The hidden job market

Women networking

Job vacancy websites and recruitment agencies can only get you so far in your job search. Here's our tips on how to break into the hidden job market.

A typical job search in New Zealand relies on internet websites such as Seek and TradeMe, recruiters and newspaper adverts to find a role. But have you heard of the hidden job market? There’s no secret website, no single gatekeeper, and no invite is needed. Everyone can access it through research and a good set of people skills.

How to network

Networking is all about building relationships and connections with people you trust. To create your own network you need to build relationships and communicate your career wants and needs with friends, family, work colleagues, and other business connections such as previous managers or colleagues in the same work area. Once you have made a connection, it pays to give it attention and catch up quite regularly.

With websites like, building and maintaining relationships is easier than ever. When you sign up, LinkedIn can help you create a network of connections. You’ll get notified when people in your network have an update such as changing jobs or advertising new ones. Recruiters and organisations often look on LinkedIn for potential employees, and quite often will contact people directly through the website and ask for an interview.

Networking tips

  • Social media will only get you so far. You need to maintain your relationships by having regular catch ups – try and have a phone discussion or meet for a coffee at least every couple of months. If you don’t regularly talk to people you network with, they might not think of you first when a job does become available.
  • Lots of industries have membership organisations. For a small fee, members get access to networking events and a list of contacts within that industry – it’s a great way to find out about potential jobs.
  • Works both ways – if people provide you with tips and information then you should do the same.
  • Many companies use LinkedIn to advertise jobs – you can apply for vacancies through the website and it will also tell you if anyone in your network is already working there.

Networking using recruiters

Modern recruiters have to be expert networkers in such a competitive job market. They rely on networking to build relationships with employers and job seekers so they can continue to deliver value for their clients.

You can save time and potentially achieve a positive job outcome by using recruiters. Here are some things to remember about building a network with them.

  • You must register and meet with recruiters first to get into their network. Then they will let you know when suitable roles come up.
  • Good recruiters will look at your interests, personality and values and match them to a compatible employer.
  • Expert recruiters in your area of work can tell you what you want to know about the role or company you’re considering. 
  • Talking to a recruiter can reduce the time you spend researching roles you’re interested in applying for. 
  • Most recruiters don’t advertise the roles they get – they rely on their own network of professionals to find suitable applicants.

Updated 15 Aug 2018