Solve the Puzzle of the Hidden Job Market
I remember reading the Nancy Drew books, as a young girl, and was fascinated when I learned the “Secret of the Hidden Door” and other mysteries. If you are a job seeker, one of the biggest mysteries of our time is the Hidden Job Market.
It is estimated that 80% of job openings are not posted. This is called the hidden job market. As frustrating as it is, there are legitimate reasons why so many positions are not advertised on job boards or publicly . Your job is to understand why and know where you can find them.
Let’s Start with Why
There are many reasons why an organization may not advertise a position. Here are some:
- The position is not yet budgeted or approved
- Due to pending mergers, reorganizations or acquisitions, an official announcement of an opening would be premature
- The employer is replacing someone currently in the position and whose departure has not been finalized
- A variety of reasons may require a confidential search
The most common reason, though, is SHEER VOLUME. Posting a position on a major job board
often results in thousands of applications. That requires recruiters to review them to determine a manageable number to interview. As a solution, most companies choose to “reverse the process” by mining the internet for the perfect candidates. It is much easier for employers to search online vs. wading through hundreds and thousands of resumes. (http://www.brazencareerist.com/blog/2015/02/24/6-innovative-ways-recruiters-can-attract-passive-candidates/ Recruiters can search and screen (the industry calls this “sourcing”) social media platforms such as Linked In and Facebook by using keywords.
If your dream job won’t be posted, how will you find it?
- A strong online presence is not optional. Almost 90% of recruiters google job candidates, sometimes before even reviewing their resumes.
- Your Career Brand must be consistent across all social media platforms and the same consistent keywords must back up your resume.
Other than the job boards, Where to find the jobs
- The media covers companies which are expanding or entering the market. Additionally, business journals and local newspaper business sections publicize lists of top employers and growing companies. Chambers of Commerce offices generally has this information too.
- Research Linked in by searching keywords, titles, companies, and location.
- Professional and industry specific organizations can be great resources.
- Company websites and their alumni associations (i.e. simply google “Microsoft alumni association”) are often overlooked.
- Local networking support groups are a great place to start.
- College and university alumni associations want to help students and alumni.
- People prefer to hire people they know or who have been referred to them.
- Focused networking is most effective.
- Target 10 – 20 companies you have researched and which are a good fit for you.
- Identify and network with recruiters and decision makers at each one.
- Request an informational interview to learn more about their positions.
- Connect with professionals, at your level or in your area of interest.
- Share best practices.
- They have access to internal openings that aren’t advertised outside.
- They may introduce you to hiring decision makers.
- Most employers highly prefer employee referrals.
- Consider contract or temporary assignments to get your foot in the door. In my last corporate role, our growth taxed our recruiting department and we selected to work with a staffing company as part of our selection strategy. Contract or temporary employment no longer has the stigma it once did and it is a great opportunity for you to experience an organization before making an employment commitment. Once working with a company, you will also have more opportunities to learn of permanent positions.
- Volunteering can lead to permanent positions when leveraging your new knowledge and skills. Volunteering is also a perfect way to break into a new industry. Done while you are still employed will provide you with inside information and experience to add to your resume as well as people who can help you make the transition.
The great thing about the hidden market is that you are one of fewer so your efforts will stand out more distinctly than simply applying to countless jobs and getting no results.