How to find those hidden vacancies? Tips for talents

Tagit: HR, Ohjelmistokehitys, Pilvipalvelut / SaaS, Asiantuntijapalvelut, IT, Konsultointi, Valmisohjelmisto, recruitment, culturebasedhiring


Some folks say only about 20% of vacancies are posted on the job boards. This would leave 80% of actual career opportunities hidden. To be honest, I don’t know where this 20-80 -claim comes from and how truthful it is, but I do know there are many career opportunities out there that aren’t marketed openly. To find them, you first need to know why they are hidden.

#1 It’s a replacement job

If a company is replacing someone who still has the job, they cannot really openly shout out about the need. If the replacement need is current, these companies usually use a head hunter or a recruitment consultant to help them find the replacement silently.

What you can do: You need to be in the head hunter’s radar, and to get there, you need to be really good in your job so that you’ve either been recommended to the head hunter or they already know about you and follow your career. Some head hunters accept resumes and meet with candidates, so if you are really eager about progressing your career, you may want to contact these people to ask what you could do to help them succeed and you to advance your career.

#2 It’s too much hassle to manage a proper hiring process

Especially smaller companies find it difficult to manage a proper hiring process. Hiring is very time consuming, and if you care at all about your employer reputation, you want to do it well too. Smaller companies may not have the time to handle the process, so they turn into their networks to ask for recommendations and tips to contact directly.

What you can do: If you find a company you’re really attracted to, and would love to work for, contact the managing director (smaller companies) or other key directors to get in contact with them. A good idea is to do a little bit of research to figure out how you could help their business with your skills. Then approach them with a very precise suggestion. This type of approach calls for sales skills. Don’t just send a boring open resume and expect them to do the job for you in figuring out how you could best help them. If it’s a bigger company, try to find someone inside the company who could help you identifying the right person to contact, and then possibly even introduce you. This is not a fast route to success, but it may work at some point.

#3 It’s really not open yet

Many times us (business leaders) have identified possible hiring needs, but those needs are not critical just yet, so they remain in our heads. However, at least I keep my eyes and ears open about potential candidates and interesting people, so that I can approach them when the need becomes a current one. If I don’t have any suitable names, I will open the job when the time is right, but the time may not be right yet.

What you can do: The same as in #2.

How to match & meet with hidden jobs

Now that you know a little bit about the reasons to why there are hidden jobs, your next task should be to make sure you will be in the radar when the need persists.

Key word here is “networks”.

Sorry to disappoint you, but the world of business revolves around networks and recommendations. Because of my position, I get asked a lot about suggestions and recommendations about people for open jobs. I will never recommend anyone I cannot be accountable for. I won’t recommend people I haven’t worked with (to know their true skills and attitude towards work), or done something equivalent outside business (to understand their motivators and calling, as well as personality).

In other words, if I was to recommend someone, I would have to be sure I know the person from these angles.

You may now think, well hey, let’s meet and I’ll tell you about all you need to know, so you can recommend me. Fair enough. It would be time well spent for you. However, since I’m not a head hunter, nor a recruitment consultant, there’s really no business for me to spend my time meeting strangers. Who’s gonna pay for my bills, if I spend all my time meeting people outside my business interests? Because trust me, you’re not the only one asking.

I know this sounds pretty cold, but there is one key thing to understand about networking: people network to build relationships, and relationships only grow where there are mutual interests. The good rule of thumb is: give, give, give, give (value), and only then hope you’ll gain something too. Never assume or expect, just hope. Usually people like to return favors, if they have manners, so most likely your good deed will get returned. My contacts who ask me for leads are not paying me anything for the lead, nor if they happen to hire someone I recommended. I recommend, because I hope they have good manners and return the favor at some point with something that is valuable also for me.

My tips on how to help yourself to match with hidden career opportunities

1. Approach a company directly with a well planned and researched value offer.

This is a sales job really. Identify needs, build a case how you can answer to those needs, and work your way through as a personal value proposition. As a business leader, this type of approach would always be very interesting to me, regardless if I had anything to offer at that point.

2. Find networking groups that match with your career interests and needs, and show what you are made of.

For example the Helsinki bound Digitalist Network is a great network for all modern marketeers to get active in. Figure out similar networks in your professional area, and get active. Voluntary work for example is a great way to demonstrate your skills, capabilities, interest, motivators and attitude to those who get asked about talent leads. Trust me, I much rather hire active people, and I’m not alone in this.

3. Always think about how to build relationships with people who’s opinions matter.

Recognize who these people are, see if you have any mutual interests, what they might need help with, and if you have anything valuable to offer for them. Obviously, the more known the opinion leader is, the more people there are queuing for their time and attention. If you want to get past the queue, you need to give something worth their while in return.

Does this sound like a lot of work? Well, it is. And since you’re the one potentially getting the prize, you’re gonna have to do the work. Fair enough, isn’t it?

Originally posted in Heebo blog

*Job seeker, read next: How to rate your skills and motivations at Heebo

Written by: Susanna Rantanen


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