The hidden job market is the term used to describe jobs that are available to be filled, but for one reason or another, the employer has chosen not to advertise them to the public. Leading industry surveys indicate the number of jobs not posted to the public range between 50-75%.
The higher level the position, the less likely it is to be publicly advertised. Why? Because these are often strategic, leadership positions that employers are cautious to post, either not to alert stakeholders, employees, or the public that the job is (or will soon) be available or because they want to invite only the highest quality candidates to apply and posting to a general job board attracts many unqualified candidates.
Other reasons employers keep jobs hidden
Expense. Posting jobs can be expensive, especially if an employer utilizes multiple platforms. Multiply that expense by repeated job openings, and the cost escalates quickly.
Employee referral programs. Employee referrals are a great tool for employers, because they reward employees for referring potential employees and those recommended tend to be of higher quality, leading to greater long-term success. Win-win!
Hiring from the inside. Promoting from within is a great way for companies to foster employee loyalty and retain their best talent so this is often a staffing strategy of choice. It also eliminates the need to post an open position publicly, which shortens the hiring cycle and saves money.
Third-party recruiter help. Recruiting firms are often utilized to source and vet candidates for positions that are not posted to the public. An employer pays for this service by placing the recruiting firm on retainer or paying them a percentage of the salary of the placed candidate. These recruiters streamline the sourcing and vetting process for the employer and present only the top candidates for hiring manager consideration, saving the employer time and money.
These reasons are why, overwhelmingly, networking remains the best way to uncover the type of roles that you seek and help you gain the support to place your candidacy above the rest.
Best tips to network your way into the hidden job market
Share your job search goals with your network. Your network includes friends, family, former coworkers or bosses, and recruiters. Be specific about what you want and how they can help.
Attend industry-related events where decision-makers are likely to be present. Do not expect to be passing around your resume at these events, but rather, strive to create a foundation of relationship building and communication, allowing you to doors to deeper conversations in the future.
Reach out to companies that are on your employer target list. Do this by following them on social media, signing up for their newsletters, and expressing your interest in joining their team. Ask for a conversation with a recruiter and request informational interviews with current employees to learn more and gain an advocate on the inside.
Develop relationships with recruiters. Reach out proactively and ask for a conversation to begin to establish a relationship and stay top of mind for when a job opening matches your skills and qualifications.
Volunteer at events your target company supports. This is a no-pressure way to meet people that work at these companies and get a genuine feel for a company’s culture and employee perspective. Remember, this is not a job fair, but an opportunity to learn more and begin to develop relationships.
The hidden job market is not a mystery, but rather an opportunity to uncover a greater pool of jobs that may interest you and having the right approach can open the door to your dream job!