I've been paid ridiculous sums of money to place passive jobseekers with companies who needed to hire some specific talent. No, I don't talk it about it much and I only perform such talent searches by referral. So why mention it now? Because I'm going to share a secret that will make other headhunters gnash their teeth and send me obscenity-laced, anonymous comments. I'm going to give you the anatomy of a placement, then I'm going to backward engineer it and show jobseekers how they can use this information to find a job that isn't advertised anywhere.
Oh, and, by the way, employers who have paid headhunters to find talent for them would never again need to do so if they simply believed and then acted upon the fact that I'm about to share:
Every time an employer has paid me to "find" a white collar or technical talent, they paid me to "find" somebody they could have found on their own without my help. In other words, employers paid me to "find" people to whom they were already networked.
Here, let me show you what I mean and then I'll explain how jobseekers can use this information to hire their next boss:
Some people have the idea that headhunters are paid to go out and find total strangers. Te truth is, no employer I've ever worked with has ever hired the total strangers I've brought them. They end up hiring the candidate to whom they were already networked through one of their existing employees or through some professional organization or through some college fraternity or sorority or through some other social or professional connections. I've sometimes collected 5-figure checks for bringing en employer somebody to whom they were already connected in multiple ways and could have easily found on their own if they had tried. And what this means is that if the employer was already networked to the eventual successful candidate, the same thing was true in reverse: the eventual successful job candidate was already networked to an unadvertised job.
I'm not saying there isn't some headhunter out there somewhere whose client hasn't hired a total stranger, I'm just saying it hasn't happened to me. And I'm saying that once the jobseeker understands that he or she is already networked to somebody who can offer him a job that hasn't been advertised anywhere, that jobseeker will stop sending resumes to strangers and will start figuring out who he already knows who can introduce him to his next boss.
Someone reading this post has sent out 1,000 resumes and hasn't yet found a job. To that reader I say your way isn't working, why not try my way? Start systematically asking everybody you know for help. If you have a Linkedin account, start at "A" and contact all your first level connections. Do the same thing with your Facebook friends. Tell your neighbors you're looking for a job. Don't be embarrassed. A lot of good people are out of work.
And when you ask for their help, don't ask people to tell you about job openings; ask them to introduce you to somebody who hires people like you. Ask them to make a phone call for you or send an email for you or, better yet, arrange a meeting. Coffee at Starbucks. Lunch. Tennis. Golf. Any kind of meeting will do. An introduction is a tacit endorsement and it moves you from the total stranger category to the friend-of-a-friend category. Somebody you already know can introduce you to your next boss.