Not including referral candidates, every candidate who comes through your pipeline starts in the same place: your job description. Job descriptions are the very first thing a candidate sees. It’s the hook that pulls them in, gets them to apply, and kickstarts the entire recruiting process. And, as they say, first impressions are everything.

With such weight placed on job descriptions, there’s always pressure to make them attention-grabbing and engaging. If you check a few of our job descriptions, you’ll find a certain panache that pulls candidates in and leaves an impression. But this post isn’t about what we do put in our job descriptions—it’s about what we leave out.

When sitting down to write a job description, there’s probably 5 things you think to include:

  1. Job title
  2. Intro paragraph to give a little more insight into the job
  3. List of job duties/responsibilities/tasks
  4. List of requirements for the position
  5. The company you’re recruiting the position for

You might be thinking proudly, I *do* include all of these in the job postings I use to recruit candidates! But if you take a second look at our aforementioned job postings, you’ll see that this list includes one thing we always leave out when given the opportunity: the company we’re recruiting the position for.

I can see the furrowed brows and hear the confused muttering already. In fact, I felt that furrowed brow and heard the confused muttering from myself. When I joined Kinetix and started writing our job descriptions, with the explicit instruction to never put a company name in the posting, I was bewildered. In fact, of all the eccentric qualities our job descriptions have, this was the one that I could not understand off the bat.

In all actuality, the meaning behind the madness is pretty simple. Here are the two reasons we don’t use company names in our job descriptions, and why you shouldn’t either:

There’s no – “You want me to work for WHO?!”

This is the crux of the reasoning.

When you’re a recruiting agency, there’s plenty of diverse clients you’re hiring candidates for, but we would recommend putting them all under your name until you get the candidates applying and talking to recruiters.

As I mentioned, job descriptions are a first impression and first impressions are everything. If a candidate sees a company name, there’s one of two thoughts that are going to go through their head:

“Oh it’s a position at Company X? That’s definitely someone I would work for!”

OR

“Oh…it’s a position at Company X? I don’t think I would work for them.”

While it seems obvious that a candidate wouldn’t want to work for Company X anymore down the pipeline than they would if they knew the company off the bat, you’d be wrong in many circumstances. Take this hypothetical for instance: a candidate is going into IT, and they only have IT companies in mind. However, there are hundreds of companies who need IT in the background, even if they are not themselves an IT company. Candidates tend to think big, in terms of companies they could work at, not departments they could work in. By keeping the company name under wraps, you take the candidates preconceptions about company v. department out of the equation and sell just the position—a position they may be the perfect fit for but they wouldn’t ever give the chance.

Sure, you’ll still have some candidates who find out the company and refuse to ever work there; but the odds of that are slim, and you’re doing yourself a favor by keeping the door open for candidates who could start off close minded.

Not to mention, the mystery adds its own perks…

But there is – “I wonder who I could be working for…”

With no company to go off of, the candidate is only focusing on the job duties and job requirements—which, as a recruiter, you know is the important stuff for intake calls. Adding a layer of mystery might even be getting you more applicants than normal because now you have the candidate’s interest. They want to apply just so they can see who the position is with.

While the candidate is wondering, you’re able to build your case of why the job position is such a great fit before revealing the company name. This leaves the candidate intrigued and coming back for more.

Of course, there are going to be exceptions to excluding the company name from job postings. If you’re an in-house recruiter, you don’t have much choice but to include the name. And of course, some companies might be so great to work for, it would be crazy to not put the name (then again, excluding the name could be a way to narrow the top of your funnel if that’s a problem for you).

There’s undoubtedly a case for excluding the name, and our steady pipelines tell that tale. Not to mention, most candidates who come through sing praises of the job postings and rarely have qualms about not knowing the company upfront—rather, they’re engaged and asking the exact question as the one above.

Kate Weimer

Kate Weimer is a Marketing Lead at Kinetix, specializing in social media recruitment marketing and account management. Using a combination of her background in social media and love for the written word, she’s shoving all buzzwords aside and making HR and recruitment marketing work in today's digital world. Want to hang? Hit her up on Twitter or LinkedIn , or contact her via email.