What Is The Hidden Job Market

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Do you want to shorten your job search, get more quality interviews and better job offers? Well, that’s what the hidden job market has to offer you if you choose to take advantage of it.

But before you can tap into the hidden job market, you need to know and understand what it is. First off let’s dispel the first myth that the hidden job market is purely networking – it’s not. Phew! You can all take a deep breath and keep reading.

The hidden job market is about going straight to hiring managers and removing middlemen (i.e. HR and Recruiters) from the hiring process. So, networking can play a part in unearthing opportunities. Specifically, where you are tapping into your existing networks – with those your know, like and trust you.

Why you need to concern yourself with the “hidden” job market

With the abundance of jobs advertised on the internet, you might be thinking that you don’t need to worry about incorporating the hidden market into your job search strategy.

According to the Department of Employment, in the 2017 Australian Jobs report one-third of vacancies are not formally advertised, with employers instead relying on a range of informal methods to fill their vacancies, such as word of mouth, being approached directly by job seekers, or placing a sign in the window of their business.

Of those that are advertised above the line only 1-3% of all applications submitted receive a response (Ouch!). There is a reason that job seekers refer to the major job boards as “The Black Hole”. You put your resume in, and nothing comes out the other side.

I believe there is a place for job boards as part of your overall search. But it should not be the only strategy used.

Why you need to start applying for “unadvertised” positions

Ever heard of a phrase called “The Virtual Bench”? No? well, listen up. Every hiring manager will have one (whether they know it or not). A virtual bench is a place that hiring managers put people who they would consider for a position when a vacancy comes up.

Most companies have long processes to go through before they even post the position on a major job board. But if you market yourself correctly, the hiring manager can reach out to you when they have an indication about an opening and get the ball rolling.

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If you have a position that has just opened up in your company, what’s the first thing you would do? Pick up the phone and call Seek or Indeed to get them to recommend candidates? No, of course not!

You spread the word to trusted colleagues, look through your resume file (virtual bench) to see if anyone fits the criteria. You would tell your staff to refer someone they know who is suitable and would recommend.

You would do all of this long before you even contemplate advertising on a major job board.

And if after a few weeks, the position is still vacant, you might contact your industry association to send out an alert to their members, or even a recruiter.
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Why you receive a shorter interview process and higher salary with unadvertised positions

When you apply for and pursue unadvertised jobs, you are (99%) of the time talking with the decision-maker. This is sales lesson 101. In order to get a sale, you have to be talking to the decision maker. The decision maker in landing a job is not HR, the PA, the EA or the Recruiter. It’s the hiring manager. Note – I said “Hiring Manager” not “Person who manages that position”. They can be the same person, but depending on the company, they can also be different.

When you are dealing with the hiring manager directly you have the ability to sell your skills, develop the relationship, trust and demonstrate the value you bring to the company.

These interviews tend to be less formal and more relaxed. There is also significantly less competition and because you are cutting out recruiters and HR, you’re in a better position to negotiate your salary.

Why it doesn’t matter what current position you have to find unadvertised opportunities

The hidden job market doesn’t just apply to the C-Suite, executives and people with briefcases. Everyone regardless of whether you are still in high school can use the hidden job market to their advantage.

Jobs of all shapes, sizes and levels can be hidden. They cover every industry – worldwide.

How you can take advantage of the “hidden” job market

More job opportunities, less competition, and shorter interview processes. Just what every job seeker wants! So if you want to kick start your job search here are 4 steps you can take right now:

  1. Identify your target market – this is important!
  2. Research companies in your target market and identify hiring manager names
  3. Tailor your resume for your target market, and develop a canvassing letter to match
  4. Send your resume directly to hiring managers you’ve identified

NB: This article was last updated: 5/7/17

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