The hidden job market is often described as the jobs that aren’t publicly announced or viewable on a company’s website or listed in other common areas where job opportunities exist. Some experts proclaim that this hidden job market constitutes up to 80% of the available jobs. So how do executives tap into this vast pool of opportunities?
Network & Timing. Before a job goes “public” there can be 20 or more people in different areas of a company that know about the opening: HR, hiring manager, direct boss for this position, members of the department, and so on. Contacting the right people at the right time has its advantages. Of course, if your network is current, one of these people may be reaching out to you with news of the job opportunity.
Network & Intention. There are many reasons why jobs are not publicized: the company doesn’t want to tip off the competition; the company doesn’t want the executive currently in the position to know they are trying to replace him/her; and, sometimes, the employer will want to network within the company to see if any of the current employees knows anyone who matches their needs. By maintaining an active network, you will increase your chances of hearing about these types of opportunities from inside sources and/or their network.
Network & Serendipity. I often tell my clients, “You never know who knows who,” which is an odd phrase, I know. But it’s true! You’re at the gym and the person on the treadmill next to you could be the President of Nike, or they might know the President of Nike. After some pleasantries are exchanged people often start talking about their job. If you are prepared with a well-honed brand statement (or in other words, your 30-second commercial) you may peak the interest of your gym mate and obtain names and contact information for influencers within their organization or other companies they are familiar with.
If you haven’t figured it out by now, let me reveal the secret: networking is the vital key to finding and penetrating the hidden job market. Knowing and networking with key people is critical to your success when looking for job opportunities. I’ve had clients who have bypassed HR initially because they networked with employees who went to the decision makers directly, passing along their resume. These clients were at the head of the line when considerations were being made for hiring, and several of them were successful in getting the job!