I often find job postings from third-party recruiters (a contracted personnel company, not an in-house recruiter) that do not list what company the job is for.

Why do they do this?

  • 6
    As NickC says, it's to get the commission. There are ways around it though, most recruiters are lazy enough to post job adverts with the same text that the company uses on their website, so a little google-fu can get you the company (look for key, unusual phrases in the advert). If not then even just knowing sector and location can often help you find the company.
    – Mark Booth
    Commented May 4, 2012 at 9:07

4 Answers 4


This is often because they don't want candidates to have the opportunity to work around them — to decline and then make direct contact with the company, cutting them out of the transaction and costing them their commission.

Recruiting companies deal with a lot of money for each position (20 to 35 percent of the starting salary, says this article), and typically won't get any commission if the hire was not found by the recruiter. At the same time, the company can't be expected to give up good potential hires that contact them directly.

This is why initial job postings sent to potential candidates by recruiters often don't include the company name. It puts the recruiter at risk of losing that contact if the candidate declines but then (good intentions or bad) goes directly to the company.

As for advertised job postings (gathering instead of hunting), it's the same thinking: they want to make sure their advertising money brings them the commission.

I was told this by a recruiter when I asked who the company was for before I agreed to have them send my resume to the company. He said they normally won't tell candidates until the candidate agrees to work with them.

  • 1
    True to a point. If the company did accept a direct application for the position that was to be sourced via a recruiter, I would have second thoughts about the company's ethics.
    – tehnyit
    Commented May 4, 2012 at 8:57
  • 1
    @tehnyit: That totally depends on the agreement between company & recruiter. The company may have promised the recruiter exclusivity, or it may not. But that's not your problem.
    – sleske
    Commented May 4, 2012 at 12:24
  • 3
    @tehnyit - There are many companies who go through multiple channels (including multiple recruiting companies, and direct search/posting) to find candidates. Unless the candidates says they found a recruiter's posting, there may not even be any way for the company to know (or prove) that the candidate was undercutting a recruiter.
    – Shauna
    Commented May 4, 2012 at 18:24
  • I thought recruiters are also supposed to actually help candidates to get the job and have some relations to a company. If they just google for candidates and positions, aren't they wasting everyone's time hoping to randomly get their commission? And if candidates do not believe recruiters are helping them and trying to reach a company directly, maybe it is because many recruiters are incompetent for their jobs and really wasted candidates' time?
    – Sourcerer
    Commented Apr 4, 2019 at 0:28
  • Pure capitalist parasitism.
    – iono
    Commented Jun 23, 2019 at 6:45

We use recruiters pretty often and normally request that they keep the company name out of the picture until later stages if its for more senior positions.

If you are a listed company, it's pretty much a given that the company name won't be mentioned because even small things can affect market perception and you don't really want to take even minimal risk.

Even if you aren't listed but are relatively well known, most people won't want the market to know that their R&D director is leaving soon, etc, etc.

  • 3
    Upvoted because 'help wanted' ads can be an extremely valuable source of information for a company's competitors.. There may also be a desire by management to prevent employees from seeing help wanted ads for existing positions. Commented May 4, 2012 at 16:30
  • 2
    Jim's comment about listing a position that is currently filled is huge. It sounds slimy for a company to have a replacement ready to go, but for business-critical roles it's often necessary. An IT admin may be screwing around most of the time but is the only person with the skills to handle an emergency. You usually have to have someone ready to step in behind a person like this if you let them go. But, if that person finds out their company is trying to replace them, they'll often walk, or try to sabotage the company.
    – KeithS
    Commented May 4, 2012 at 16:47
  • So, lying, essentially.
    – iono
    Commented Jun 23, 2019 at 6:46

Looks like there are a variety of reasons to do so.

  • the company may be a small business, so hiring by itself may not attract better talents. Moreover there could be an overhead of interviewing, screening etc
  • Competition could be another reason. They may not want their competitors know what sort of talents they are hiring
  • Moreover recruiters these days are specialized in finding and hiring people. So a reliable recruiter will really make lives easier for the companies by hiring the exact talents to suit the exact needs without the headache for the companies. Recruiters do have a pool of existing talents with a wide range of skill set, so its easier to find the one required

NickC hit one of the main reasons, the company does not want its best candidates cutting them out of the deal before they can even talk with the candidate. Another big reason is there are competitors out there that also would like to fill that position. Announcing who it is that you are seeking to place is essentially telling their competitors here is a business open to using contracting/placement firms. With a small amount of due diligence the competitor can come in and undercut the first company.

This places stress on the relationship with both parties of the originating deal. Many times these competitors will come in around the actual manager making the decision, and have the managers boss direct the manager to use the new company. This still happens. But by using good discretion the Initial firm can hopefully fill the position before any competitors can intervene.

Good contracting and placement firms spend quite a bit of time and money cultivating relationships with prospective customers. They spend a similar amount of time building relationships with their prospective candidates. They do not want to do anything that compromises their relationship with either.

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