during our first phone call. What I generally do is describe some of the “must haves” or unique challenges associated with this role, and ask you how this matches your experience. If I find that there’s a good match, I will you the name of the organization. Then, I’ll give you more information on them than you’ll ever want to know, and discuss the submittal process. When we’ve gotten your materials together in the form that I know that my client wants (and will read), I’ll reach out on your behalf, and shepherd your application through the process.

show your value in a resume

Sometimes, the search truly is confidential, and I can’t tell you the name of the organization until later in the process. In that case, I’ll tell you something like this: At this stage, the client does not want people to know they are searching for a Chief Awesomeness Officer. However, what I can tell you is that it’s a $__MM organization in the YYYY Space with more than ZZ years of operations in AA geographic area. While that’s not ideal, this should be enough for you to decide whether you’d like to have an introductory conversation. Generally, when the client decides that they’d like to speak with you, I can tell you more about the search, including the name of the organization.

It seems a little strange to folks who haven’t worked with a recruiter before, but this is simply about making the best connection at the best time. It’s about protecting the investment that I’ve made in the process that led me to reach out to you. A process, that I believe, leaves both the organizations I work with and the candidates I place, better off than they were before.

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