Jobs are More Plentiful in the Hidden Job Market
Hidden Job Market Defined
Check out the job market today – and with official unemployment approaching 10% many people are doing just this – and you will soon encounter the term hidden job market.
The term hidden job market appears in numerous phrases such as secrets of the hidden job market,uncovering the hidden job market, navigating the hidden job market, and so on.
But what is the hidden job market?
The answer is simple – the hidden job market is nothing more than job opportunities that have not been advertised in public media. It also refers to discovering positions that employers, as yet, begun looking to fill.
Hidden Job Market
Many "Hidden" Jobs are Ones An Employer Hasn't Gotten Around to Advertising Yet
Jobs which an employer has not yet begun looking to fill include positions or jobs in which the current holder of the job has given notice that he or she will be leaving the organization but has not left yet.
It also includes positions in which current holder has been scheduled to be promoted to a new position or transferred to another part of the organization and the employer has not yet begun the process of looking for a replacement.
A job that currently doesn’t exist can also be a situation where the organization has been expanding and the managers know that they will have to hire more people but haven’t yet created the needed positions.
Finally, changes in the industry or technology may present challenges for an organization but those responsible for running the organization either don’t realize this or realize it but haven’t yet figured out what is needed and prepared a job description.
Job Market Described
The job market, like any other market, is simply the meeting ground where employers seeking workers and individuals seeking employment come together to connect and do business.
In the job market employers are seeking to purchase the labor and skills needed for their business while individuals are seeking the opportunity to utilize their labor and skills to make money.
The goal of the job market, like that of any other market, is to bring the buyers of skilled work (employers) together with the sellers (those seeking work) of such skills.
Advertising is Used by Both Employers and Job Seekers
A common way for these two groups to discover each other is to advertise.
The more common ways employers advertise is by listing job openings in the classified section of newspapers, listing job openings with online job sites or hosting or attending job fairs.
Job seekers also advertise their availability.
This is done by posting profiles and resumes on online job sites as well as mailing (via email or snail mail) resumes to potential employers or registering in person or online with the Human Resources (HR) departments of large organizations.
Advertising Has Some Benefits
It is like a fisherman casting a wide net and pulling in a large number of fish and other things.
For an employer, advertising is fine if the objective is simply to find warm bodies to operate an assembly line or harvest a tomato crop.
Also, if an employer is having a difficult time finding the right person, advertising can result the gathering of a large pool of potential workers which can then be searched in an attempt to find the right person.
For a job seeker advertising can also be a useful tool for uncovering potential employers or positions for which the job seeker is not aware.
Costs and Disadvantages of Advertising
However, advertising has costs over and above any fees charged by the media in which it is published. Because one is casting a wide net with advertising the result will be responses to the advertising by more than just the candidates the advertiser is seeking.
For instance, an employer advertising a job will often get responses from a number of people who, rather than seeking employment with that employer, are simply making the required number of weekly or monthly job search contacts needed to continue receiving their unemployment or welfare checks.
Others, who lack the required qualifications for the advertised job, may be applying simply in hopes that by some quirk of fate they will get the job.
The same is true of advertising by job seekers. Add the word finance to your profile or resume on an online job site and every insurance agency in the area will contact you with offers to sign you up as an agent (working on commission only) selling their insurance products.
Because of these costs of having to deal with numerous unwanted job applicants or job offers that come with advertising, many employers and job seekers resort to a more targeted, low profile approach.
How to Effectively Network and Find Hidden Jobs
Networking is Key to Finding a Job In Hidden Job Market
In other words, both rely on trusted sources to direct them toward employees or employers that match their criteria.
This method of quietly searching by employers and job seekers is what makes up the hidden job market.
It is hidden only in the sense that the searching by both sides is carried on in the background and not openly using publishing or broadcasting outlets.
The best way for job seekers to tap into the so called hidden job market is by building and using a network of connections from whom they can gather information about potential unadvertised jobs as well as helping them spread the word about their skills and their desire to find a place to employ their skills.
Employers also have networks through which they gather information and leads about potential employees for the positions they want to fill. These networks include their employees, professional headhunters, contacts with other businesses, etc.
Cold Calling is Another Tool for Finding Jobs in Hidden Job Market
Another great tool is cold calling, which is the act of contacting Human Resources Departments and hiring managers directly.
While most large and many medium sized businesses, in the United States at least, require people to apply online rather than in person, many small and many medium size organizations don’t have web sites with online job application pages.
This lack of an apply online requirement means that you can contact these organizations directly.
While email, snail mail and even fax or telephones can be used, in person is best. That is the applicant dressing for an interview, having some resumes ready and visiting the business in person to inquire about applying for work.
Job Search Strategies - Cold Contacts
Research Can Make Your Search More Efficient
While a person can simply go door to door looking for work, it makes more sense to do some research to find what organizations have or have a need for the type of position you are looking for.
This will not only save you from wasting time visiting organizations that have no need for the type of position you are seeking.
Research will also save you the embarrassment of showing your ignorance when you waste someones time asking to apply for a position which an organization doesn’t have and doesn’t need.
Worse than the embarrassment and waste of your time is the wasting the time of the person you speak to at the organization.
People generally like to help other people.
Often when you come across as sincere and knowledgeable, the person whose organization has no openings in the position you are seeking will take some time to offer suggestions and even point you toward places that the person knows might have openings.
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Cold Calling Can Also Be Used With Large Organizations Requiring Applications Online
In the case of large organizations that have a formal hiring process you can still try to make contact with managers within the organization.
While the Human Resources Department is responsible for recruiting and vetting of applicants, it is usually department managers who do the interviewing and make the hiring decision.
While a manager may not be able to bypass the formal hiring process and simply hire you directly.
They can direct you to the Human Resources Department and can often put in a good word for you.
If the manager you contact is the one making the hiring decision, having met and made a good first impression before starting the process gives you a good head start.
While it is usually, but not always, difficult to simply walking into a large organization and wander around introducing yourself, there are indirect ways to meet hiring managers.
A Way to Get Past Gate Keepers in Large Organizations
One way is to see if anyone in your network knows a decision maker in the organization in which you are trying to make contact.
A second way is to attend networking and other public events in which managers from organizations for which you would like to apply to are likely to also attend.
While it is best (and definitely easier) if a mutual acquaintance is available to introduce you to the person or persons you want to meet, there are frequently opportunities as such events for you to simply walk up and introduce yourself.
A final common way is to list all of the people you know or have had contact with through work (at both your current and former positions) or through church, organizations at which you volunteer and your social circle.
This last example is actually networking and, ideally, you will have developed a good formal network relationship with these people.
However, if you haven’t developed and maintained the relationships needed for a formal network or if your formal network doesn’t include people who can make the introductions you need, then go back through your contact lists, email address lists, etc. seeking anyone you ever met who might be able to help you.
Calling such people can be difficult, but so is being unemployed.
Many won’t know the people you want to be introduced to. Others may be reluctant to assist you either because they have no recollection of ever meeting you or feel they don’t know you enough to feel comfortable introducing you to the people you are seeking to meet.