Is a Confidential Job Posting Harming Your Company’s Reputation?

As a business owner, thought should be given to posting your open positions ‘confidentially’ online, whether you are doing it yourself or a member of your team. 

On a recent LinkedIn post, I asked if job seekers would apply to a position they found online, that they thought was a good fit for them, if the COMPANY was listed as confidential.  The response was interesting, and not overwhelmingly leaning one way.  

Most of the yes responses had some criteria before they would apply:

  • The posting must include additional information such as compensation range, job duties, descriptions of culture and benefits
  • Some would apply, but would not give out any personal info AT ALL, until they could research the company in detail
  • Some understood the nature of the confidentiality could be because of an internal change the company didn’t want the employees learning about yet (major player retiring, for example), or a big deal going down that could be upset by the posting, have already looked at internal candidates and want to go outside for additional choices. Business reasons.

The no responses were much more specific:

  • Most said it was clearly a scam
  • Red flags, including unceremoniously terminating someone for all the wrong reasons and they want no part of it
  • Something to hide
  • Company fishing for competitive businesses’ info
  • Clearly human trafficking since no contact info was given
  • Candidates don’t have the ability to apply anonymously, so why should the company be able to?

There were a few comments about companies using a third party recruiter instead of going the ‘confidential’ route.  This brings up an interesting point, and one that wasn’t even in my thought process when making the post.  Candidates are more willing to apply through a recruiter than they are a direct post (presumably) if it’s listed as confidential.  Granted, some people refuse to apply to recruiter posts as well, so it’s really a toss up.

Main take away from just about every comment was that transparency is key.  The more info you share in your job postings, the more likely really good candidates are going to apply.  The more good candidates apply, the more likely you are to find someone who solves the problem you currently have.  The info candidates are looking for are compensation, job duties, benefits and location.  Culture is further down the list (who really describes their own culture accurately anyway?!).

Share as much info as you can. Right the ship internally before venturing into rougher waters with a confidential search.  Be transparent.  Use resources available to you.  If candidates think you’re hiding something, you could be missing out.  Set your search up for success. 

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