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What Is a Blind Ad?

By Lori Kilchermann
Updated May 16, 2024
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Blind ads are an option used to maintain anonymity for the person or company placing the ad. A blind ad does not include the name or address of the company or person placing the ad and is typically used in newspaper and online help-wanted or position-wanted advertisements. Whether an employer is seeking to fill a position or a worker is seeking to secure a position, blind ads can offer a sense of privacy that may be needed for a variety of reasons.

When a company is posed to eliminate a staffer in a key position, it may be necessary to find a replacement before the person in the role is actually let go. To avoid any hard feelings or negative impact, a blind ad can generate applicants without making it known what company is really doing the hiring. After the interviews are conducted, it is typically necessary to reveal the name of the company in order to make an employment offer to a candidate, but the offer can be contingent upon confidentiality.

When a company is considering creating a new position, running a blind ad allows evaluation of the potential candidates and their expertise. Whether or not the company actually decided to create and fill the position can be based, in part, on the pool of applicants seeking the position. The blind ad allows the company to remain anonymous in the event it decides not to fill the position

Workers looking for a position in a particular field may place a blind ad in order to test the job market. The blind ad allows a worker to test the employment market without risking offending his or her current employer. The blind ad enables the worker to remain anonymous and receive job offers from potential employers.

In order to allow communication between the party placing the ad and the respondents, a post office box number or telephone number is typically used. When a blind ad is placed with a newspaper, the replies are generally sent to the paper, which in turn, forwards them to the company or person who placed the ad. This process maintains the confidentiality of the process.

By law, some classified advertisers may not use the blind ad process. In the United States, real estate agents are typically prohibited from placing blind ads. Agents are typically licensed by the state, and are thereby required to disclose their licensing information when they advertise property.

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Discussion Comments
By shell4life — On Aug 05, 2011

@Perdido - What an embarrassing coincidence! I had sort of a reverse situation happen to me. I manage a bowling alley, and I had one employee who always showed up late and worked at a very slow pace. I knew I needed to let him go, but if I did, I would have been understaffed. So, I ran a blind ad for a cashier/janitor/concession stand manager, all parts of his job.

When I went to the newspaper to pick up the resumes, my slow employee’s was in the stack. I decided that since he obviously was unhappy at his job, I didn’t have to feel bad for letting him go. I found his replacement first, and then I told him the news. He took it very well. I never told him that I got his resume, or that he was being replaced.

By Perdido — On Aug 04, 2011

Dissatisfied with my job at an advertising agency, I had been looking through the classifieds for something else. The main reason I was unhappy was that my partner got lazy and I ended up overworked. The boss knew this, and he had talked with my partner on several occasions, but it seemed that nothing would ever change.

I found a blind ad for a graphic designer that simply listed an address to send a resume to, and I decided to go for it. About five days later, my boss called me into his office and told me to shut the door and sit down.

He passed a sheet of paper across his desk to me and said, “I got this in the mail today.” It was my resume! It turns out that they were looking on the sly to replace my lazy partner.

By OeKc05 — On Aug 04, 2011

I work in the advertising department of a newspaper. The bosses were at their wit’s end with a certain sales representative, but before they fired her, they wanted to have a replacement ready. So, they ran a blind ad in their own newspaper.

The ad did not mention that the job was at a newspaper, since we are one of only three within a 50 mile radius. It simply stated that a sales rep was needed to sell ads and maintain good customer relations.

The P.O. box listed was that of our newspaper, but that is common with blind ads, so no one suspected anything. They could not give an email address or phone number, because that would have tipped off the girl they were ready to fire.

By wavy58 — On Aug 04, 2011

I answered a blind ad once in the online classified section of my local newspaper. It gave a random email address for inquiries. The ad simply stated, “Work from home.”

Once I emailed the contact, they sent me a long advertisement about how wonderful my life could be and how I could make $5,000 a month selling great products from the comfort of my home. However, nowhere in the advertisement did they specify what these products were or how I was to sell them. To receive a more in-depth information packet, I needed to send them $100.

This type of blind ad provided identity protection to a scammer. I know that a large number of employment blind ads are legitimate, but it’s best to be alert to potential rip-offs.

By sunshine31 — On Aug 03, 2011

@Sneakerss41 - That makes sense. I have to say that I see blind advertisements for writer opportunities all the time and I am not always sure that I should apply because not knowing the name of the company as an applicant makes me a little uncomfortable.

I wonder if it is a scam or not which is why I never respond to blind advertisements. Maybe I miss out on opportunities, but I never get ripped off either.

By sneakers41 — On Aug 02, 2011

I remember when I used to work in the staffing industry we would always try to call on companies that placed employment ads in the newspaper because these were sources of leads for us.

Some companies didn’t mind us calling, but other did which is why they placed blind employment ads. They did not want applicants calling the human resources departments of their companies, but they also did not want staffing company recruiters calling either.

Whenever my staffing firm placed an ad in the newspaper it was always sort of a blind ad because we never let the applicant know the name of the company until they had an appointment set to interview with our client because if not they would go to the company directly and cut us out of the equation.

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