What really is the 'hidden' job market?
SACRAMENTO, CA -- First, let's dispense with a common misconception - the hidden job market isn't really hidden at all. It's just not in plain sight. When a company is growing, the owner, president, or other hiring authority may know new employees are needed, but they don't immediately initiate the process. They may not have the time, the budget, or the willingness to go through the hassle of advertising and interviewing. So, while the need is real, the job opening itself remains hidden inside the head of the hiring manager.
When someone quits or is fired, managers will first decide if they can eliminate the job, or combine it with another position. If they decide a new person is needed, they will first look inside their organization for someone to fill the role. If that doesn't work, they'll likely ask employees for referrals. And if that doesn't work, they may opt to run an ad through HR, or hire a headhunter.
Companies often contact a headhunter when secrecy is required, because good recruiters can conduct a search without anyone ever knowing. This is especially important if an employee is going to be replaced without their knowledge - loose lips not only sink ships, they can also damage company morale. In all of these cases, jobs remain hidden to the outside world for weeks if not months. The only way for you to access this hidden job market successfully is to reach out to hiring managers directly before they decide to go the advertising or HR route.