Candidates often ask what the hidden job market really is and more importantly, how they can take advantage of it. The honest answer, the hidden job market does not exist, at least not in the form that you’re expecting.
There’s no hiddenjobmarket.com, there no place where you can go, recruiters cannot help, and other than showing you the way, I cannot help either. The problem, if you get it right, it really works and there is a guaranteed job at the end.
You must remember, hiring a new candidate is an expensive, time-consuming process. If a company decides to recruit themselves, firstly there’s the cost of advertising, then an internal recruiter needs to go through the CV’s looking for relevant applications.
Once a shortlist has been established, it’s likely the hiring manager would interview all the candidates, they would also be interviewed by the team and by the Head of Department. Remember, this is only the cost to get a final candidate. What happens if he doesn’t accept your offer? You start again. Once you’ve chosen a candidate and they have accepted your offer, the costs don’t stop.
Factor in a consultant to cover the workload before your new candidate starts, introductions, training days and the full three to six months to get your candidate up to speed. UK business suggests it cost upwards of £30,000 to replace an employee that has left. If you consider the above, they’re correct.
The Hidden Job Market
The hidden job market is the job market that doesn’t exist. It starts when either a hiring manager finds a candidate, they think could be useful, or finds a recommended candidate they think can do the job that they want. In both situations, there is no advertising, no recruitment companies are involved, and there is little cost to the company.
As an example, my wife works as a finance director for Microsoft in the UK. She is currently looking for a finance controller for her team. It’s not advertised, and HR are not looking for a replacement, but if she came across a decent profile, she’s open to looking.
If we stick with the example of my wife from above, there are two ways she has been looking for a replacement. The first way is through speculative CV applications. This is where you speculatively send your CV directly to the hiring manager and ask them to review your CV.
There is no point in sending your CV to the recruiter, the HR manager or even the members of the finance team. The position does not exist, therefore they are only going to delete your email. If you email the hiring manager, you could be on a fast track route to your first interview.
The reference is the difference between a successful hidden job search, and not. This is where my wife, in the end, found her candidate. The surprise for me, the candidate was nothing special. I would go as far to say, the candidate was not right for the role, however, they had one big plus pointer – a referral.
The referral is the trump card of everything. Effectively the reference, from a trusted source, told my wife, this candidate was right for her. It did not matter that the candidate had no finance or technology experience. It did not matter, the candidate only had audit experience. The referral told my wife that the candidate was a smart, a hard worker and interested. This was all she needed to hear. The candidate was hired.
The objective here is to build a list of potential hiring managers within your field. At this stage, it doesn’t matter whether you have a reference or not, but what is important, is relevance.
Realistically, if you work in a bank, your best chance to get another job, is within banking. Yes, other business will look at you, but realistically, your experience will most beneficial to another bank. When you start to build you list of potential hiring managers, you need to take this into account.
Remember, this is a very powerful job strategy, but there is a very fine line between “Being in contact with potential hiring managers” and “spamming hiring managers”. I have had a lot of comments regarding this strategy, with most positive, but a lot do this this is spam. Personally