Why Recruiters Are Reaching Out To Candidates Directly & How to Access This Hidden Job Market

If you’re struggling to get in front of hiring managers, it could be because recruiters are shifting away from traditional methods to find candidates.

In this article, we’ll cover the causes behind this shift and how job seekers can meet recruiters where they are.

The Hidden Job Market

In 2021, employers everywhere experienced the Great Resignation, a phenomenon in which employees quit their jobs in droves. This means many things: There are a lot of openings now due to the mass quitting and the job market is more competitive because there are more job seekers.

In a TikTok video, career coach and former recruiter J.T. O’Donnell argues that the reason many job seekers are struggling to find desirable positions is that there’s a shortage of them. What’s out there, she says, is the undesirable jobs that people quit in 2021.

@j.t.odonnell @j.t.odonnell How I predict job layoffs. #edutok #careertiktok #layoff #recession #jobs #jobsearch #jobsearchtips #learnontiktok #careeradvice #career #joblife #worklife #linkedin #resume ♬ original sound - J.T. O'Donnell

Now, they’re looking for better benefits, higher salaries, hybrid/remote work, and better work/life balance.

This is where the hidden job market comes in, job roles that are filled through internal candidates, referrals, or recruits.

Recruiters like O’Donnell and Stacey Perkins argue that recruiters are no longer posting on public job boards for certain roles, as that can cost a lot of money and resources. Instead, they’re reaching out directly to candidates they believe will be well suited for the role.

"That's all happening right now as part of the Great Restructuring of 2022,” said O’Donnell in a video shared on TikTok.

She continues, “And people don't realize that and get frustrated and feel bad about themselves like ‘What's wrong with me?’ There's nothing wrong with you. You just don't know the new rules to career success and jobs."

This begs the question: Where are they finding them and how can job seekers make themselves more visible? We’ll tackle that in the next section.

How to Access the Hidden Job Market

1. Optimize your LinkedIn profile.

Many recruiters are contacting desired candidates on this social network, even if those candidates are currently not seeking new opportunities.

Those who are open to new opportunities have optimized LinkedIn profiles that allow recruiters to find them quickly.

The thing is, if your profile isn’t optimized for the job you’re seeking, recruiters won’t find you when conducting searches.

Here are some tips to improve your profile:

  • Keep your headline specific and concise – Don’t crowd your headline with a bunch of keywords. Stick to the title that aligns with your desired role.
  • Add a descriptive bio – In your bio, you have the space to boast about your skills and show off your personality. Take advantage!
  • Have a profile and banner image – Both should be complementary and tell viewers something about you.
  • Add interesting projects to your Featured section – So many tools within LinkedIn are underutilized, including this one. If applicable, take a few projects from your portfolio and add them here so they’re easily scannable.

2. Expand your network.

When looking for a new job, often the best place to turn to is your network.

They’re the ones who can refer you to jobs within the hidden market and make recommendations. If you’re struggling to build your network, here are ways to get started:

  • Attend conferences and industry events.
  • Be active on social media and engage with colleagues.
  • Join professional groups and/or associations to build a community. E.g. “Black Marketers in Texas” or “National Marketing Association”

3. Reach out to recruiters and companies directly.

Why wait for recruiters to find you? Instead, consider reaching out to hiring managers directly if you feel your skills would be a good fit for their team.

Even if you don’t see a job posting, you may have a dream company in mind. If so, don’t be afraid to be proactive and reach out to them. Share your interest in the company, your skills, and how you feel you could add value to the company.

Even if they don’t have any openings currently, doing this will make a strong impression and may land you your next gig once they do have room.

4. Subscribe to news alerts.

When you sign up for news alerts, you can stay up to date with companies, where they’re headed, and when they’re hiring – even if they haven’t yet announced it.

For instance, say a company announces they’re expanding to the East Coast and will open up offices in New York. That tells you that if they haven’t started already, they will soon start hiring.

From there, you can reach out to the company and pitch yourself.

Setting up a Google Alert is easy:

  • Head to this page.
  • Type in the term and/or company you want to receive alerts on.
  • Set parameters around how often you want to receive alerts, which regions they should come from, and where they should be delivered.

In this competitive job market, job seekers have to go above and beyond to secure the positions they want. These tips should help you access the hidden job market and get in front of the recruiters you want.

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