I can’t count the number of times a new job opening has come to my team and I hear a colleague from across the room stand up and say “I'm working with the perfect candidate for that new opportunity!”. This is the epitome of the hidden job market. The “hidden job market” is a term that gets tossed around frequently in Staffing and Recruitment but how many people actually know what it is, why it exists and how to take advantage of it.
We’ll start with the basics. The hidden job market is essentially a group of employment opportunities that never gets to traditional marketing channels and the general public because of relationships that are already established amongst candidates, recruiters and/or Hiring Managers. I’ll put it another way; when a new job comes across my desk, the first thing I do is think to myself “who do I know that would be a good fit for this position?” I will then contact that candidate and if timing is right, I’ll get the process started and the candidate gets hired before we ever advertise the job or begin the search process.
The hidden job market exists for a simple reason, it’s a more efficient method of recruiting candidates when you already have a relationship with the individual. I already know what the candidate’s skills are, I know what they are looking for in a position and company and I know what salary range they want. Without these relationships I’d have to start from the ground up, scouring our internal database, job boards and social media sites to find candidates who may or may not be thinking about making a move from their current company.
There are a few ways that you can access this market and take advantage of it. First and foremost, start with people that you already know. Let your family and friends know that you are looking for work. Someone in your direct network may know of an upcoming project, they may know of an opening because of a resignation or have an established relationship with a hiring manager at a company you are interested in working with.
Another way that you can access this market is by starting to build relationships and network with recruiters and hiring managers. This can be done via networking events and job fairs or on social media. The key is to stay top of mind with the people you’re connecting with. Check in every few weeks to say hi, if you update your resume send it over. It’s only a matter of time before something becomes available and you are the first person the recruiter or hiring manager thinks of.
It can take some time, and some extra effort but it does work. Many skilled recruiters have lists full of candidates they have built relationships with and jump at the opportunity to help them transition into a new role. If you’re not on one of these lists, it’s time to get out there and make it happen.
Stay healthy and safe,