TAPPING INTO THE HIDDEN JOB MARKET If you think hiring professionals is expensive, try hiring amateurs

Red Adair, legendary fire fighting specialist

The legendary fire fighter who has put out many fires in the world including those created during the Gulf War in Iraq in 1992, may have hit the nail on the head when he made the above statement. At-least that is what Corporates in America or anywhere in the world seem to think so…
That is why, in the last decade or more, companies are increasingly limiting recruitments ads placed in newspapers or online classifieds, websites, career publications or job boards. And they are exploring other means of hiring talent, creating what is being as called as the ‘hidden job market”.


Statistics put this proportion as 80%. Which means, 80% of all the jobs available out there are never advertised! For Corporates, the cost and effort that goes in creating a job ad, publishing it, leafing through hundreds of resumes, shortlisting and interviewing has become rigmarole in today’s competitive world.
However, costs and effort are not the only reasons for companies to avoid the job ad route. Most companies have an intricate recruitment processes that must be followed to meet compliance requirements. Next, HR Executives must sort through piles of generic resumes. This doesn’t serve the purpose if one is trying to hire a senior professional or a specialist. It’s better to go the referral route or use social networking to find prospective candidates.
Also, teams that require such specialists may have spread word about the opening to consultants, acquaintances and ex-employees. This is especially common when the position is not open in the present, but would happen shortly. Spreading the word in advance gives one the time required to find the best-fit resumes.To applicants, this adds to the challenge in finding the right job. However, all is not lost. With a little luck and the right strategy, one can unearth these hidden jobs.


  • Network, Network, Network: Woody Allen, one of Hollywood’s enduring icons likes to say all the time that “Eighty percent of success is showing up”. From Sales and Marketing personnel to aspiring applicants, everybody is making this their motto. Yes, Networking is the best thing one can do while looking for a job. Hanging around with successful, capable, important and famous people will give one a clue on who is hiring whom? As you come in contact with more and more such people, it opens up doors for referrals and jobs that are in the ripe or latent stage.
  • Get Social: The Social Media is not all about sharing jokes, getting likes, and online shopping. Through social media, thousands of intelligent candidates are connecting with friends, classmates, acquaintances, or people they met in a café, to enquire about openings. People who are aware of such openings are more open to discussing them in the relaxed and informal ambience of social media. However, it’s more important to do this in an organized manner. One should maintain a document listing all the conversations that have happened, so that timely follow-ups can be done, until closure.
  • Don’t discount friends or family: Family ties may not be as strong today as it were a decade or two before. However, taking the effort to reconnect with a distant cousin or a childhood friend can open up a whole lot of opportunities. Even if there are no openings in the present, the new bond established can open up doors in the future.
  • Research: Given the subtle and dynamic shifts happening all the time, it’s good to research one’s industry thoroughly. It’s possible that opportunities are available in a related area or a related organization. Reading up the press releases and news section on the websites of prominent companies in the industry will give you an idea on these shifts. So, when one finally gets to the interview stage, one appears more aware of what’s happening in the industry and can create a positive impression.
  • Cold-calling: In a worse-case scenario, it’s OK to pick up the phone and call the HR department of prospective employers. In case of a positive response, one must prepare an impressive cover-letter summarizing their suitability for a particular profile along with a detailed resume. Thereafter, timely follow-up and good communication skills can land the desired job.
  • Volunteer: Volunteering for a cause makes one look more socially tuned. Companies with a strong CSR (corporate social responsibility) agenda appreciate the inclination. Voluntary organizations bring people from various walks of life and at different levels of accomplishment. This is no different from networking, explained above and opens up several opportunities.


End of the day, no method is more superior or fool-proof than another. But investing the time and effort in all these methods will bring the much needed momentum in your job search and land you a good opportunity, sooner or later.

ASIT Education
Content Writer

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