How the Hidden Job Market Works

How the Hidden Job Market Works

Are you skeptical about the hidden job market, or maybe not even sure what it is? It sounds a little mysterious, but the hidden job market is real and it does work to help get people hired.

Hidden Job Market Defined

The term “hidden job market” refers to jobs that are revealed though channels other than advertisements or job board postings. Some examples:

  • A company has a need but has not created a job to address it
  • A position was created, but it has not been advertized yet
  • An organization has postponed filling an open position for lack of the right candidate in previous effort.  But they would fill it if they found the right person
  • An opening is about to be created because someone is leaving the company
  • Expansion is planned and jobs will be added soon
  • A job is open and advertized but has not come to the attention of a job seeker

Jobs Revealed

How can a job seeker discover these opportunities?

  • Networking! This is the biggest way job seekers learn of potential openings
  • Through local blogs and news reports about companies that are growing
  • By following target companies on Twitter and reading their websites
  • By having networking meetings or informational interviews with target companies
  • Through company pages on LinkedIn which reveal comings and goings

Does it really work?

Statics show the hidden job market works. Beyond the numbers, there are countless examples of jobs discovered through unconventional paths. Here are a few:

  • Joel had a friend working at a large local tech firm. His friend alerted him that the department was expanding and gave his resume to his manager before any jobs were open or advertised.
  • Colleen went into an informational interview with a target company hoping to learn more about future opportunities. In the meeting she learned a key employee had just left due to a family emergency. She immediately became the front runner to fill the position which had not yet been officially opened.
  • A small video company had an opening for an office manager but only posted it on their own website. Paula was unaware of the company or the job with connections to the company tipped her off.
  • A network contact alerted Charles of a company needed his kind of skills. He pitched himself as a consultant.  Following a meeting with a department head, he learned there was a full time position that had been left sitting open for several months because no one with the right skills had emerged.
  • Barry read of an industry leader who had been promoted. He contacted the person through LinkedIn and congratulated him. He asked about the future of the position the man was leaving, and was put in touch with a hiring manager who had an immediate need to fill a hole.
  • Simone read a local blog about a start-up that had just received funding. She sent a congratulatory email to the CEO (whom she did not know) and offered her services as part of their expansion. She was invited to interview for a position being created using the new funding.

In every case, the job seeker found an opportunity that had not been advertized.

Will it work for you?

The hidden job market will work for you if you are proactive in uncovering it. It takes sleuthing, persistence and sometimes a little luck. But, if you keep at it, you will find success.

  • Spend enough time each day working on channels that will reveal hidden jobs
  • Diminish time and focus on advertised jobs
  • Actively grow and strengthen your network
  • Keep yourself top-of-mind with your network so they will contact you when they come upon an opportunity
  • Stay connected and aware of what is happening via blogs, the business section, local groups and industry groups
  • Don’t be shy! Reach out to people, even if you don’t know them.
  • Bring energy, creativity and a positive attitude to the task of uncovering hidden jobs

Believe in the power of the hidden job market and focus on how to tap into it.  It takes a very different approach than simply applying for open positions. But in the end, it can bring surprising and positive results.

Tell us: Have you ever found a job through the hidden job market? Share your story.


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3 thoughts on “How the Hidden Job Market Works

  1. I particularly appreciate the definition of “hidden job market” and the provided list of examples on how they can be uncovered. I’m still discovering this side of the job market and didn’t realize that it is much more than a job that hasn’t been posted on a job board yet.

  2. Hi Danielle,
    Glad you found the blog helpful. As you dig deeper into the hidden job market, I hope you will come back and share what you discover.


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