Discover the Hidden Job Market

Discover the Hidden Job Market

We all know that many job opportunities are never listed publicly.  Some career experts say that 80 percent of openings are never advertised. Most businesses prefer to hire someone who has been referred to them by someone they trust. It’s a credible, reliable person they’ve either worked with in the past or have found through other connections.

A friend of mine recently changed his approach to interviewing and decided he’d give his knowledge away for free.  So he decided to figure out the pain points of a company and approach them with his viewpoint including solutions about gaps he could see. If he did not know someone there, he’d set up a call with one of their leaders through LinkedIn.  He did this by explaining his background and established credibility by citing something that recently occurred at the company and if they’ve experienced X.  That short note typically landed him a 20-minute phone call which led to additional conversations and relationships at that company.  He landed a “hidden job” by using this tactic because when people at the targeted company met him, they thought he had great ideas and he was able to illustrate his expertise.  Here are four ways to find the hidden job market:

  • Your Network is Your Net Worth:  Your best source of leads for these hidden jobs is your network, people you already know— friends, neighbors, relatives, former co-workers. Have you heard the saying that if you combine your five friend’s salaries and divide by 5, that is typically your salary as well?  It’s the “birds of a feather flock together” syndrome.  Being aware of the types of people in your inner circle is key.  If you feel like you may need to expand your network, taking a challenging class is one way to do that.  If everyone is working towards a similar goal, it’s a great way to build friendships, collaborate and get a referral. 
  • Your Pitch:  Have a 30-second pitch and a one-minute elevator pitch ready when talking to people about your desired position.  In it, include your background, accomplishments, and where you’re headed and why it makes sense - especially if it’s a career pivot. 
  • Make a List & Do the Research:  Make a list of potential employers and learn as much about them as you can. What are their needs and how can you fill them? Follow them on LinkedIn and follow their leadership team. If you’re not sure which company interests you or where to locate them, there are typically “Top Private Companies” lists or “Top Public Companies” in that city’s “Book of Lists” published by American City Business Journals.  Learn about a specific job lead, including the skills and prior experience the job requires.  Look at the job title in LinkedIn and research people who have the same title.  What kind of background does the individual have and how do they market themselves?  Could their career path be duplicated?  Was there a career pivot that made sense?  What certifications have they attained in the last few years? You’ll find interesting ideas from others when reading people’s profiles who are on a similar path or are where you’d like to be. 
  • Join a “Talent Community”:  Talent communities are online forums companies use to attract prospective job candidates. For example, both Adobe and Zappos have one.  It’s an opportunity for employers to start building a relationship with potential hires and for would-be applicants to let them know what they’re looking for in a candidate. When there are job openings, the employer has a pipeline of interested prospects.  Here are four reasons to be involved with a talent community:
  • Get a feel for the company culture: Companies use talent communities to share information about what it’s really like to work there. It illustrates their culture, core values, and work-life initiatives. 

    Learn more about the company and its jobs: Businesses share what’s happening in their company and share information about new product releases, business news as well as new job openings. 

    Interact with recruiters: Being active in a talent community gives you an opportunity to talk with recruiters and learn about the company’s hiring process in a low-risk environment. Sometimes, recruitment teams even host “Ask the Recruiter” webinars for their talent communities. 

    Build relationships and increase the likelihood of referrals: As we mentioned in the beginning of the article, getting a referral into a job greatly increases the odds of being hired and it’s the most important benefit of being involved in a talent community. By networking and actively participating in discussions with decision-makers and other employees, it will help to build relationships that may lead to job referrals.


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