Help outgoing employees to succeed in the hidden job market

7 min read | Charlotte Alvino | Article | Workforce management Workforce planning

Succeed in the hidden job market

For those facing redundancy, the pressure to find a new role can feel overwhelming. As an employer, you can help to improve their chances by introducing outgoing employees to the potential of the ‘hidden job market.’ 


Exploring the Hidden Job Market: Key Insights

There are plenty of opportunities out there, but finding them takes effort, activity and innovation. At times of high-pressure – such as redundancy – finding a new job can be a big ask. As an experienced employer, you can offer direction and support for employees  seeking roles amongst hidden job market opportunities. This article explains how.

  • What the hidden job market is and why some roles are not advertised.
  • How to leverage personal relationships and networks to find hidden opportunities.
  • The value of volunteering as a gateway to a new career.
  • The benefits of informational interviews for potential career decisions.


The Hidden Job Market: Background

The hidden job market is made up of all the roles and opportunities that have yet to be advertised publicly. There are a number of reasons that a job role might not be openly promoted: maybe a hiring manager hasn’t yet found the time to list the vacancy; perhaps they are looking to their network for initial recommendations. Alternatively, a company may be looking to expand, and has hired a recruiter to find the ideal candidate for new openings.

We know that the hidden job market can be a goldmine for jobseekers, but identifying opportunities can be tricky. The most rewarding approach is to work with a dedicated recruitment consultant, who can provide insight, advice and support. For hundreds of companies, we’ve been those recruiters, working to promote new roles quietly.  

However, there are a number of measures that individual professionals can take to help realise the full potential of the market. This is where an employer’s advice can be invaluable.


The secret to finding hidden jobs is to make connections.

1. Promote personal relationships

The easiest step into the hidden job market is through existing connections. Suggest that outgoing employees speak to their family, friends and colleagues (in current and previous roles.) 
When finding hidden job vacancies, networking can be face-to-face, or via LinkedIn. Whichever approach someone takes, it’s a great way to ask about any available roles, or for any further contacts who may have hidden job opportunities.

2. Suggest an informational interview

Encourage employees to reach beyond their immediate network and request an informational interview. Gathering information in this way can be especially useful for jobseekers considering a career change, or seeking to know more about a particular industry. 
Informational interviews are a great opportunity to find out more about other industries, other companies, and to enquire how other professionals secured a similar role. These connections are also a great way to learn about new opportunities before anyone else.
LinkedIn is a key platform for professionals looking to connect. It is also a great research tool, especially when guided by a recruitment consultant. 

3. Recommend speculative applications

Once again, it’s important to remember that not all vacancies are advertised. Suggest that employees compile a list of companies they are interested in working for, and follow up with a CV and cover letter tailored to each.
If possible, try to identify the person responsible for hiring and to address any approach to them personally. Large organisations may prefer applications to be completed online, but smaller to medium size businesses are generally more receptive to speculative applications.

4. Emphasise the benefits of volunteering

Volunteering can be a gateway into a new career. Joining a company on a voluntary basis can provide hands-on, relevant experience, and may result in hearing about internal vacancies before they are advertised. Employees could approach organisations directly to enquire about volunteering opportunities, or contact volunteering websites or networks in their area. A recruitment consultant can also help to steer employees towards interesting voluntary opportunities.

5. Encourage attendance at industry events

Networking is essential to success in the hidden job market. Industry events are an effective way to grow a professional network further, meet other professionals with similar interests, and stay current with industry news. Such events are also a good way to hear about new opportunities. 
There are plenty of ways to find out about upcoming events, but you may wish to direct employees towards: 

  • trade journals
  • recruitment consultants
  • the local council
  • The British Chambers of Commerce
  • Eventbrite.


The hidden job market: next steps?

As an employer, you no doubt feel a lot of responsibility for the future career well-being of your team. Helping them to navigate the hidden job market is one way to improve their prospects. But you don’t have to do all the work yourself. Take advantage of our recruitment expertise.

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

If your organisation is going through a process of restructuring or redundancies, partner with Hays Career Transition Services for access to high-quality modular outplacement support. We have consistently delivered positive results to employers and employees on countless occasions.


About this author

Charlotte Alvino, Business Director, Hays Career Transition Services

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