Getting a Job

How to Access the Hidden Job Market

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The hidden job market can provide an alternative to the formal application process. Learning about this market can help you to access many exciting employment opportunities. In this article, you can explore the key features of the hidden job market and learn how you can access it to find a new job.

What is the hidden job market?

The hidden job market is a collection of jobs that are invisible to people who limit their job search to traditional methods. The jobs in this market are not advertised on the web or in print. The hidden job market can have jobs in every industry with salaries and benefits that are on par with jobs in the standard job market.

How do employers use the hidden job market?

Here are some of the common ways that employers advertise jobs in the hidden job market:

  • Networking with their professional contacts in the industry for recommendations
  • Asking their employees for referrals 
  • Hiring a headhunter or a recruitment firm to identify and contact suitable candidates

Employers who create jobs in the hidden job market use different methods to promote the job openings they need to fill. 

Reasons why the hidden job market exists 

There are several reasons why there is a market for hidden jobs, including: 

It can reduce costs

Advertising for jobs using the web or print can be expensive, so employers are likely to use the hidden job market to reduce their recruitment costs.

It can keep the hiring process private

Employers may wish to avoid public advertisements. Reasons for this can include seeking a replacement for an underperforming worker discreetly, preventing a public recruitment process from having a negative impact on stock prices, or keeping news about an internal change private, such as the opening of a new branch.  

It can save time 

When jobs are publicly advertised, most hiring managers usually spend a lot of time screening candidates due to the high number of applications from candidates. Using private methods to seek candidates can reduce the time needed to fill a vacancy, which can effectively meet an urgent staff shortage.

It can produce better candidates

Employee referrals can be an effective way to find qualified candidates since current employees understand the demands of the job. Similarly, relying on the recommendations of trustworthy industry contacts is likely to help employers find more suitable candidates when compared with using a public hiring process.

How to access the hidden job market

Here are some steps that you can follow to find hidden jobs:

1. Firstly, conduct industry research

You can start the process of accessing the market of hidden jobs by researching companies and influential people in your field of interest. 

Examples of research:

  • Identify the companies you want to work for. Keep track of changes that could lead to an employment opportunity in these companies by reading local and international news. Leasing a new building space, receiving funding or expanding the business by taking on a new partner are industry events that could lead to new hires in the immediate future.
  • Learn about the decision-makers and influential employees in your industry. You can use journals, online professional networking platforms and industry news to learn about the key people.
  • Stay informed about any changes that could lead to new job openings. For example, you could sign up for a news alert service to keep track of industry changes, key decision-makers or influential employees. 

2. Next, establish your personal brand

To access a hidden job, you need to be on the radar of key people in your preferred companies and industry, so you need to invest in building a strong personal brand. 

Examples of personal branding: 

  • Create engaging profiles on professional networking sites. Keep your profiles updated with all of your new achievements.
  • Join professional organizations in your industry. Try to become an active contributor.
  • Visit industry events such as conferences, conventions and trade shows. Consider volunteering your services to help with the organization or implementation of these events. This can give you valuable opportunities to meet industry insiders or represent your industry through activities, such as speaking at a conference, that can improve your personal brand.

3. Then, form solid relationships

You need to invest in creating meaningful relationships to attract hidden jobs. 

Examples of building professional relationships:

  • Assess your existing network, identify the industry mentors and peers you know and develop these relationships. Mentors, such as university professors, and peers, who are on your career path or related path, can help you to access hidden jobs.
  • If you see key people in your industry being interviewed on TV, you can send them a note. Express your interest in their ideas and ask them if they would like to meet for coffee to discuss things further. 
  • Use professional networking platforms. Find the industry events that department heads in your preferred companies are attending, plan the best way to approach them to connect with these decision-makers. 
  • Set up informational interviews with industry experts. Learn how to succeed in your industry and make new contacts.

4. Finally, respond quickly to opportunities

To be effective in accessing hidden jobs, you must be prepared to act quickly. 

Examples of improving responsiveness: 

  • Keep your resume updated. Develop the habit of updating your resume with each new skill certification, job responsibility or achievement to reduce the time needed to tailor your resume for each job opportunity.
  • Communicate effectively. Write original messages to the hiring manager to discuss your abilities, use persuasive verbal communication when networking in person and ensure to send a thank-you to each contact who helps you to access a hidden job.  
  • Develop time management. You need to make time for the interviews and correspondence necessary to access a hidden job. Improve your time management by working according to a schedule, getting used to making last-minute scheduling changes and multitasking.