You’re probably at least somewhat familiar with the term “the hidden job market.” In this blog I am first going to define what usually is meant by the term and then I am going to strongly recommend a book that, in addition to “‘Headhunter’ Hiring Secrets: The Rules of the Hiring Game Have Changed . . . Forever!,” can show you how to powerfully and effectively tap into this segment of the job market and Get Hired! That book is entitled, Snap Selling,  by prolific international best-selling business author and sales strategist Jill Konrath.

Contrary to what most people think, companies are still hiring today! As this blog is being written (July 2, 2011), our firm is recruiting for over 35 open positions! Manpower’s third quarter Employment Outlook Survey indicates that 20% of U. S. employers surveyed said they expect to add to their workforce (up from 16% over the second quarter and up 14% from the first quarter), while nearly seven out of ten said they do not expect any change in staffing levels.

Positions are being filled

What this means is, about eight out of ten U. S. employers have at least the potential to hire in the third quarter. But wait, you might say . . . didn’t you just state that seven out of ten companies don’t anticipate any change in staffing levels?! Yes, I did, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that there will be no hiring by these companies. All it means is that these companies don’t expect any net increase (or decrease, for that matter) in staffing levels. People resign (or are let go), get promoted, etc., and, unlike during the recession, these positions are being filled. Quite often it is this segment of the job market that is referred to as the “hidden job market.” These jobs will almost never be advertised or posted online but they nonetheless still exist.

The hidden job market

Two current, personal examples of available jobs in the “hidden job market”: One of our recruiting firm’s main clients, a $4+ billion chemical company, has asked us to confidentially start looking for candidates to fill a business development role. And, a $250 million division of a $12 billion company has asked us to do the same thing. You will never find either one of these jobs posted—ever!

Now, to Jill Konrath’s “Snap Selling”:

Selling in 2011 is tougher than ever and to be successful, sales professionals must know (or learn!) “how to sell to today’s crazy, busy, frazzled customers.” So how does this relate to the job hunt? As a job seeker, one is, in every sense of the word, a salesperson. Yes, even if you are an engineer, a chemist, an accountant or an IT professional, if you are interested in pursuing a new career opportunity, you must become a sales professional. Thus, wherever you read “sales professional” in the next few paragraphs, substitute the phrase “job seeker.”

Today the ONLY sales professionals who break through the clutter and get the attention of a decision-maker are the ones who brand themselves as completely focused on the customer’s business and the positive impact that they can have on it. Failure to take this approach, Konrath illustrates, almost always results in the sales person (job seeker) being “zapped from their in-box, tossed into the trash can or deleted from their voice mail.”

How, then, do you get the attention of a busy, frazzled, harried decision-maker? You must construct and implement what Konrath refers to as a SNAP message:

  • Simple
  • iNvaluable
  • Aligned
  • a Priority

In regard to job hunting, what is significant to note here is that this approach could never be effectively implemented in a response to an online or “advertised” job posting! On the other hand, it is tailor-made to use for tapping into the “hidden job market!”

What is Snap selling?

Let’s take a closer look at the elements of “SNAP Selling” as they relate to job hunting:

Keep it Simple – In communicating with a potential hiring manager, you must ensure simplicity in everything you do. (Is your résumé brief and easy to read? Are you able to easily be contacted? Can a hiring manager quickly and easily comprehend the message you are delivering and quickly assess the impact it can have on the hiring company?)

iNvaluable – To get hired, you must be bringing fresh ideas. You must brand yourself as a person the company seemingly can’t live without!

Aligned – Frazzled hiring managers must see an immediate connection between what you do and what they are trying to achieve. What research have you done to understand what it is the company is trying to do and achieve and what can you do to help them do that?

Priority – Frazzled decision-makers only work on high priority items. You must make hiring you one of their TOP priorities. This concept is especially true as you implement your “touch plan” (See “‘Headhunter’ Hiring Secrets” for full details on this concept).

If you don’t deliver a SNAP message, Jill clearly points out, you will be hit with the dreaded “delete key!”

Get ready for your next career move

Job hunting is tougher than ever before. Hiring managers are under extreme pressure to do more with less and to not make any hiring mistakes.

Obviously I have only hit upon the highlights of Konrath’s hard hitting book. When you get ready to make your next career move, it is imperative that you don’t do it alone. Take Jill Konrath’s “Snap Selling” with you!


Skip Freeman is the author of “Headhunter” Hiring Secrets: The Rules of the Hiring Game Have Changed . . . Forever! and is the President and Chief Executive Officer of The HTW Group (Hire to Win), an Atlanta, GA, Metropolitan Area Executive Search Firm. Specializing in the placement of sales, engineering, manufacturing and R&D professionals, he has developed powerful techniques that help companies hire the best and help the best get hired.