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Blind Ads: To Apply or Not to Apply?

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by Lisa Johnson

almost 3 years ago

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This morning, I had an email from a reader of our blog, who had a question about applying for jobs when there are no contact details or information about the company on the advertisement. Essentially, he wanted to know, 'Should you bother applying for a job when there are no contact details or employer information detailed in the advertisement?' He then kindly sent me an example of a 'blind advertisement', a SEEK listing for an accounts payable officer.  There was no branding and, as he outlined in his email, no contact details. So let's start by considering who would post a blind ad, where there are no employer or contact details. Blind advertisements are most commonly posted by recruitment agencies.  The reason this is done is to protect the client's identity. One of the main reasons a recruitment process is outsourced is to maintain some 'commercial in confidence'. There could be a tricky situation where a position is being recruited while there is still an incumbent in the role!  In addition, as a recruitment agency, we want to ensure that our competitors are not reading our ads and then picking up the phone to try to obtain the brief.  I am not going to apologise for that; we are in business, after all. Most recruitment companies do brand their advertisements, though.  If you find a job that people2people has advertised on SEEK or Indeed, there is no secret that it us who has posted the ad.  We do that so you, the applicant, know that we recruit the kinds of roles you are interested in and so that clients can see that we advertise similar roles to vacancies that they may have.  

It would be a very rare day indeed when a client would want us to advertise a role without our branding. 

Blind Ads: To Apply or Not to Apply?

Therefore, a blind ad with no branding is most likely posted directly by the employer OR by a very small recruitment business who has not invested in branded templates.  I would lean toward the employer on this one, though; even a brand new recruitment company operated by one person is more than likely to have a logo on their ad somewhere. So why would an employer post a blind ad?  

Maybe they just don't have the resources to manage a large number of applicants and think they can make their lives easier by ensuring the candidates have no idea who to call to follow up on their application. Potentially, they may have thought they were being clever, but it's a huge mistake for an employer to run a blind ad themselves.  It will put good candidates off. Why? Well, if a recruiter runs a blind ad and you apply for it, and if you have the right skills for the job, they are going to call you, and, at some point (usually when you meet the recruiter face to face), they are going to tell you who the employer is.  

And, as this conversation is confidential, you can decide not to proceed with the application based on the information about the employer. There are lots of reasons a candidate might choose not to proceed with an application – they may have worked with the hiring manager before and loathe him or her, they might decide that they don't want to work with certain businesses or industries, or they might not like the location of the business. So a client who advertises blindly will find that suitable candidates are simply too scared to apply.  

For example, if the candidate has specific industry experience and the job is clearly in the same industry, the candidate is likely to have strong views on who they do and don't want to work for.  In this situation, the blind ad effectively stymies the candidate, and they are likely to skip applying – which may be a terrible outcome for the employer, as they could have been the best candidate for the role. The other thing that applicants may think of is: what if this job is with my current employer?  

There is nothing MORE humiliating than applying for a blind ad, only to get a call from HR because your application has come through to them, the stuff of nightmares. Having said all of that, though, if you, as a job seeker, do not have any specific concerns relating to industry or employer, then there is no reason for you not to apply.

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