By Kam Minhas
The hidden job market accounts for 75 – 80% of all new hires, yet few resources exist on how to find it. Yet it accounts for 75-80% of new hires. So what are its secrets?
I have been searching for information on the hidden job market for some time and until recently, it alluded me completely. Then I realized that the hidden job market is all around us. It can be accessed as long as when we are networking, we do not ask for a job. It requires that we know our strengths, what we enjoy doing, and what we are good at. It also requires that we know the companies/environments where we would like to work. Once we have all this down, then we can launch our job search strategy.
This job search strategy requires identifying ten to twenty potential employers and setting up information interviews. How is this done?
- Start by learning as much as possible about the prospective company as well as the prospective manager and the department they manage. LinkedIn profiles and Zoom Info are good starting places.
- Then define how your meeting with the decision maker will benefit him or his company: Why should the manager be interested in you? Establish “what’s in it for them?” Seek to understand, and then seek to be understood.
- Your approach to the company and/or manager:
- Request a meeting to learn about the company’s approach to implementing a new technology? or new research? or to participate in a survey?
- Here are some techniques to get your foot in the door (adopted from Guerrilla Marketing For Job Hunters 3.0). Be clear that you are NOT asking for a job.
- “Hi, my name is_____________. I am doing some research on XYZ. I have been intrigued about your progress on __________. I’m writing a white paper and would like to capture your experience with_____________. Can I stop by and ask you a couple of quick questions? (The benefit to the company/decision maker is free publicity or greater exposure for the new idea). At the end of you meeting request referrals for two other decision makers you can talk in the industry.
- Self-Referral: “My name is _____________I have been researching your company and have talked to______. They think we should talk. Do you have time for coffee next week?”
Track the outcome of your strategy.
Networking in the hidden job market is about giving to get back.
“The process of interviewing will allow you to determine the best networkers. The great ones will always try to reciprocate. Always begin with the end in mind—the end isn’t defined as simply a job. It isn’t just being employed. It is about the problems you solve, the type of environment in which you thrive and are happiest (these two are inextricably linked). The more you start defining where you want to be by these terms, versus just a generic job title, the easier it will be to uncover where someone “needs” you most. When you start speaking to what a company “needs” and “wants,” you can often define a role for yourself inside the organization. It doesn’t get more “hidden” than that. (Steven Covey and Kevin Kermes).
Once you have exhausted the 20 contacts, establish 20 more and keep on going. There is a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.