Confidential Searches - How do you interest passive candidates when you can't say who your client is...

Lately I've been getting some confidential searches and I've been asked not to let the candidate know who my client is until the client has indicated interest in meeting with the candidate.

Candidates who are not in the active job market are not thrilled about submitting a resume when they don't know where it's going to go.  

I feel like I need some better angle on how to get around this.  One client is a well known and impressive brand so it's easier.  The other is a small firm in a small town outside of Philadelphia.  


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Ha!  Aint that the truth!

Interesting. I have confidentiality agreements with all my clients. If you tell a candidate who the company is, what's to stop them from applying to said company directly, therefore, no commish for you! I explain to my candidate that the company is kept confidential until we have an interview request. I've actually never had a candidate that had a problem with it.

Sometimes it MUST remain confidential. It could be a replacement, a  re-organization is about to happen, etc. I had a confidential search once, and the damn recruiting firm advertised the job (not our name) with soo much detail that anyone in that profession was able to figure out my company. We were about to do a massive lay-off and re-org and s**t hit the fan. Of course, we never worked with that agency again.

Jerry Albright said:

I don't think I'd be able to agree to that with the client. 


Asking a professional to allow his resume to be submitted and considered for a role with a company is a big question.  I don't think it's fair to them to expect the company to know their name, but not have the same in return.


If my client expected this level of confidentialilty I would also suggest that they share the same confidentiality from the other side - and send candidates in without any name, address or other specific info.  That would be fair.


Having that agreement from the client should help you persuade your candidate to explore it - as they would be kept confidential as well.

But my main focus would be to understand why the client needs this degree of confidentiality.  Maybe they're replacing someone.....or perhaps they have had quite a few hack recruiters blab their name so much it gives the talent pool the idea that somethings wrong.  I guess there are lots of reasons for them to ask this of you.


I'd prefer that once I've identified a candidate that is interested I let them know where there resume is going.  It's the professional thing to do.

As a rec-to-rec I have this major concern as everybody wants to know about the client and so they should, but a thought always crosses my minded. Whats to stop the candidate falling out of interest and then telling a colleague or a friend that this XYZ firm is looking to hire XYZ Roles. We operate under strict confidentiality rules for both candidate and client sides, therefore we don't send out any resumes with out informing the candidate and do not share the clients company information without informing them of the candidate. Which shows that both parties must be interested in stepping up a meeting. In order for this to be successful you got to really get a real understanding about your candidate and know where their personality/culture would fit best. 

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