Hays UK jobs and employment blog


How to help employees undergoing outplacement find the hidden job market

By Charlotte Forsyth, Business Director, Hays Career Transition Services


For those employees currently facing redundancy, particularly in this uncertain climate, the prospect of having to secure a new role can be daunting, and as an employer you will likely be anxious to ensure that they are in the best place to re-enter the job market. One of the key ways in which they can go about looking to do this is to explore what’s known as the ‘hidden job market’.

What is the hidden job market?

The hidden job market is everywhere. It’s made up of all the roles and opportunities that have yet to be publicly advertised – or that employers might not even realise they need. There could be several reasons why a job vacancy isn’t promoted – it could be as simple as a hiring manager not having the time to list a vacancy and instead looking to their network for recommendations, or it could be that the company is looking to expand, and for confidentiality purposes, hires a recruiter to find the right candidate for new openings.

The hidden job market can be a goldmine of opportunities, but it is not to be explored exclusively. The best route for professionals is to explore all avenues, aided by a dedicated recruitment consultant, who can seek out the right opportunities and provide long-term support and advice.

So how can you help employees realise the opportunities of the hidden job market?

1. Encourage them to use their connections

Suggest that they speak to their family, friends and current and past work colleagues. They should do this in a personal and targeted way, listing the people they know and who they could approach to ask about job opportunities or information about a particular field that they are interested in. Then, over LinkedIn or face-to-face, they can ask if they know of any roles they may be a good fit for, or if they have any contacts of their own who may also have hidden job opportunities.

2. Suggest organising an informational interview

For those employees looking to make a career change or wanting to find out more about a particular industry, you could suggest that they reach out to people outside of their network who work in the field they’re interested in to request an informational interview. This could just constitute taking some time to find out more about what they do, what their company is like and how they secured a role within the organisation.

LinkedIn is a key platform for professionals looking to connect, and is a great research tool, especially if being guided by a recruitment consultant. Building connections with people in organisations and fields of interest can be a great way to learn about new opportunities before anyone else.

3. Recommend making speculative applications

As previously stated – not all vacancies are advertised. Suggest that employees list companies they are interested in working for, then prepare a CV and cover letter and tailor it to each company before approaching them directly for any job opportunities. Ideally, it’s advisable to contact the organisation to find out the person responsible for hiring - that way it can be addressed to the right person. Large organisations may prefer applications to be completed online, but smaller to medium size ones may be more receptive to receiving speculative applications.

4. Advocate volunteering opportunities

Volunteering can be a useful way of gaining new skills or as an entry point into a sector that’s of interest. Joining a company on a voluntary basis can also provide experiential learning and may result in hearing about internal vacancies before they are advertised, which is another way of accessing the hidden job market. Employees could approach organisations directly to enquire about volunteering opportunities, or visit volunteering websites or bureaus in their area. A recruitment consultant can also often steer employees towards these kinds of opportunities if they’re interested.

5. Encourage attendance at industry events

There are a number of professional membership organisations which help professionals grow their network, and this is also a good way to connect with professionals with similar interests, stay up-to-date with industry news and look out for new opportunities. Trade journals, recruitment consultants, the local council, The British Chambers of Commerce and Eventbrite might be good places to start for finding out which events are upcoming.

If your organisation is going through restructuring or redundancies, then partnering with Hays Career Transition Services can give you access to high-quality modular outplacement support that has consistently delivered positive results to employers and employees.

To find out more about how we can support your organisation and employees, download our guide or contact Charlotte Forsyth, Business Director for Hays Career Transition Services, by calling 07702 775 747 or emailing

About this author

Charlotte Forsyth, Business Director, Hays Career Transition Services.


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