When beginning a job search, many people immediately pick up a newspaper to check the classifieds or surf the internet to locate job banks. By using only these sources, people are often discouraged to find a select few positions. Moreover, the positions to which they apply are often of less interest, which leads to greater frustration and decreased motivation when these positions fail to produce employment. It is natural to start wondering whether there are actually any available positions out there, or worse, engage in self-defeating behaviors (e.g., “is there something wrong with me”). Though there is no guarantee on finding ‘right fit’ employment, the comforting news is that people can dramatically increase their chances by accessing the hidden job market.
Used to describe vacancies in the labor market, the hidden job market comprises positions not advertised in easily visible locations. Depending on the study, research estimates 70-90% of all positions at any given time fall within the hidden job market. Therefore, if people rely exclusively on classifieds and job banks, they are limiting themselves to no more than 30% of market opportunities. To this end, changing the way people look for work will likely change the kind of work they obtain.
The hidden job market includes all available positions unadvertised for public viewing.
Let’s turn and take a look at the logic behind tapping the hidden job market. To do this, let’s define the visible job market as all available positions advertised for public viewing, including those found in print and digital.
From most to least preferential, the following espouses methods job searchers and employers use to seek work and candidates, respectively:Job Searcher
Undoubtedly, you’ll notice an interesting, polar opposite trend between the two strategies: that job searchers heavily rely on the visible job market while employers rely on the hidden job market.
As you will also note from the table, networking is an activity designed to tap the hidden job market. The following are three reasons for why networking holds such great importance with employers.
You’ll note the underlying theme. Source recruiting, for a variety of reasons, results in longer employee tenure than other recruitment methods. After all, a negative correlation exists indeed between employee turnover and company profit.
To get the ball rolling, it may be helpful to complete the following activity designed to identify your network.
Identify at least five (5) names and phone numbers for each of the following:
Family and Acquaintances
People in the Community
People in my Target Business Area
People in my Target Business Area
You can add to the list as you continue to network. If you do not know many people for the third column (people in your target business area), ask your friends, family, instructors for suggestions. You can also look up companies in a library copy of the local business directory, use online information, or visit local labor market offices to conduct some research.
Once you have five contacts, immediately begin to network. Here are some guidelines for you to consider as you plan to work your network. Be specific and polite about what you are asking your contacts to do, and don’t drive them crazy with your requests. Depending on their relationship to you and their relationship to the desired position, you may want to request your contact to do two or three of the following: