However, sometimes the process doesn’t play out the way it should.
Here’s a scenario you may have had with a recruiter:
The recruiter calls you up out of the blue and after a quick discussion, he or she determines you are a perfect candidate for their client’s open position, and asks if you agree, based on the job description. You agree, and they say they will submit you to the client.
One problem, you don’t know who the client is. So you ask. The recruiter tells you they’ll get back to you on that after they’ve talked to the client.
At this point you may wonder, why all the secrecy?
Because some recruiters fear that - if they tell you the company name - you will immediately apply on your own in an attempt to work around the recruiter. After all, are you positive your resume will be submitted to this employer?
The lack of trust in both directions can be debilitating in this process.
Why You Should Know the Employer's Name.
Recruiters should share with you where they are submitting your resume for several reasons:
- You should have a say in who receives your resume. After researching the hiring company, you may decide you don’t want to work for them.
- You may have worked for or with the hiring company before. It may not be on your resume because it was a vendor or client, so the recruiter wouldn’t know if you have some history with them.
- You do not want to be double-submitted. If another recruiter has recently submitted you, you don’t want to be submitted again. This confusion over who "owns the candidate" can become an issue with the hiring company, and they may drop you altogether to avoid the issue.
- You may have applied on your own already. Or have a friend who’s already put your name in. Again, to avoid an issue of whether or not the recruiter earned a commission, the original submitter should be the only submitter of your resume.
If the recruiter is not sharing the identity of the company, you need to decide if there are risks mentioned above. If you think there could be a problem, you need to state you will not allow them to submit you without this information.
With this in mind, do realize there are a few unique circumstances where you may not get to know the hiring company’s name right away.
Sometimes the hiring company does not want to advertise that they are looking for a candidate. In this case, they may ask the recruiter to only discuss the company generically (mostly the position and some on the company environment/products/services). After the hiring company has determined they would like to meet the candidate, the recruiter can provide more detail on the company.
Under these circumstances, it is unlikely there will be a double-submit situation since the recruiter is probably the only one working on the job opening (and you didn’t apply already). You still have the option to not accept the interview after being asked since you didn’t know the company name in the first conversation with the recruiter. Hopefully, the recruiter gave you enough information to at least know if you’d like the role they are offering before talking to their client about you.
By the way, it is very poor judgment to share the company name with others if the company is conducting a confidential search. It creates a broken trust between you and recruiter, which could hurt your chances for future consideration for other job openings down the road.
Additional Screening Required
In some instances, the recruiter may not feel comfortable sharing the company name until they have learned a little more about you through additional screening. This may take the form of an in-person interview, a test, or a questionnaire.
Since you will not be submitted until after this step is completed, there is no harm in going a little further in the process. Once you are deemed a qualified candidate, the recruiter should be able to share more details before submitting you.
One thing to keep in mind: recruiters need to know you are qualified before they tell you the company’s name. Sometimes candidates ask me right away who it is, and I have to tell them we’ll get to that shortly, but first let’s talk about the position and you.
Unfortunately, this comes back to the trust issue. Picture this scenario.
The recruiter shares who the company is right away. After the initial screening conversation, the candidate is deemed to be a poor fit for the job. The candidate immediately tells all their colleagues that this company is hiring. They all apply, and one of them gets the job. Because the recruiter didn't refer the successful applicant, the recruiter is out of luck, and doesn’t get paid for the project.
This is always a risk, but if the candidate is not qualified and will not be submitted, there really is no reason for the recruiter to increase their risk of losing the opportunity.
The Bottom Line
Typically the process is simple. If the recruiter did their homework upfront, they will likely submit the candidate and will share the company name during the first or second discussion (before submitting the resume). If they don’t, move forward cautiously.
© Copyright, 2011, Jeff Lipschultz. All rights reserved. Used with Permission.
Job-Hunt's Working with Recruiters Expert Jeff Lipschultz is a 20+ year veteran in management, hiring, and recruiting of all types of business and technical professionals. He has worked in industries ranging from telecom to transportation to dotcom. Jeff is a founding partner of A-List Solutions, a Dallas-based recruiting and employment consulting company. He is a unique recruiter, a Six Sigma Blackbelt, and a founding member of the Dallas chapter of the Peter Drucker Society. Learn more about him through his company site AListSolutions.com and his personal blog. And follow Jeff on Twitter.com/JLipschultz.