Accessing the Hidden Job Market

Accessing the Hidden Job Market

Tapping into the hidden job market is easy

You’ve probably heard that around 80% of the jobs that are filled at any given time have been filled via the hidden job market.

So what exactly is the hidden job market?

As you will notice from the following graphic, the hidden job market is simply those jobs that are not advertised.

There was a time when the majority of available jobs were advertised through newspaper employment classifieds, employment centre job boards and via recruitment agencies. In recent years however, there’s been a move away from these methods for a number of reasons including:

  • a desire to reduce recruitment costs
  • a tighter job market
  • technological advances


Many employers find they no longer need to advertise for new staff as they are continually inundated with prospective employees using the direct approach. Most direct approaches are received by email making it easier than ever to quickly vet and recruit candidates.

Personal referrals by existing staff has also grown in popularity with many companies now paying referral or finder’s fees to staff members who successfully refer a suitable candidate for a role. This method is not only cost effective but time effective too in that referrals save the employer time in vetting candidates.


One of the most common ways to find a job is through networking activities. By growing and maintaining a good network, you increase your chances of finding your next role.

Here’s a list of common networking activities you could try:

  • Join and participate in chamber of commerce groups, industry associations and other business networks
  • Attend industry events such as conferences and trade fairs
  • Join and participate in online professional networking sites such as LinkedIn
  • Attend industry training courses, workshops and seminars
  • Attend job fairs and recruitment drive events


By connecting and communicating with people you can develop professional relationships with the potential to open doors to job opportunities. Once you’ve made contact with someone be sure to get their business card and keep in touch. A follow up email or phone call after your initial connection is a good way to grow the relationship.

Active participation in professional networking sites such as LinkedIn can help put you in the spotlight. Be sure your profile is up to date and accurately reflects your skills and experience. When participating in conversations, give relevant, considered responses to maintain credibility. Seek recommendations from past and present colleagues to further boost your credibility.

There are many books and resources to help guide you in developing your network skills or you might choose to consult a career coach. One book I recommend is “A Foot in the Door: Networking Your Way into the Hidden Job Market” by Katharine Hansen.

Direct Approach

Contacting potential employers directly can be a good move particularly after becoming aware of an organisation’s expansion or new project. The first step before approaching potential employers is to spend some time researching them.

It’s a good idea to learn about the company, including the products and/or services they offer, current staffing, the history of the company and plans for the future. Much of this research can be done online via the company’s own website and through some strategic search engine searches.

Your research will also enable you to effectively tailor your cover letter using the right terminology relevant for the position you are putting yourself forward for. Although sending a letter or email is typical, you can also telephone or visit a potential employer in person. The approach you choose will depend on the company, geographical location and the position being sought.

Whichever approach you take to accessing the hidden job market, it’s recommended you keep a detailed log of your activities so you can monitor your progress. It’s a good idea to keep a spreadsheet or notepad with contact details including a schedule for following through.

Don’t be daunted by the hidden job market. Instead, view it as an exciting challenge – one you are ready and willing to take on. Once you get started you’ll find not nearly as scary as you thought.

Lisa LaRue is a registered Career Coach at CareerWorx with more than 20 years’ experience helping people plan, manage and find happiness in their careers.

No Comments

Post A Comment