What Company Is Interviewing Me?

“What’s the company name?”

This question inevitably comes up in the first few email exchanges between recruiter and candidate, or within the first moments of a phone call. Understand that a recruiter may not be able to tell you the hiring company’s name right up front.

Why not?

Many searches are confidential at the request of the client. This doesn’t mean it’s not a real position, it means that for any of a variety of reasons, the hiring firm doesn’t want it generally known that they’re in the market for new talent. They may want to keep the search from the ears of competitors for as long as possible, or they may need to be sensitive to someone currently holding the position in question.

In most cases, a reputable recruiter will be willing to share the firm’s identity once you’ve committed to an initial conversation of about 15 minutes. That allows both parties to share information, understand whether there’s a good fit between candidate and position, and demonstrate that they’re serious about the transaction. At that point, the blinders can come off.

And sometimes there is no specific company or opening; a recruiter may be working just to keep good candidates in the pipeline for a type of position they fill regularly. If that’s the case, they should let you know right up front. Don’t balk at that either. If they’re taking time to interview you, there’s a good chance they’ll have opportunities in the very near future.