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Blog article thumbnail "What’s the deal with the “Hidden Job Market?”"

What’s the deal with the “Hidden Job Market?”

job search newsletter Oct 15, 2023

Read time: 3 minutes


 What is it? Is it real? How do you access it?


Picture this: You're on a quest to find the best jobs out there, but you've heard whispers about a secret place called the 'Hidden Job Market.' Is it a VIP club for job seekers? Or just a big tease?


Let's dive in and explore…


The Hidden Job Market - What's the Deal?

At first glance, the 'Hidden Job Market' might sound like some super-secret spot that only a few lucky folks can access. It sounds pretty intriguing...


But here's the real deal.


What we call the 'hidden job market' isn't so much hidden as it is 'not openly advertised.' Here are five reasons why jobs are typically hidden and how you can uncover each area of the job market:


1. Saving Money

One big reason why employers might skip posting job openings is because it's a money, time, and resource drain. Posting jobs on big-name job boards like LinkedIn and Indeed is expensive. Plus, each job listing involves drafting, publishing, monitoring, and filtering through hundreds of applications. It's a whole process that can be a real hassle, costing more and increasing the time it takes to find the right fit.


Conversely, tapping into personal and professional networks to find candidates can be way more budget-friendly. Companies can draw from a pool of potential hires who come with endorsements from trusted colleagues, reducing the uncertainty involved in the hiring process. Also, using networks often means you can fill a role faster, which is great when companies need help immediately.


What can you do?

You can dive into the networking game too. Building and nurturing your professional connections can open doors to those unadvertised job opportunities. Whether you're mingling online or meeting folks face-to-face, networking can hook you up with great connections and get you in on the 'hidden job market.' 


2. Moving Up from the Inside

Promoting from within is common practice in many companies, and it's a big deal in their talent development game plan. By offering existing employees opportunities for advancement, organizations can maintain continuity, boost morale, and reward loyalty and hard work.


But internal promotions aren't just about filling a job gap. They send a clear message to everyone else in the company that growth and learning matter. That kind of vibe can seriously shape the company culture and get folks pumped up to aim high and advance within the company.


What can you do?

Now, what does this mean for you, the job seeker? Well, it means that when someone gets a promotion, they usually fill their old spot with an internal candidate before looking outside. So, when you're hunting for a job, don't focus only on those top-tier roles. Entry-level gigs can be your launchpad to your dream job. Once you're in, you can prove your skills, learn about the company from the inside, and fast-track your way to your dream role.


3. The Power of Connections

The power of a solid network in the professional world is immense, and this holds true when it comes to recruitment. Just as job seekers are often told to 'network, network, network,' employers also lean heavily on their networks when looking to fill positions.


Why? It's simple. A recommendation from a trusted colleague or connection can hold significant weight. It provides a degree of validation and assurance, reducing the perceived risk of hiring a new candidate. After all, a recommendation from someone you trust is far more compelling than a faceless application, regardless of how polished the resume may be.


Companies leverage their networks – both online, such as LinkedIn, and offline, through industry contacts, partners, and clients – to source potential candidates. This allows them to gain insights into a candidate's work ethic, character, and skill set from the get-go.


What can you do?

Your network can be your secret weapon too. Growing and nurturing your professional network can help you discover and access these 'hidden' opportunities. Actively participate in industry events, both physical and virtual (LinkedIn makes this easy!), engage in relevant groups and forums, and don't hesitate to reach out to professionals in your target field.


Expanding your network and maintaining active connections puts you in a position to be thought of when opportunities arise. Essentially, you're aligning yourself with the flow of the job market rather than working against it. (For more information about networking, check out my past article: 5 Networking Strategies to Accelerate Your Job Search)


4. Avoiding Job Application Chaos

In today's job market, a single job posting can easily attract a flood of applications, making it a real challenge for employers. Sorting through a mountain of resumes is not only a time-suck but can also be costly and inefficient. That's why some companies prefer not to shout their job openings from the rooftops.


Instead, they opt for more focused methods like using niche job boards, teaming up with recruitment agencies, or tapping into their network of pros. This way, they can reel in a smaller group of spot-on candidates, which makes the hiring process a whole lot easier.


What can you do?

Instead of spreading yourself thin, put your energy into opportunities that match your skills, interests, and career goals.


Make sure your resume and cover letters are tailored to each job you go for. Include relevant keywords and show how your unique experiences and skills make you a top pick for the role. This way, even if the job isn't plastered all over the internet, your application has a better shot at standing out.


Think beyond just firing off applications. Keep networking and reaching out to peers, recruiters, and hiring managers at companies that are hiring.


5. Confidential Backfill

You might think "confidential backfill" sounds all hush-hush, but in the recruitment world, it's pretty standard. This is when a company wants to swap out an employee but doesn't want to make it public – they don't want to freak out their team or shake things up too much.


There are many reasons why a company might go the confidential route. Maybe they're replacing someone who's not quite cutting it, but they want to have a new person lined up before they make any announcements. Or they could be planning a management shake-up that calls for discretion.


What can you do?

To tap into these opportunities, get tight with recruiters, especially those who specialize in your field or the job you want. And keep your LinkedIn looking sharp because recruiters often use it to scout out candidates for these secret gigs (here’s a free LinkedIn guide).



The so-called 'hidden job market' isn't some mysterious club.


For employers - it's more about practicality, streamlining processes, and meeting specific needs. These job opportunities aren't shrouded in a cloak of secrecy; they're just not broadcast to the masses.


Now that you understand the ‘hidden job market,’ you can put yourself in a position to take advantage of the opportunities that exist within it. By employing the strategies in this article, you're not just stumbling upon the 'hidden' job market; you're actively engaging in it.



Whenever you're ready, there are 2 ways I can help you:

  1. Job Accelerator Program: This comprehensive program gives you the step-by-step roadmap and live coaching that has helped hundreds of people land six-figure jobs quickly
  2. Personalized 1:1 Coaching – We'll work together to give you an accelerated job landing strategy. 


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