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The Unknown Company

Career Exploration The Local Job Market Interviewing Strategies


I keep running into job leads that don’t specify the name of the company. I know how important company research is, and I don’t mind doing it. But how can I research a company that won’t tell me its name?


Good question! Of course you want to research the company. The more you know, the better off you are.
Some companies fear that candidates will randomly drop by at inconvenient times. Others want to hide their hiring efforts from the competition, in case they are expanding. If there is a shortage of available candidates in the desired field, that’s another reason to keep a company’s information quiet.
It could be that they are planning to let go of a current employee, and don’t want that person to see his/her own job listed as being open. It’s sad, but it happens.
Liz Ryan, of, suggests picking out an unusual phrase from the job lead, one that describes the company. Then Google that phrase with quotation marks around it: e.g., “a leading source for reliable business news and financial information” would lead you to Forbes magazine, where Ryan published this advice. With any luck, that Google search will lead you to the company that posted the job lead.
But while you’re at it, ask yourself why the company wouldn’t want to identify itself. Maybe they’re afraid of being inundated with resumes. Or maybe it’s the opposite problem: they don’t have a very good reputation and are afraid they won’t get any resumes. Possibly it’s a scam, or a well-disguised undesirable job.
You’re wise to do your due diligence. It will serve you well, now and in the future.

About the Author

Beth Davis-Reinhold

Beth Davis-Reinhold is an instructor at Frederick County Workforce Services, where she has worked for over 20 years. She teaches job search seminars and basic computer skills. She is a Certified Professional Resume Writer, and is Internet and Computing Core Certified (IC3). Beth has been a member of Toastmasters International for more than 15 years, and is an Advanced Communicator Silver. A graduate of Elizabethtown College in Pennsylvania, Beth has also studied American Sign Language for many years. In addition to many sundry projects for FCWS, Beth writes its “Ask the Career Coach” blog.