The Hidden Job Market – How to Find the Jobs That Are Invisible to the Masses

To truly understand the so-called “hidden” job market, one must first consider the hiring process from the perspective of a hiring manager. As with so many endeavors, the methodology utilized by such a manager will be determined by that individual’s desire to effectively manage his or her time while hiring the best possible candidate for the position in question. Put in other words, it comes down to the hiring manager’s pain threshold.If this concept sounds odd, it really shouldn’t. Given the choice, anyone will want to maximize gain while minimizing the time to achieve said gain. Apply this to the hiring process and the manager’s conundrum becomes clear – does the manager take the time to write an effective job vacancy advertisement, pay the money to post it to one or more online sources and then deal with the deluge of e-mailed and faxed resumes? Or does the manager instead try to fill the position quickly, quietly and effectively by soliciting potential candidates from existing employees? Increasingly, personnel managers are turning to the latter option, utilizing a form of internal employee networking to fill open positions and thus giving birth to the hidden job market that so often thwarts qualified and willing employment candidates.When one further considers that managers often must screen thousands of potential candidates for each job they advertise, the decision being made increasingly by hiring managers becomes much clearer. It has been estimated that as many as 80% of available jobs are never advertised. And while this approach may lessen the burden for those in charge of hiring new employees, it is most definitely not an advantage for the job seeker. The question for the candidate, then, is how to tap into the hidden job market and, in effect, how to make it a benefit rather than a hindrance.First: Network in a Way You’ve Never Networked BeforeSometimes, networking simply is not enough. If your primary contacts and secondary contacts aren’t in positions with companies for which you could or would like to work, then you simply have no “in”. If that’s the case, it’s time to look at networking in a creative way and, if necessary, grasp for even the slightest connection that you may have with an employee at a target company. Once you’ve decided on a group of companies for which you may like to work, use the standard tools such as Facebook and LinkedIn to determine if you have ANY connection with anyone who may work at one of those companies.While it’s certainly not recommended that you start communicating with a complete stranger as though you know him, it is sometimes surprising how you may have connections you didn’t even know about. Searching for users on the aforementioned social networking sites that may have attended the same schools as you, or worked for the same company as you in the past, is always a good way to make an introduction and may just be enough to get your foot in the door for a new job.Second: Take a Contrarian Approach to the Job HuntEveryone knows that newspaper job advertisements are the “old” way to search for a job. No one uses them anymore. The funny thing about that thinking, however, is that week after week, job listings keep showing up in the newspaper classified sections. It’s certainly no guarantee that you’ll find your next job in a newspaper ad – and advertising jobs in newspapers has lost popularity for a good reason – but if the jobs keep showing up, and fewer and fewer people are looking at them, the chances for success when applying to a job posted in the local newspaper may have increased dramatically. It’s also a nice move simply to “cover all the bases.”Third: Use the Small, Niche Job Boards that Hiring Managers Started Turning to Long AgoQuite some time ago, savvy recruiters and hiring managers began favoring small, relatively unknown job boards in favor of the big “one size fits all” job sites. They did so because, frankly, the quality of the average candidate at the big job boards was lacking, and because posting jobs to those boards was – and is – both expensive and certain to lead to vast quantity of unwanted applications. Increasingly, hiring managers are turning to small, “vertical” job boards that focus on a specific industry or field, or that offer job posting capabilities in a specific geographic area.These niche job sites tend to offer far fewer job listings for applicants, and far fewer potential applicants for hiring managers. What they do provide, however, is a level of targeting that is unavailable on large, “horizontal” job boards. Targeting is what the hiring manager wants because as the number of undesirable applications increases, so does the time required to properly vet all candidates. The issue is quality over quantity, with effective recruiters and personnel managers taking the time to review a handful of quality candidates rather than hundreds of dead ends.As a job seeker, you’ll naturally want to “hang out” where the hiring managers are. To do so, seek out the vertical or “niche” job boards for your area of expertise. Assuming that your skill set actually matches that of the site you’re searching, the job postings you’ll find will likely be very targeted and, if recent trends hold true, posted by hiring managers who have eschewed larger job boards for their smaller, niche counterparts.

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