Four Ways to Tackle the Hidden Job Market

We’ve seen this all too many times. A job posting has never been officially broadcast to the public but then bam! A job is filled by a hiring manager’s inside connection. Or maybe the job posting is actually published but alas, the hiring manager has already identified his or her candidate and it’s just a matter of course to look like the company is following hiring procedures.


What’s a job seeker to do? Well, the first is to accept this indeed happens. As for the second? Tackle it and get yourself in there. Work it!

As pointed out by The Wall Street Journal, there are several ways to crack the code of phantom jobs to get on the inside before it’s too late.

1. Make coffee and lunch dates. Don’t wait until you see a job opportunity posted on a company’s Web site. Rather, contact managers on a regular basis even if you’re not actively looking. This bodes well if you’re internal as well since you never know when your department may be absorbed by another one. Get on their calendars and pick their brains.

2. Write down your goals. Go ahead, get specific. Create a list of jobs that would be the best possible match for your skills and experience along with companies with corporate cultures to match your own values. The piece also recommends a managerial type to match your own preference.

3. Get candid with your boss. Schedule a meeting and check in with your boss. Let him or her know you’re vying for a promotion. The last thing you want is for the top spot to open up and you get passed by because management didn’t think you were interested or ready. It’s a prime opportunity to create dialogue surrounding the skill set for a promotion; if you’re not ready at that point in time, ask what you need to do to prep yourself now.

4. Seek out hiring managers. Network, network, network. Attend industry events and mingle with people in your field. Follow up and see step number one.