Do Some Sleuthing: One Key to Breaking in, Is Understanding The “Hidden” Job Market

Photo by Benjamin Dada on Unsplash
Photo by Benjamin Dada on Unsplash

Job hunting is in itself a rigorously engaging process. It’s not just an activity, but rather a series of activities. It entails more than drafting a résumé and a smart cover letter, as well as having those sent off to the employer.

Lots of research always precedes all successful job hunting. Research on the company is vital: what the company is about and including the very name of the recipient. Many overlook the idea of research.

Katharine Hansen in Sleuthing Out Hiring Managers is key to Job-Search Follow up states the fact that,

Career experts are virtually unanimous on the two key points in the job search: 1) job-search correspondence- résumés and cover letters- should always be addressed to a specific, named individual, preferably the hiring manager for the job you’re applying for. 2) after sending their résumés and cover letters, job-seekers should follow up with the hiring managers to attempt to secure an interview appointment.

However, in most cases the names of hiring managers are not mentioned in the job advertisement. Part of it could be, because they do want to see candidates’ determination to finding that out. That may in itself, show the level of drive and interest in the job opening at hand.

No company will hire a wheelbarrow- someone who’s to always be pushed in order to get things done. Show some initiative, by sleuthing a bit.

In our fiercely competitive job markets, Sleuthing remains the only possible way of getting to know about what’s trending. Some managers only have job openings in their minds. So for those waiting for a public notice, such opportunities may be lost.

Almost always, people who do the job of a detective in the job market are the ones who reap the rewards. Lazing around and complaining about corruption in the hiring world has never got anyone employed. But those who choose to go some extra miles, always smile in the end.

Remaining well conversant with basic information such as, who hiring managers are takes some plucky and persistent detective work.

Below are a few tips on how to become effective in sleuthing according to Vanessa on 11 Secrets to Sleuth your way to a New Job,

  • Even if you are junior, you can get recruited from LinkedIn: so make sure that profile counts! It’s always wise to meet recruiters because even if you aren’t a good fit for the position at hand, they may find another one that fits well with your skills/goals.
  • Online job boards are not dead: these may help you get a job even if you know no one internally, but apply online.
  • Don’t be afraid to quit your job before getting another one: if you give into the pressure to jump from job to job, you may not end up in the right place. You need some time to determine new targets.
  • Don’t treat contract jobs like the plague:  sure you don’t get benefits, but it is a great way to test the waters of a company/ role you aren’t sure of, without long-term commitment.
  • Spend up to 2-3 hours on each job application: research the company, scrutinize the job description to identify what the company is looking for and tailor your résumé and cover letter to those needs.

Katharine believes the following can be of help:

  • Make a phone call: the most straightforward way is to simply call the company’s main switchboard number and ask the name of the hiring manager in question.
  • Tap into your network: one important key to finding out contact names is networking. If you’ve done as much networking as you should as part of your job-search efforts, you may find it relatively easy to get names. Joining professional organizations is one of the fastest, easiest ways to learn names of hiring honchos in your target companies.
  • Become a proficient researcher: if you learn as much as you can about how to research companies, there’s a reasonable chance you will uncover information about the best person to contact.

It is apparent that without research on the job hunter’s part, failure will be a common experience. Doing what you must as a detective in today’s job markets has become crucial for success.


Teboho Polanka
Teboho is a Social Worker, Writer and Inspirational Speaker. He is in pursuit of MSc. in Managerial Psychology. Graduates are able to apply psychological principles and methods to tackle challenges in the work environment and provide effective practical solutions. Acting as industrial-organizational psychologists.