Job Search Strategies: This Is Why The Hidden Job Market Works So Well For Your Next Job Search

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.

How Much Does it Cost A Company To Recruit?

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. Monster.co.uk cost’s over £500 per job slot, and realistically you probably need more than one job board. Each job board is likely to receive upwards of 250 applications.

If you’re advertising for a junior or non-specialist position such as a sales manager, you could easily have a thousand applications per job board. Realistically £2,000 for job board advertising is not uncommon in the UK.

Internal Recruiters

The next cost is for an internal recruiter to go through all these applications looking for relevant applications. There is software that will help, however, not every recruiter has money to spend on the best recruiting software and will use a broad-based keyword search. A necessary one-minute review of a thousand CV’s would take two days (Based on an eight hour day), followed by a one hour HR interview for each shortlisted candidate to make sure they are relevant and in the budget.

Realistically this would take five days to complete for a total of £2,000 (Based on 50 per hour, for five days). If you outsource the candidate shortlist process, it will likely cost twenty percent of the first-year salary to find a candidate, and you still must add on the cost of management time spent interviewing candidates.

Hiring Managers

Once a shortlist has been established, it’s likely the hiring manager would interview all six candidates, they would also be interviewed by the team and by the Head of Department. There’s likely the time to discuss the candidates and review the options. At the very minimum we’re looking at three days work, or another £2,400.

At a minimum, this brings the total cost of hiring to £6,400, but 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.

What’s 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 (Updated September 2019 – She is no longer looking, so please don’t try and find her).

How To Take Advantage Of The Hidden Job Market?

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

The second way to make the hidden job market work is through a referral. 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 Plan

The objective here is to build two lists of potential hiring managers within your field.

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Nick Jones

My name Nick Jones, I am a professional Head-Hunter with over 20 years of experience working all over the world. I specialise in out-of-the-box job search strategies to get your CV directly to the hiring manager, thus skipping any ATS portals or recruiters who think they're important.

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