The Great Market Mystery

Imagine the glorious future when all you have to do is go online and type in the sort of job you want, the location, and maybe the target compensation… and out pop two or three job offers.

Well, we’re not quite there yet.  In fact, we may be farther away from that job seeker’s utopia than we’ve ever been because there has never been as much data available to job seekers as there is today, and oddly enough, that does not make the search any easier.

Let’s take a simple example.  Suppose you want to be a Vice President of Sales.  Nationally this morning on a popular on-line job board I found 4,577 such jobs advertised nationally, 121 in Atlanta, 49 in Houston, 31 in St. Louis, (MO)…  

Or what about CEO (376 nationally) or CFO (948 nationally—315 senior level vs. 131 entry level).

That’s too general, you say…  Well, OK.  How about a full-time Operations Manager in the food industry earning at least $80,000 per year anywhere in the US?  This morning the job board suggests there are 257 such jobs available, but only 3 in Houston and 1 in Buffalo.  

Is that better?

The fact of the matter is that there are lots of jobs advertised and, of course, hundreds of applicants for every job.  The labor involved in applying for even several of these jobs is significant, and the competition is intense.  The algorithms rule and the hiring managers have the upper hand in this “buyers’ market.”

So that is why many job seekers report frustration, anger, resentment, and even outright helplessness in the data desert that the on-line job boards have become.

Anecdotally, one person who recently contacted us claimed that he had applied for more than 100 jobs (at the Director level in “Chicagoland”), had 10 interviews, received 4 offers, and that none of those offers was attractive.  That’s why he came to us.

Another victim of too many interviews added this comment, “I really need to see someone who sees my experience and [doesn’t] tell me that I am over-qualified, and they can’t afford me.”

Only about 15% of our clients at the Barrett Group land their dream jobs through the on-line markets.  We help them to navigate the algorithms and come out on the narrow end of the lead funnel, perform well in interviews, and then negotiate a higher offer.  

So, it can be done.

Another 10% of our clients land through the recruiter market, another perfectly legitimate way to find a job—but remember, a recruiter has a very specific job description and candidate profile against which he or she screens applicants.  If you do not tick all of those boxes, you probably will not even hear back from the recruiter.

Fully 75% of our clients land their next career step through what we call the “unpublished market”—so what is this mysteriously hopeful place and how can you get there?

Call it the “back door,” or serendipity, or simply good luck… but we believe you make your own luck by doing the right things in the right way.

Firstly, you need to be clear about your targets.  That’s what the targeting stage of our process assures (the Clarity Program©).  Next you need to be packaged and branded appropriately for your target (the next stage in our process).  Only then can we really help you go to market.  

Generally we start with your own network.  You know a lot of people, but you don’t necessarily interact with them very often.  So, get networking!  Be prepared to give because “givers gain” as they say at BNI.  On LinkedIn you probably know even more people (theoretically).  And every one of them knows other people, who know other people…  

At the end of the day, if you know how to network and use the available tools, with some support from the Barrett Group’s sophisticated research capabilities, you can almost always find someone who can introduce you to your target decision makers who even now are thinking about organizational changes, unannounced vacancies, and creating new roles they have not even published.  If you happen to cross that decision maker’s desk or screen or meet him or her at some function at the right time—ta da!  You are at the head of the queue with little competition and very well placed to use the excellent personal branding and interview preparation skills we have helped you hone to land that job of your dreams.

So that’s the mysterious unpublished market.  It is everywhere around you… if you know how to look.

At the Barrett Group, we’ve had this slippery, shifting market in focus for thirty years, so let us know if you need a little guidance.  The job market does not have to be such a mystery if you have a good guide.

Peter Irish
CEO
The Barrett Group

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Our View from the Front Lines of the Job Market

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