The statistics prove the results – more than 75% of jobs are filled before they are formally advertised.
At one time or another, you may have even experienced finding a job through a resource other than by submitting your resume to a job board for an advertised position.
Executives have all heard about the hidden job market, back door career opportunities, or whatever you want to label it.
Knowing the job opening’s lifecycle is key.
Part 1: No job opening, but…
There are a few people in any organization that “know” that Tom is moving to Texas or that Susan’s boss wants to terminate her for poor performance. But, in these instances, the savvy business practice is to replace the employee before they leave, or as soon as possible.
So employees “in the know” start networking. They mention this potential opening to family and friends, maybe even start searching LinkedIn for people that would be a good match for the position.
Because they have a vested interest in helping find a replacement that would be a good fit with them, for the organization, and be an asset to the team. Since HR isn’t yet aware of this opening, they aren’t trying to fill the position… yet.
If you, as an executive job seeker, would inquire about a position with this company at this point, you would be told by HR that there are no openings. All the while others may be having conversations with “people in the know” and lining up for these positions.
Part 2: Department has knowledge of a job opening
Word is out in the department now that there is an opening and a request is being created for HR. This process is not always a speedy one, and it could take weeks or months before HR has the information it needs to post the opening.
If you are not networking with someone in the company “in the know,” you still won’t have access to the privileged information that a position exists. It’s still not yet officially announced company-wide.
In the meantime, more employees are “in the know” and networking with family, friends, and acquaintances. The network of potential candidates for these positions is growing, they are speaking directly to the executives and their team, and in some instances being offered the position.
Part 3: Business unit releases job opening info to HR
Okay, so now HR is informed and accepting resumes for the open opportunity. They are quickly inundated with resumes, as you might imagine, and your ability to rise to the top of the pile of 1,000 is limited by shear numbers.
Revisiting the statistics, your chance at this point is 25% or less. HR’s job at first strike is to weed people out – in other words, they are looking at the reasons not to hire you rather than why you might be a good candidate. The competition is higher and the chance of being chosen for an interview is lower. That’s not the best position to be in as an executive job seeker, obviously.
The best use of your job search efforts is … networking. I know many of you don’t want to hear that, but it’s true. It is tempting to chase after job opportunities you find on the internet that describe your perfect next job. However, have you seen the numbers that LinkedIn reveals on the number of candidates that have applied to that position? Sometimes thousands, even at the executive level.
Networking creates those back-door connections that put you face-to-face with the person who needs/wants to hire you. Getting acquainted with those people before a job becomes available can open doors for you before the competition is even aware of the position.