The Hidden Job Market: Urban Legend or Reality?

If you’ve been in the job search for even half a second, you’ve heard of the hidden job market. But what is it? Does it even exist? And if it does, how are you supposed to apply for, and win a job you can’t even find?

The hidden job market does exist.

It is made up of those jobs that are waiting to be filled, but you can’t find the postings. The most common reaction to the very idea of a hidden job market is this: Why wouldn’t it be posted so everyone could see it?

It happens for a lot of reasons: Maybe an employer has an obscure website where they posted the job, so it doesn’t come up in a Google search–so if you don’t go to that specific site, you won’t see it. Some job postings are given to recruiters, so the recruiter does that work for them.

Maybe the company hasn’t gotten around to posting the job, or they think someone’s dealing with it but no one is, or the manager realizes that he needs some function done but hasn’t gotten around to developing a job description. But if you, the perfect candidate, were to call him right now, and show him whatever it is that you do for an organization that drives profits or lowers costs, or solve a problem that he has, he would be very interested in talking to you..

The other hidden jobs are the ones that aren’t created yet. In smaller companies (with less than 100 employees), it’s not uncommon that they will create a position to fit a candidate if that candidate can show that he or she fills a need and can provide a solution for the organization.In larger companies, it’s harder to do that, but in smaller companies, they have that flexibility.

So: Is the hidden job market an urban legend? Not at all.

Hidden jobs are what you need to be looking for. Some of the best jobs around are those jobs that haven’t been posted for the world to find.

There’s only one way to find hidden jobs: go directly to hiring managers.

They are the decision makers. They are the ones who are most invested in finding a solution for the problems they’re facing. Skip HR–you’ll just get lost in the shuffle. Contacting those hiring managers directly gets you in their line of sight. Get to know them and start a dialogue, so that when that job becomes available, you’re on their mind.