What is the hidden job market and how do you find it?

Where's Waldo in Google Maps?
Back in the day when tweeting was something birds did and a “Facebook” was a way of finding who was sitting next to you in class, one looked for a job by searching want ads and job boards.

That’s so 1998 and I’m a key example of why job seekers need to look for the hidden job market.

I’ve had a hard time finding people to work for DoctorDave (earn yourself $500 for referring someone).

While many of us despise unsolicited salespeople and spam, especially as a business owner, these sales techniques can be effective. The key is to contact a consumer when they have the need. If your air conditioner just died and someone knocks on the door offering repair, then you’ve made a sale.

If you are a big company like Apple or Google, everyone wants to work for you. As a small business though, having a list of ready-to-go potential employees is really important. You avoid the hassles of the hiring process and save some serious money. Not everyone is smart enough to think ahead though.

Too often businesses tend to be reactive rather than proactive. They advertise only when sales are down or answer the phone only when they aren’t busy (what is it about contractors that they don’t return phone calls?) You know many of these companies because you see them in the legal announcements section going bankrupt.

Savvy businesses realize that you have to plan for the ups and downs. They budget, advertise even when business is booming, and always respond to customers. Similarly, they realize that people leave employment for a variety of factors and quickly filling a position is key to their survival.

Way back when, I was told that for every ten thousand dollars in salary you wish to earn you should plan on one month of job searching. Therefore plan 3 months for a 30,0000 a year job. I’d say the same as an employer. If you want to fill a 50,000 a year position, you need to plan for it to take about five months: from the moment of the person leaving until the new person comes on board at your organization.

The key to all this for job seekers is to send your resume and apply at a company that isn’t hiring. If you are simply responding to wants ads and job boards you are completely missing out on the companies that either can’t afford to advertise and/or are smart enough to having a rolling acceptance process for applicants.

You absolutely want to work for a company that does this. They are positioned for long term success. There is a right way and a wrong way to do this. That’s a topic for my next blog post.

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