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A blog I wrote recently was tagged in a response to a LinkedIn post from a job seeker. This job seeker had eloquently bullet-pointed some observations made during their recent job hunt. In the most part, it was a good post, and the sort of thing that gains real traction with the LinkedIn algorithm Gods. It was however written by a job seeker. And like the times I tell my plumber how to install a shower and my mechanic how to replace my brake pads, there was a small level of understandable naivety on one point. And that point was this:

 – special shout out to the recruitment consultants who don’t name the company who is hiring, or even worse don’t even mention the industry…you are just wasting everyone’s time

Of course, this opinion is not unique, especially on LinkedIn. And if you were to stop the average man/woman/they on the street, they’d also tell you the same. In fact, the traditional world of advertising is all about the brand. Imagine a tampon advert that doesn’t tell you that it is only Tampax that gives women the confidence to rollerblade in white spandex shorts. However, in the most part, it is not a good idea for a recruitment agency to name the client, at least not on the job ad. And here’s why.

It doesn’t help the client. Very strange indeed, but typically it really doesn’t. If I put a client’s name on a job ad, other recruiters will read the ad and either call, or send a never ending stream of CVs directly to the client. These calls will become tiresome, and the CVs will come from those who actually haven’t been briefed on the role. They will also come from firms who have not signed terms with the client, and this will upset procurement, finance, and HR. The calls will come thick and fast with every recruiter wanting a coffee with the hiring manager. This is good for All Press and Supreme, but does not represent the height of professional productivity. The client also gets disregarded by good candidates. Not every brand has a stellar reputation and not every reputation is currently valid. A firm that was crap 10 years ago but excellent today is probably still perceived as crap. Such is the nature of reputation. If we were to tell you the firm’s name from the start, you wouldn’t apply, and us recruiters will never get the chance to explain how things have changed.

It also doesn’t help the candidate. Again, this is counter-intuitive. After all, as our job seeker highlighted, you don’t want to waste your time right? This does however infer that you have an omnipotent knowledge of the nuances of every firm. And alas, you don’t. I speak with some experience when I say that some of the best placements I’ve ever made have been with firms that the candidate has said they’d never work for. I’m currently working with a firm who once tried to take me to court based on a blog I wrote about them. I have spent the last decade bad mouthing them and telling everyone who would listen that I’d never recruit for them. They now have a new CEO and management team, and are fast becoming my favourite client. Had the CEO not met with me and explained what is now happening, they’d still be blacklisted. If we put the client’s name on every ad, a lot of you wouldn’t apply to a job that could be your forever home. If you’re a job seeker not open to the idea of having your opinion changed then don’t claim to be truly seeking a job.

It doesn’t help the recruiter. And this is what I find interesting. It is easy for job seekers who are feeling ignored to forget this, but good recruiters, making lots of placements, and earning good money, are an absolute Godsend to those looking for a role. If I were to put the client’s name on every ad I wrote, a number of things would happen. Firstly, some candidates would call the client directly. Thinking their candidature would have more chance of success without a fee attached, they’d reach out to the hiring manager on LinkedIn or via email. The problem is, the hiring manager doesn’t want this – that’s why they used an agency. Secondly, the candidate is going in hot and blind straight  to the decision maker. They don’t have a recruiter explaining the role, what they’re looking for, what the manager is like. You are missing out on lots of valuable (and free) advice. The other thing that happens when we name the client, is other recruiters start sending CVs to the client in the hope of sneaking in a fee. If I am working a role diligently and some random agency makes the money on a lucky float, then I’m out of pocket. But Sean, surely this means you’d also be able to make money by flicking CVs into other agency’s roles yourself? Well potentially I could. However, flicking CVs to all and sundry does not represent a good service to clients and candidates. So if we encourage this, we will see the number of poor quality recruiters increase, at the expense of quality operators. And isn’t that what job seekers are complaining about in the first place?

Anyway, let me know your thoughts. And if you enjoy controversial views on recruitment, head along to the RicePowWow where Jason Walker will try and convince me that giving away equity in a recruitment firm is a good idea. Get in quick though, as we’ve never seen tickets snapped up so rapidly. Tickets available here.