You’ve heard of the Hidden Job Market. But what is it exactly and how do you find it?
The Hidden Job Market simply refers to jobs that don’t exist yet (because no one knew they needed someone like you) or jobs only known to a hiring manager because they haven’t reached HR yet.
Why does the Hidden Job Market exist?
The foundation of the Hidden Job Market is that businesses have problems and they need to find people that can solve those problems. The majority of the time, businesses don’t have a lot of warning a problem is on the horizon. So when problems do arise they want to solve them quickly.
The first way they try to solve the problem is to reach out to their network to see if anyone might be able to help or recommend someone that can. They are not posting a job description on Indeed – at least not immediately.
It can take anywhere from 30-90 days for an open position to go through all the internal red tape and get approved before it finally appears on LinkedIn or Indeed.
In that time, the hiring manager and their team know about the opening and are tapping their network.
The main reason employers don’t like to post jobs is the cost and pain. It’s way easier companies to rely on their own networks and have employees refer friends or family. Plus, referrals are a better source of hire. According to Jobvite, candidates sourced from referrals are 5x more effective.
Good companies pay referral bonuses for this reason. It’s cheaper than posting an ad. So remember that when you’re networking.
Best ways to tap the Hidden Job Market
Sometimes businesses may not even be aware of the problem until someone asks the right question. This is your opportunity.
When you are networking and meeting people, ask them about their biggest challenges or what keeps them up at night. If their answers include problems that you know you can solve, then you can start to position yourself as the solution.
Don’t complain that you have a small network. Your network is likely bigger than you think. Start with who you know, including your accountant, hairdresser and old buddy from college. Turn them into advocates by communicating what you need clearly and succinctly.
Then make it easy for them to help you. You can write an intro blurb on their behalf so they don’t have to think about what to say when they email a connection of theirs to make an introduction.
Be specific about what you want from them. No more blasting emails to everyone you know asking them to “keep you in mind.” That just doesn’t work and it makes you look desperate. People will not do work on your behalf because they are too busy.
Figure out who you would like to know and see how you might be connected to those people. Tap into whoever might be able to make introductions to employees at your target companies. And never ever ask for a job.
Also read: 4 Ways to Provide Value to Your Contacts While Networking | Networking for Success Series
Always be connecting
Regardless if you are in search or not, you need to be nurturing your network. This builds what I call your “do you know anyone who” factor.
When people start looking to fill unposted positions, they start by asking their network “Do you know anyone who can ______?” Make sure your contacts know what it is that you do best, so they can answer with your name when it’s appropriate.
You also need to give back to your network. Help others in need of introductions and they will return the favor when you need it.
The biggest regret I hear from job seekers who suddenly find themselves with a pink slip is that they didn’t keep up their network.
Your reputation and relationships are key to uncovering the Hidden Job Market. Go forth and unlock those hidden opportunities!