You’ve heard the term, The Hidden Job Market. But why does it exist and how can you tap into these hidden jobs?
The Hidden Job market refers to jobs that are available but haven’t been posted or advertised…yet. The opening may exist but the company may be looking internally or not posted it yet.
Why in the world would a company NOT advertise a job opening?
There could be several reasons:
- First, because the employer doesn’t want to be inundated with emails and phone calls and all the work associated with processing applications. Yes, applicant tracking systems have helped with some of this, but the process of filling a job is a royal pain for most organizations. So it is easier to distribute the opening internally and have employees help by referring their friends and/or family. This serves as a way of pre-vetting candidates.
- Another reason an organization may not publicize an opening is because they plan to replace someone but this employee doesn’t know they will be replaced/fired.
- And another reason is that they haven’t gotten around to it yet. They may not have the budget/funding for the role or may not know exactly what the requirements will be.
If you don’t like this of feel it isn’t fair, you should know, it’s been going on forever. When was the last time you saw a CEO job posted online?
How Jobs Get Filled
Here’s the iceberg analogy.
The visible part of the iceberg, the part above water, is much smaller than the section under the waterline, right?
The Hidden Job Market Is What You Don’t See
So when you think about the hidden job market, think about the jobs that are under water. The vast majority of jobs are promoted through word-of-mouth or through unadvertised channels.
Jobs in the hidden job market (under the water line) are advertised by managers among people they know, someone an employee knows or someone who comes referred.
You can learn more about why referrals are the best hiring method by reading 7 Things You Must Know About Getting Referred for a Job.
The Traditional Job Market
The visible portion of the iceberg represents the publicly posted/shared job listing and this is much smaller.
Think about all the ways a job is advertised:
- It can get posted on the company career page and shared through social media (free).
- It can be posted on job boards. (This can cost some big money, depending on the board.)
- 3rd party recruiters or employment services may be contacted to help fill the job, especially if the job requires special skills.
How long do you think the manager knew about the opening before going to HR?
And then how long did it take HR to begin publicizing/advertising the job? Weeks or months could go by without the job being promoted, and yet, it was available and people inside the organization knew about the vacancy.
Yes, some companies must post a job opening, however, that doesn’t mean they actually have to interview everyone who applies.
From the time the manager knew about the vacancy, he/she has probably been talking about the opening and previewing candidates who informally come forward.
This means that by the time the job is finally posted, a candidate may already been selected.
How To Tap Into The Hidden Job Market
The million dollar question is, how do you tap into this hidden job market? It should be clear to you by now.
In other words, you want to uncover the hidden jobs by talking with people who work inside companies where there may be an opening that hasn’t been advertised.
If you are not networked before, there’s just one rule you need to follow.
You never ask for a job.
You are gathering advice, information, and recommendations to help you make an informed career move.
Learn more about the rules of networking 5 Networking Tips To Help You Do It Better
Build A Target List
To tap into the hidden job market and network effectively, you need a list of companies you would like to work for or who could potentially hire you for the work you do.
Once you have this list, you will be able to ask your network for information or connections about those companies.
To learn more about building a target list, read this article: How To Find Target Companies.
So, you’ve begun networking- meeting all sorts of people but you aren’t getting any leads and it feels like a waste of time.
You need focus and you need a strategy to organize your networking efforts.
Start With Who You Know
First, identify everyone you know. Make a list. You can export your LinkedIn contacts to an Excel spreadsheet to get started. Here’s a resource to help you brainstorm all the different types of people you should be networking with. Read 10 Types of People To Network With.
Advance To Who You’d Like To Know
The next step is to find people who work inside your target list of companies.
LinkedIn is the obvious choice. See who you know who works in each of those companies. These are people will become valuable resources. They know about the company and will be the first to hear about new opportunities.
Nurture Your Network
It isn’t enough to meet someone once and expect they’ll remember you in a couple of weeks or months.
It is your responsibility to nurture your network and find ways to keep in touch once you’ve met them so they don’t forget about you.
Put Your Plan On Paper
You need a plan to guide your job search activities. Every new company or product uses a marketing plan. You should too.
Here’s why your job search needs focus:
- So that people you network with can help you and provide job leads that you are interested in.
- You can’t find a job if you don’t know what you are looking for.
- It will keep you motivated and proactively searching.
Learn how to create your marketing plan Your Marketing Plan
Looking for a tool to help you find jobs that may only be posted on a company’s career page?
LinkUp is a search engine for jobs it pulls from company websites, not the “boards”.
Hannah Morgan speaks and writes about job search and career strategies. She founded CareerSherpa.net to educate professionals on how to maneuver through today’s job search process. Hannah was nominated as a LinkedIn Top Voice in Job Search and Careers and is a regular contributor to US News & World Report. She has been quoted by media outlets, including Forbes, USA Today, Money Magazine, Huffington Post, as well as many other publications. She is also author of The Infographic Resume and co-author of Social Networking for Business Success.