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Hidden Job Market Strategy Tips

Did you realize that something like only 5 out of 1000 online job applications ever make it to the hiring manager's desk? Not only is that very discouraging, but who has that kind of time to waste in their job search, anyway?

That's why learning to tap into the hidden job market is so important--it boosts your odds in a big way and gets you results much, much faster....and I have a method for finding them that’s guaranteed to work for anyone.

I've got so much I want to tell you about it that I just can't get it all into a blog post (I'm not interested in a fast track to Carpal Tunnel Syndrome). So, I made a video:

Finding Hidden Jobs

All you have to do is click the link and sit back to watch.  In the video, I tell you

  • Why your job search is so frustrating—even if you’re GREAT at what you do
  • How to get several interviews in the next couple of weeks
  • How people like you have been getting multiple offers by tapping the hidden job market

Watch the video

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  1. That is very informative to know. That is probably the reason I never heard from any potential employers.
    Jeff

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    Feedback: 11 positive, 42 negative
  2. Claudio Boccalon

    I'm quite interested in understand how it works?

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    Feedback: 6 positive, 35 negative
  3. This presentation was totally wonderful and it left me realizing that there was so much to learn to move forward with my career growth concerns.
    You will be totally pleased and eager for so much more knowledge. Enjoy.

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    Feedback: 3 positive, 15 negative
  4. Leah Gaerlan

    I am very much intereste in knowing to get around this stumbling block.

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    Feedback: 2 positive, 14 negative
  5. Maria Martinez

    I want to find out how to get the jobs that really interest me, where I want them, not just ANY OLD JOB. As an RN, BSN, ADON - I am interested in spreading my knowledge at the location,state, of my choice. I am soon moving to another state. The webinar sounds really interesting.

    Was this review helpful to you? Yes   No

    Feedback: 1 positive, 14 negative
  6. INDIVIDUAL AND GROUP SPOT OPPORTUNITY PROCESS
    OR
    HOW TO CRACK INTO THE HIDDEN JOB MARKET

    NOTHING CAN HAPPEN UNTIL YOU MEET WITH THE KEY DECISION MAKER. TO ACCOMPLISH THIS YOU MUST GIVE THAT PERSON A COMPELLING REASON (S) TO INITIALLY OPEN A DIALOG WITH YOU, NEXT INVITE YOU IN TO MEET AND FINALLY OPEN AN ONGOING RELATIONSHIP WHICH LEADS TO THE RIGHT POSITION FOR THE RIGHT REASONS. IT IS NOT UNUSUAL THAT A POSITION DOES NOT EXIST UPON INITIAL CONTACT, BUT THAT ONE CAN BE CREATED ONCE THE FACE-TO-FACE DIALOGUE HAS BEEN INITIATED.

    A REALITY CHECK

    *It is becoming increasingly difficult to get by the many gate keepers in an organization. Typically a cold call will result in a “thanks but we are not hiring” or a redirect to HR where you are told to simply send a resume or register on the site.

    *Responding to ads, particularly those on the broad horizontal boards such as Monster of Career Builder can attract 3K to 4K responses. Although many responders are totally unqualified and look upon their response as a way to get into the company database, creating an overwhelming task for HR to address. It is not unusual that HR simply uses a scanning tool looking for key words as the emails arrive. These key words may or may not be the most appropriate but HR will pull out 7 to 10 candidates from the first 200. Thus many of the most qualified candidates are missed. Remember, most often HR is in the business of looking for reasons to reject a candidate. Also typically, the most important core competencies are not discovered until candidates meet with the hiring manager and together they go through a full discovery process which flushes those out. It is not unusual that the selected candidate is very different than the defined candidate in the initial position description. Also as one moves up the corporate ladder those positions are less likely to be advertised. AS A MATTER OF COURSE YOU SHOULD ALWAYS RESPOND TO ANY AND ALL ADVERTISEMENTS THAT YOU FEEL YOU HAVE THE SKILL SETS TO MEET THE REQUIREMENTS EVEN IF IT IS BELOW OR ABOVE YOUR TARGET POSITION. ONCE IN THE INTERVIEW YOU CAN OFTEN MOVE IT IN THE DIRECTION WHERE YOU BECOME THE PERFECT CANDIDATE. YOU CAN ALSO UPGRADE THE POSITION TO A HIGHER LEVEL BY BUILDING THE IMPORTANCE OF THE POSITION DURING THE INTERVIEW. YOU WILL ALSO USE THE AVAILABITY OF A POSITION AS BUSINESS INTELLIGENCE IN THE SPOT OPPORTUNITY PROCESS.

    *Recruiters can be great time wasters. If they have a position available there will be value in opening a dialog. If not, unless the recruiter is one of the limited recruiters that has solid relationships with local companies and has the approval to bring qualified candidates to a company even if a position does not exist, getting into a long time-wasting discussion can create false hope and loss of inertia in a campaign. On average, only 5% of positions are filled by recruiters. In today’s market it is so easy for companies to find people and people to find companies, why would a company spend 30% to 35% of a candidate’s compensation package unless the position was very unique, the skill set required was difficult to find or there was as a need for confidentiality. AGAIN, REGISTER WITH KEY FUNCTIONAL AND INDUSTRY RECRUITERS AND RESPOND TO ALL RELEVANT ADS BY RECRUITERS. You may not be the best candidate for the position they are filling but the initial contact and opportunity to open a dialogue with a recruiter may lead to opportunities down the road. A good recruiter can also be a good source of industry intelligence and feed back on your credentials and marketability.

    *Sending unsolicited intro letter (“I am available give me a call”). These come in by the thousands and most often end up being sent directly to HR for dumping or scanning. If they do get through to a potential hiring manager’s gate keeper, unless there is a compelling reason to pass it to the manager it gets sent to HR or thrown out. This is most often a waste of time, paper and postage but give a job seeker a feeling that he or she is doing something while wasting valuable time in the job search process. The lack of response or receipt of rejection letters can be psychologically devastating resulting in loss of interest in the campaign and a feeling of hopelessness. If an interview is given (most often acquired through another channel), the desperation and diminished self confidence will often sabotage the interview.

    *Despite answering ads and sending intro letters, increasingly companies do not respond as they see no need. The sender most often gets no feedback as to whether it was received. If a response is sent it is the “thanks but no thanks we will keep your resume on file” or “we do not accept unsolicited letters or resumes, go to our website and register”. If the response comes from a senior level executive or his or her administrative assistant, call and thank him or her for the response. “I just wanted to thank your for responding to my letter of application to your advertisement for a ______. As you can appreciate very few companies send any form of acknowledgment. Again, I just wanted to thank you for your consideration” This will often open a dialogue and may lead to an opportunity that otherwise was dead. Most importantly though, the fact that a position exist can be leveraged by using the “Spot Opportunity” process discussed later.

    *Although networking can deliver significant results, many people have not established solid networks and quickly run out of people to contact. Strategies exist to build additional networking contacts but they can be time consuming and result in significantly extending a campaign as the job seeker sits and waits for the anticipated call. Networking can also limit your sphere of opportunity as it can create both industry and geographic constraints. It is an important part of a campaign but its limitations must be considered. Employing the new social media, with an emphasis on groups such as Linkedin can extend your reach if used effectively. A key trap in the networking process is to assume that if you know a person in a company of interest and you give that person your resume it will virtually guarantee an interview. This seldom happens unless that person is in a position of significant authority. The best that may come is a brief call or meeting with HR as a way of placating the referring employee. The best way to leverage an internal contact is to use that person’s knowledge of the company, its challenges and the key contacts as solid business intelligence. This information can then be used to craft a very direct and targeted spot opportunity approach to the decision maker using the knowledge gained as a “hook” to grab that person’s interest.

    Networking can also be used as an effective tool to get to key decision makers. Most often contacts do not work with companies that have a position open or can help you open an opportunity within their company as discussed above but they may have a contact that could be very useful. It is best to approach a personal contact seeking industry information or referral to someone who your contact knows who could be of value. It could be a person in a company that you have an interest in or in an industry of interest to you. By using this approach you are not putting your associate in a position where he or she feels obligated to push your resume in his or her company. If the offer is made, accept it but focus more on who he or she knows that could help your cause. Develop a third party letter of recommendation that your associate can use as it removes this task as something that can often get in the way of the referral. Having your associate send this letter first with your follow-up phone call is far better than simply calling unannounced.

    THE KEY TO GETTING TO THE RIGHT PERSON

    As indicated above, you must get a compelling message into the hands of the right person and then have a means to get directly to that person by bypassing the gate keepers or getting through them. The typical intro letter with a request for the recipient to call seldom works.

    You must also approach the decision maker positioning yourself as a SOLUTION to a set of well defined KEY CHALLENGES and not as a person seeking employment or a person trying to sell a consulting service. The only reason that an opportunity will be opened is that the core competencies, skill sets and accomplishments you bring to the organization are consistent with the challenges that the organization is facing. Any good decision maker will look at you as a potential asset and as any good decision maker, will be looking at the return he or she will get on that asset. Your initial mission through a document (spot opportunity letter) is to present a high enough potential return to encourage the decision maker to open the dialogue. Once opened, the mission is to continue building the potential return to so as to be invited in to discuss ways that you could make a major contribution to helping that firm meet those challenges. If at all possible you want to define those challenges as having a potential, measurable and significant negative impact on the organization. People are motivated more by fear of loss than opportunity or gain. This is part of the branding process which positions you as a unique and potential highly valuable asset and not just one more person who wants to waste the time of the decision maker.

    There are two spot opportunity strategies: Individual and Group.

    INDIVIDUAL

    This will be specific to a company. It could be a business downturn, margin erosion, loss of sales, customers or market share. It could also be the challenges of not successfully integrating an acquisition, launching new products, penetrating new markets or accounts. This information will come from press releases, financial reports, letters to shareholders, news articles, networking, trade publications, etc.

    You can also identify these opportunities at trade shows (key note speakers, presenters). You do not have to go you can often find the abstracts on the show website.

    The needed document is a letter that allows you to customize the first paragraph to target the specific reason you are contacting the decision maker, followed by a set of five or six challenges that you feel he or she may be facing in addressing the identified situation. These must obviously be challenges that you can provide proof positive that you could help the company address. The next few paragraphs come from your resume and include your positioning statement, four or five relevant and impactful achievements and your education. The last paragraph is a call to action in which you confirm a time certain that you will follow up. This time certain is critical as it is a very powerful tool to help you get by the gate keepers and to encourage the decision maker to accept your call.

    This letter can also be used for implementing group spot opportunity strategies and for approaching a company that has advertised a position of interest. You never indicate that you are responding to a position you simply use the fact that the company is seeking a new employee as an indicator of opportunity.

    GROUP

    This is a highly efficient way of creating opportunities. Again the communication vehicle is a letter not unlike the letter used for individual situations. The first paragraph is more general in nature suggesting that the decision maker’s team (specific to your area of expertise) may be stretched thin. This is followed with five or six broad but well defined and impactful and relevant challenges that virtually any company may be facing. These challenges must be of such significance that if not addressed any one could have an obvious negative impact on the success of the company. Without that level of impact you will most likely not generate the needed emotional response to open a dialog. You identify 10 to 12 companies of similar size in an industry and send the group spot letter with a staggered but specific time for follow up.

    In each case the Law of Reciprocity is at work. If you have taken the time to identify a specific challenge being faced by a company or a set of key challenges it may be facing, two things happen. Firstly it shows that you have taken the time and care enough about the company to not just send a generic vague letter of introduction. And secondly, if the hooks (challenges) included catch the recipients attention and the accomplishments highlighted support your ability to address those challenges, there is almost an automatic willingness to at least take your call. That is if you care enough about the target company to have customized the letter the company will care enough about you to at least accept the call.

    THE PROCESS

    Whether Individual or Group the process is the same. The Group is simply replicating the Individual model.

    1) Using Hoovers (or some other available source), build target lists by industries of highest interest. Keep the industry selection to 3 or 4. Within each target list select 10 to 12 companies of great interest. Within the short list, if there are specific companies of highest interest, mark those for further research. If you have specific companies you would like to include, list those separately for an individual approach.

    2) For each industry group determine five to seven key challenges that your functional target could be facing. For example-revenue, margin and share loss, loss of customers, inability to capture new customers, competitive intrusion, insufficient cash flow, collection problems, quality issues, declining productivity, problems attracting and keeping high quality employees, liability concerns, SOX challenges, inability to enter new channels or the international market, etc. In each case pick challenges that if not addressed could have a major negative impact on the company and challenges that you have the competencies, skills and proven ability to address. Put yourself in the seat of the senior manager you would be reporting to and say “If a person approached me with these challenges identified and showed me how he or she had addressed these in the past the least I could do would be to accept his or her call as some or all of theses are seminal challenges my company is facing”. Each company in an industry may not have all of the challenges, but if identified and described correctly, they will be the hooks necessary to capture the attention of the recipient of the letter and encourage the opening of a dialogue.

    3) Create a spot letter for each industry. In most cases one will suit all. For each identified challenge you should have an example of an accomplishment that confirms your ability to address. If there are specific unique challenges it is simply a matter of dropping one of the broad challenges, inserting the new challenge and swapping out an accomplishment to support the unique challenge. Test the content with friends or associates to ensure that the hooks are strong and the accomplishments are strong evidence of your ability to meet the challenges.

    4) Identify the person in each company who would be the most appropriate target. Typically you would target a person two levels above your target position. If that person’s name is not readily available from Hoovers, the company website or some other public source, pick up the phone and call the company and ask for the person’s name. If you are asked the purpose simply state you wish to send him or her some information. If pressed, simply indicate it is concerning the company’s competitive position. If you have identified a specific challenge that you have included in the first paragraph of the letter you can mention that or if you have found a presentation made by the recipient or an article about the recipient or company, you can use that as the reason for confirming the name as you will already know the person’s name.

    5) Set up the letter on your computer and use the mail merge capability to generate the hard copy (always use first class not email). Type each letter with a unique “time certain” for follow-up. Give four to five working days before following up. If you are doing a group campaign leave an hour between each call so that if a discussion is opened you have time to close for the meeting and can take a breather between each.

    6) Send the letter (letters) out and follow up as stated in your letter.

    7) There are at least three firewalls you must get by: the front desk (switchboard), the admin assistant and the targeted recipient. In each case the objective is to get to the decision maker and not simply be sent to HR or told “We are not hiring. The content of the letter is designed to help. If the front desk asks the nature of the call, simply confirm you are contacting the recipient as at the time you indicated you would. If the admin assistant asks, respond as above but reinforce by reminding her of the challenges included in the letter. Do not suggest that these challenges are all present but “may” be present. Typically the admin assistant will have seen the letter. As it includes a number of challenges she knows her boss is faced with through discussions, memos, minutes of meetings etc and the fact that a time certain is included, you can often engage her as an accomplice in the process. She often serves as a triage center and will know the disposition of the letter. If passed to her boss, use her to get to him at that time or to id a time to call if he is not in. If passed to another senior exec, have her call and forward you to that person. By engaging her in the process and respecting her power, you can often turn her from a major roadblock into a willing helper. If you get directly to the recipient, confirm receipt and immediately steer the conversation to the challenges. DO NOT COME ACROSS AS A JOB SEEKER AS YOU WILL BE SENT TO HR. POSITION YOURSELF AS A SOLUTION TO THE CHALLENGES IDENTIFIED. Once the dialogue is opened, respect the time of the recipient. The objective is to get a face-to-face meeting. Speak long-enough to achieve a high enough level of interest to get the recipient to agree to a meeting. If you get the target recipient’s voice mail simply confirm you are callings at the time indicated and that you will try him at the came time tomorrow. Do not go into a “sales pitch” as you will come across as just one more person trying to waste his time or get a job.

    The key to success is persistence. Continue contacting each company until you are successful in getting to the decision maker or it becomes very apparent that it is not to be.

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  7. @ Bill Shambrook
    Bill, Thanks for sharing; this is the best approach I've seen! Is this a summary of Peggy's course?

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    Feedback: 6 positive, 4 negative
  8. Michael Hill

    Mr. Shambrook:

    Thank you for the great information. I have been looking for about a year and started to work with a local company on improving my marketing and prospecting. Reading your information, I can see that the approach is leading to something like what you mentioned.

    I agree, with so many people going for so few jobs that getting in front of the person who you will work for (decision maker) and not the HR person who may or may not understand the words on a technical resume (Six Sigma, Process Improvement, 7 Why's, etc.) is the key to success.

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