What’s the Deal with Recruiters on LinkedIn? A Guide for Job Seekers

Recruiter phone call

If you’ve ever received a LinkedIn message from a recruiter, the word “mysterious” might spring to mind. After all, they’re always so…read-between-the-lines. Here are two recent (and very real) snippets I received from a LinkedIn recruiter:

I wanted to reach out because I am in search of a freelance copywriter to work for a well-known contemporary apparel brand based in the Southern California.


And then there’s this:

Hope you’re having a great week! I’m working on filling an in-house Digital Marketing role at a cool beauty brand disrupting the industry. If you know anyone that may be interested in learning more, please send them my way.

Here is a thorough explainer on how recruiters work, what you should watch out for in a LinkedIn recruiter message (including how to tell if it’s legit!), why you should always respond quickly to messages, and the big one: why recruiters usually don’t tell you the company they’re working for.
In this article:


How LinkedIn Recruiting — or Email Recruiting — Works

Step 1: A Recruiter Reaches Out

The recruiters you encounter on LinkedIn are working for a company in one way or another. Either they’re recruiters working for a staffing agency that was hired to headhunt for a company (similar to what we do here at Star Staffing) or they’re part of an internal HR team at the company itself.

In general, recruiters will reach out on LinkedIn to you with some basic details about the job including whether it’s temp, part- or full-time, some job responsibilities, and maybe a salary range. What you might find strange is that it’s pretty uncommon for recruiters to share what company they’re working for. (More on that in a second.) That doesn’t mean they’re not legit.

Step 2: They Schedule Calls to Screen Candidates

Recruiters have really got one main goal in mind when they reach out on LinkedIn like this: Find a handful of qualified candidates and then set up phone screening interviews ASAP. These screening interviews typically only last 10-20 minutes. The questions they ask you are also bare bones — salary requirements, basic experience, a few more details on the job requirements and skills. The point is to narrow down the pool as quickly as possible, then move forward with a few candidates into a more standard job interview process.

Step 3: They Select Top Job Candidates to Share With the Person Hiring

Once the recruiter finds a few solid candidates in the right salary range, they’ll schedule a “real” job interview, which is to say, an interview between you and someone at the actual company that’s hiring — likely your potential supervisor. This is when the process becomes much more like the job interviews you’ve come to know and expect. In all likelihood, you won’t hear from the recruiter again until (hopefully!) you receive a job offer.

How to Respond to a Recruiter on LinkedIn

Even though they’re often vaguely worded, a recruiter’s LinkedIn message does usually give you enough to go on — if you get a little savvy.

Step 1: Dig a Little

You can look at the recruiter’s LinkedIn profile to see what she specializes in and the name of her company to see if they specialize in an industry that’s right for you. Then, you can Google the job recruitment agency to see if it’s actually near you—if so, chances are that the job opening will be, too. (If you’re in California, check out our listings at Star Staffing!)

Step 2: Read Any Details Carefully

Often (though not always) the recruiter will also give you details about the scope of the role—e.g. whether they’re hiring part or full-time, freelance, contract, in-house, open to remote. These are all important to consider before responding. If there’s anything that’s unclear, it’s OK to respond to the recruiter on LinkedIn and ask a couple of questions, but if the job sounds at all appealing, it might make the most sense to agree to the phone interview and save the questions for when you connect. Remember, recruiters are trying to move quickly, so a slow response time or back and forth can cause you to miss out on the hiring window.

Step 3: Don’t Worry If the Recruiter Doesn’t Share the Company Name

It seems strange that recruitment firms or job placement agencies won’t share company names. After all, if they’re reputable, they shouldn’t have anything to hide, right?

Not so fast. There are actually several good reasons why job recruitment agencies don’t provide company names—and why you may luck into a better position if you practice a little patience and say yes to a blind phone pre-screen. Read more Job Seeker blogs here.

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3 Reasons Recruiters Don’t Tell You the Company Name

1. They’re on a tight deadline.

As flattering as it is to receive a LinkedIn message or an email from job placement agencies near me, I always remind myself of one thing: this is the very beginning.

Typically, recruiters do some initial research to find appealing candidates that fit the requirements they’re after. Then, they’ll email alllllllllll those candidates to see if they’re open to opportunities. Some will answer, some won’t. Of those that do, a recruiter will then typically suggest a 15-or-so-minute phone interview.

All of this—the lack of details, the fast turn-around on interview scheduling—is in the interest of finding and hiring the ideal candidate as quickly as possible. Rather than taking the time to go into detail in emails, recruiters rely on setting up quick phone calls to immediately determine whether a candidate is serious about the opportunity (and is seriously a good fit).

The result? Less time wasted for them and for you. And the sooner the right candidate gets hired. After all, the companies they’re working for need that position filled, stat.

Pro tip: Oh, and in most cases, the recruiter will give you more information about the company (including the company name) on that call. So, in the end, you won’t have to wait long for that information after all.


2. A company is expanding/changing and not ready to go public about what they’re up to.

Sometimes, it’s purely about strategic confidentiality. Often, the company has asked the recruiting agency to keep mum for reasons to do with expansion or a change in staffing.

This happened to me recently. A recruiter for a well-known media platform reached out to talk to me about a possible position because they were gearing up to release a completely new digital product. They didn’t want the world to know what they were up to until they announced it as a Big Launch complete with a massive PR push. Had they publicly hired a bunch of roles for the new team, word would have gotten out.


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3. Job recruitment agencies get paid to free the company from the nitty-gritty.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve received emails from overly enthusiastic candidates who looked me up on LinkedIn and guessed, based on my title, that I was the person overseeing the hiring process on a job at my company. Usually, they’re wrong. Always, it’s a disruption from my day-to-day.

Companies hire job recruitment agencies or job placement agencies to avoid those disruptions. They also often give recruiters a clear idea of the type of candidate they need sourced to avoid an onslaught of ill-qualified applicants filling their inboxes. They’re paying both for curation and sparing their inboxes.

If a recruiter were to tell you that they’re hiring for, say, Outdoor Voices, and you decide to get a leg up on the competition by emailing the Director of Marketing there about the position—you’ve technically cut out the middleman, sure. But in all likelihood, you’re also not getting hired.

The Takeaway: It’s Totallly Fine if the Recruiter Doesn’t Tell You Who They’re Working For

Don’t assume that the mystery means a recruiter is up to something. It’s more likely that the company they’re working for is a big name than it is that you’ll be disappointed.

Instead, trust the process. And if you’re wondering why you’re not receiving emails from recruiters unannounced, you may just not be on their radar. Try searching for “job recruitment agencies near me” to find some options in your area (like Star Staffing if you’re Northern California!). On recruitment agency sites, there’s typically a Job Seekers section where you can sign-up for emails or contact the team to set up an informational phone call. Once they know you’re looking, they’ll likely come calling—without a company name—ASAP!  


With over 20 years in the staffing industry, Star Staffing has thrived as a top temporary staffing agency recognized multiple years by Forbes for our excellent service. Star Staffing supports multiple industries including food and wine, events and hospitality, warehouse and distribution, and more. As the economy heals, we look forward to maintaining our promise: We are here when you need us.

Star Staffing is a full-service workforce solutions firm. We focus on making the best match between employee and employer. With offices throughout Northern California including Sacramento, Fairfield, Napa, Petaluma, Lodi, and Santa Rosa, Star Staffing is just a phone call or click away.


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