Dear Matt: Why do employers post blind job ads, meaning, they post the job information but not the company? What do they gain from this and how can we know it's a company we'd even want to work for since we don't know what company it is?

Matt: There are many reasons for this, says Marni Hockenberg of Hockenberg Search (, a Twin Cities-based executive search, recruiting and human resources consulting firm.

In some cases a company plans to terminate a person but wants to find a replacement first. This is called a "confidential" job opening. Or they want to build a pool of candidates for the future. They may not have an opening but could have plans for expansion. In this instance they are not ready to hire and don't want applicants calling the company and inquiring about the job. With a large number of candidates looking for jobs, a company may also place a blind ad to avoid being contacted by applicants who are following up after sending a résumé, says Hockenberg.

In addition, some staffing firms and recruiters place blind ads to build their pool of candidates in their database.

"This is not a practice that is looked upon kindly by ethical staffing firms and recruiters - it can result in your résumé being shopped around town without your knowledge," says Hockenberg.

If you're currently employed but searching for a job, Hockenberg recommends proceeding with caution when responding to a blind ad, it could be your boss/company that is advertising and if you submit your résumé, he or she will know you're looking for a new job, she says. Be cautious of doing this during business hours because if it is your current company they will know you are spending company time searching/applying for jobs.

Keep in mind that there is a strategy involved in the hiring process and employers who place a blind ad are likely doing so for a reason. They may not want competitors, or even their own employees, to know they are hiring. In these cases, posting a blind ad may be the most effective and efficient method for their short and long-term business needs.

The bottom line is this: Employers need to protect themselves and their business. A blind ad might not show the company, but it shows opportunity - and if it's an opportunity you want to pursue, proceed as you normally would when applying for a job. And if you're a fit and there is interest, you'll eventually find out which company it is.

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