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Saturday, October 23, 2010

Why most jobs are never advertised?

Employers' reluctance to advertise is partly tied to the economy. Despite fluctuations, unemployment numbers remain relatively low in the United States. With the vast majority of the adult population employed, employers assume not many prospective workers will be scanning the want ads and Internet job postings. With a limited audience for their ads, employers are disinclined to spend money on advertising for workers. 

The second reason is more psychological. The people who read want ads are looking for jobs. While it might seem that an employer offering jobs and people looking for jobs are a perfect match, that's not often the case in the employer's mind. The employer has to wonder, Why is this person looking for a job? The answer that pops into the employer's head, whether fairly or not, is probably not a positive one. People look for jobs, many employers believe, because they are unhappy losers, job-hoppers, or unproductive malcontents who blame poor performance on their employers and believe switching jobs will solve their problems. Employers would rather go after people called "passive candidates" who aren't necessarily looking for work. In the employer's mind, those people will be successful, productive contributors to the company's bottom line. 

Employers also know that the best candidates are likely to be those referred to them through word of mouth. It is only when employers are truly desperate to fill an opening that they place an ad. 

Ohio State University career counselor B. J. O'Bruba said: "The last place I want to pull applicants from is the classified ads of major newspapers. Classified ad applicants are unreferred, untested, and unknown. The first place I look for applicants is within my current or previous organizations or applicants who were referred to me by professional colleagues and acquaintances. These applicants are better referenced, tested, and known." 

Further, busy employers simply don't have the time to go through the mountains of resumes an ad is likely to produce, especially an Internet ad, which can draw thousands of responses because of the relative ease of responding to such an ad. Employers often find it far more efficient to ask their employees and other members of their personal networks to refer high-quality candidates to them. 

Finally, the process of defining job vacancies can take a long time. In some companies, a year or more can elapse between initial conceptualization of a job and actually filling the position. Thus, at any given time, theoretical positions may exist within an organization, but the formal mechanisms of funding, structuring, and writing a job description for the position mean that the job cannot yet be advertised. That's another reason networking is so valuable. If you can tap into a job in its embryonic stages, you will have a huge advantage over those who wait to answer ads. Let's say Megabucks Corporation is planning a position that you're well qualified for, but the firm is six months away from advertising the job. You don't know about the position, but your networking efforts lead you to a key person, Joe Honcho, at Megabucks. After talking with you, Honcho attends a meeting and tells his colleagues, "Hey, I just met someone who would be great for that position we're working on." The management team may even decide to reshape the job to fit your unique qualifications. With his team's blessing, Honcho gets you in for a series of interviews. Megabucks still may not be able to hire you until all the t's are crossed and the i's dotted, but once the job is official, you are in all before Megabucks even had the chance to advertise the position.

1 comment:

  1. If I extrapolate your reasoning to the "job seeker" side, that means to look for jobs where there are NOT ADVERTISED. Which means going directly to potential employers, both companies and individuals (i.e. connections through Linked-In, professional organizations, etc.) From my experience, going to companies through the HR / recruiting door does not work for jobs that are not approved or listed. A recruiting manager will not pass on a resume to a department manager just because someone from the outside asked them to do it. So now comes the challenge of getting into a company and finding the people who may hire you, department managers, etc. Which is what sales people or all kind do every day.
    >> Do you have a perspective / tips / ideas of how to approach this situation from the candidate / job seeker side? This is especially crucial for experienced professional who are eyeballing a specific company (competitors, complementary product.)
    Good ideas and nice logic overall ! !


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