What is the Hidden Job Market? And What are its Benefits?


There is a fair number of ways to land a job, and, to a certain extent, none of them are wrong. The old say ”All roads lead to Rome” in fact does apply to your career. Yet, one has to admit some roads are faster, more efficient.

The roads to employment may be divided into two simple categories: the job market and the hidden job market. The job market, on the one hand, is essentially everything that’s published. In this category are all standard communication media such as newspaper, internet, and so on and so forth.

On the other hand, the hidden job market is everything else.

The problem with the regular job market is that its information is public, known by all. This information has no value whatsoever, just as the public information about stock markets. When a job ad is posted, tens—and sometimes hundreds—of people apply and compete for the job. On top of that, applicants have to comply with the job’s requirements. In other words, this approach to employment is extremely restricting.

The hidden job market, on its end, has only one limit; that is, the job seeker’s will. Possibilities are unlimited, literally. Of course, with “unlimited possibilities” come “great responsibilities.” To be successful in the hidden job market, one has to be active, tireless, and motivated. Many techniques fall under the category of the hidden job market: networking, spontaneous candidacy, on-field search, and so on and so forth. If the hidden job market was to be summarized in one word, it would be “initiative.” To choose the hidden job market is to open more interesting opportunities, but it’s also to choose to make a significant time investment in order to accomplish one’s goal.

The benefits to the hidden job market are many. As mentioned earlier, every single job ad receives tens, even hundreds, of applications. When searching somewhere else than in this already competitive market, people optimize their time and get to more concrete—and faster—results. Moreover, when one takes part in a networking event, or when one sends a spontaneous candidacy, one does not have to comply with the job ad requirements because—plot twist!—the ad doesn’t exist. Thus, the employer looks at your candidacy and cannot compare you with other applicants. He or she does not have a pool of as-qualified-as-you-if-not-more applicants to compare you with. In other words, he looks at what you have before what you don’t. Consequently, the opportunities arising from this approach will be far more interesting, far more tailored and suited.

One also has to note that certain types of positions are never posted. The best jobs always get filled because the best candidates know where to find them through the hidden job market. Therefore, creativity, consistency, and professionalism are key in this regard. Although there is no one way of doing it, every person has the potential of finding the desired success in the hidden job market.

By now it is quite clear that the hidden job market is more efficient than the regular one. Does that mean that one should quit the latter? Certainly not. The single best thing one can do is to use both in strategic and thought-out manner, so as to get the best out of the both. However, caution and judgement are required in order to optimize the job search. At the end of the day, the variables in the equation are the number of initiatives and the quality thereof. That is to say, it’s better to focus oneself on the positions and companies with which one has a medium to high success rate. Otherwise, it’s a waste of precious time!

Ultimately, the hidden job market is a tool one definitely has to take advantage of. It is unknown to many, sometimes underestimated, and it’s at once simple and complex to figure out. The single most important to remember about it, though, is that when you don’t use it, other people do. Then, it becomes your worst enemy because it decreases the number of opportunities available to you. As such, there are two options: you can either use it to your advantage, or you can let it ruins your likelihood of landing a nice job.

And you ? How do you use the hidden job market?