I found an open position announcement for summer term in my department's job announcements board. The announcement contains only the qualifications that they're looking for, but no information about the company (even the name).

I sent an e-mail saying that "you should provide essential information about your company and a very brief job field/description before asking for a CV which contains personal information" and I have to admit that I wrote the mail informally (but grammatically correct, of course). They insist on staying secret and are asking for an apology for my rudeness.

So what should I do? Do you think it's a good approach to send my CV with all the personal information thrown out? And I don't think it's rudeness (even if the e-mail was informal) because it is a prerequisite to share enough information about the company, in my opinion.

  • did the email have its own domain? or were they using a gmail address?
    – acolyte
    Jul 13, 2012 at 13:13
  • @acolyte gmail address. Jul 13, 2012 at 16:27
  • well then, bring the case up with the administration at your school. they'll probably contact the company and tell them to either provide information and stop treating students like crap, or gtf-off of the walls of campus.
    – acolyte
    Jul 13, 2012 at 16:29
  • Were the requirements related to a specific job function, or just general personality traits like "self-starter", or "outgoing" ? Dec 11, 2012 at 17:08
  • There are a number of shady companies who will "hire" college students to peddle junk like magazine subscriptions door to door. It's like Amway -- they won't tell you what it's about until they have trapped in a room. Dec 11, 2012 at 17:11

5 Answers 5


Drop it. Do nothing. It's not worth it.

Think about it:

  • The company has no information online whatsoever.
  • They wouldn't give you the information when you asked.
  • You are giving them information that could be unsafe if given to the wrong person.

Do not even think about giving them your CV. Even if it is a small chance, there is a chance of getting scammed here. It's not worth the risk.

  • maybe they are using a fake proxy? Jun 5, 2012 at 17:11
  • @SeçkinSavaşçı Why would that matter?
    – Dynamic
    Jun 5, 2012 at 17:12
  • I will graduate soon and I don't know these tactics are whether common or not in hiring process. So I consider the situation of facing such things often. Jun 5, 2012 at 17:23
  • 8
    Rule of thumb, if the recruiting process makes you feel uneasy, you won't want to work there.
    – HLGEM
    Jun 5, 2012 at 17:59

No reputable company does this for interns or entry-level hires. Period.

OCCASIONALLY, you will see blind ads in newspapers and magazines, when a company is trying to replace someone and doesn't want to tip the replacee off, or when they are trying to find out if certain people are seriously considering leaving. These are always for experienced personnel, not entry-level or interns.

OCCASIONALLY, you USED to see ads like this with directions to reply to such-and-such state's Employment Commission, referencing a particular job posting. Those ads always carried incredibly detailed lists of requirements, and usually unreasonably low salaries. They were ALWAYS attempts by some company or other to qualify a foreign national for a work permit. This was before the widespread availability (and abuse) of nonimmigrant visas. You don't see these much anymore, and, again, these were always for experienced personnel, not entry-level or interns.

I would bring this one to the attention of your department, and let them look into it. Something smells rotten.

  • Recruitment by reputable companies looking to do discrete high-level recruitment is almost always done through reputable recruitment firms. If it isn't it's almost certainly going to be a scam. Dec 9, 2012 at 19:54

You are essentially asking three questions here :

What should I do?

My advice is walk away. I have encounted "blind recruitment" on a number of occasions, but not at the graduate entry level. It is usually via a specialist recruitment firm, sometimes actively headhunting, sometimes personally and individually targeted. A blind application via a g-mail address at a gradutae level is unusal.

Was your response okay?
It wasn't great. Telling someone "You should" is usually leads to escalation, as in this case. Its always better to start with "I.." So in this case:

"I prefer to tailor my CV to the role, and if you could provide me with more details I'd be happy to formally submit my application..."

However, the fact that they have escalated and demanded an apology is another worry. Most companies have to cut down applicants by ~90% at the moment to get to an interview shortlist. A situation like this may get you onto the "reject" list, but to get a follow up e-mail asking for an apology for a reasonable - if badly phrased - question is highly unusal.

Is it a good idea to send a CV out with personal information deleted?

Identity theft for immigration purposes is pretty common; I have had three identical CVs for the same post in my organisation with different names, and several others with cut-and-pasted skills. In this situation it could just be one of your fellow graduates aiming to improve their own CV by seeing what the "job seeking opposition" is saying on theirs.

EDIT : Modern printer standards means that many companies will check back with the degree provider that the person in question attended a university. Having "harvested" real names makes this check harder to do. This is not new, just easier now:

The fake degree from Sheffield University meant he was able to gain entry to a masters program at University of NSW in 1971, which led to him getting a Masters of Engineering Science in highway engineering in April 1974.



Sure, it's possible for someone to put up a fake job posting to collect CVs with name and contact info for new hires. But if I were to do that, I could easily make up a company name and a job description, couldn't I? So the fact this company hasn't provided that isn't a suggestion that they are identity thieves, but more that they're old fashioned and kind of control freaks. They seriously think they have a chance of hiring you simply by saying "there is a job of some unspecified kind available; does anyone want it?" They are foolish and you probably don't want to work there.

I tell you one thing though: if I posted a job offer somewhere, and a potential applicant wrote to me and included a sentence that started "you should" I would not hire or even interview that candidate. Here's a young person who knows literally nothing about me and is willing to tell me what to do. Round file. Had that email said "I was intrigued by your posting, but I'd like to know at least a little about the job so I can decide whether or not to apply" I might have provided more information, or explained why I can't. But you come at me from a position of how valuable your name and email address are, and tell me how to write my job postings, and generally assume you know more than me about everything? I won't demand an apology, I'll just say to myself "thankyou for sharing" while I completely ignore your instructions to me.

Anyway what should you do now? Nothing. If some of your classmates want to apply, let them. Maybe they'll end up as statistics in an article about how many students applied for a completely information-free posting. Maybe they'll land a great job. You don't need to protect them from anything, and you don't need to alert the authorities that some employers aren't very good at hiring. You don't need to apologize to them or to continue that conversation at all. (If you suddenly feel regret and want to apologize, go ahead, but not for any other reason.) You aren't going to "win" any argument with them, so stop having it. If you really wish you could apply there because jobs are thin on the ground, you could swallow your pride, apologize, and apply, but I doubt you have a chance to be hired now, so I wouldn't recommend it. And besides, it's pretty obvious this is a company you would not enjoy working for.

  • you can check usually check out a company name. Many countries now have the companies register online, and you can see the registration date, principal officers and address for free. Its easy to make up a company name, and trivial to create a simple website, but few people would register their company if it was a scam.
    – GuyM
    Dec 9, 2012 at 18:22

Is there any way to find out who posted the announcement? That may be a way to track down the source. Alternatively, you could investigate the mail address and see if that leads to any ideas as to what company is behind this.

If the announcement is on an informal bulletin board, I'd be cautious about applying as there can be scams where phony ads are posted and people just collect personal information for less than ethical reasons.

While I can imagine some companies wanting to have some anonymity in finding candidates, this does have a limit to my mind. Recruiting firms may place ads of qualifications and give very generic information about the company such as the sector and relative size so that applicants have some information.

  • E-Mail address doesn't direct me to anywhere, I've already googled it a lot. I'm suspicious of being a scam but I don't know if this kind of announcements are common in recruiting process. BTW, all bulletin boards are informal and open to anyone here in my department. Jun 5, 2012 at 16:15
  • 1
    How exactly can you be scammed? Your mailing address is already known by dozens of people, your phone number is known by hundreds of people, your email address is known by millions of people. With that said based on the response you got I would just ignore it. What are they going to do not hire you?
    – Donald
    Jun 6, 2012 at 11:18
  • @Ramhound, identity theft is where I'd be concerned as after getting the CV they may ask for other personal ID like a social security number or other information that may be used to open fraudulent accounts in one's name.
    – JB King
    Jun 6, 2012 at 17:53
  • Well, just don't give those IF they ask then, no? Jun 13, 2012 at 16:12
  • @Ramhound - Immigration fraud is one key area where "CV harvesting" comes to light; its common to check back with degree providers as a reference, but with a "real" name this check woudl clear: For example : nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10835563
    – GuyM
    Dec 9, 2012 at 19:32

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