The Phantom Job Market – How Jobs Get Filled

The Phantom Job Market – How Jobs Get Filled

How to find a job

Phantom of the Jobera (Getty Images)

This article in the Wall Street Journal jumped out at me last week:
The Phantom Job Market: How Jobs Get Filled

The phantom job market is a cool title and it reflects our worst fears, doesn’t it? That jobs are out there and they are being filled but we’re missing out on it because we’re not “in the know.” I used to teach a “how to find a job” seminar and I’m going to share a little tidbit from that talk.

To find a job, start where jobs are created.

Companies are full of people like you and me. People looking at a series of problems and trying to solve those problems. Like that guy in the picture up there. He might be saying “peas and carrots, peas and carrots” but chances are he’s talking to an employer trying to solve a problem.

Just where do jobs come from anyways?

I use the decision funnel to describe this process. (It works for everything)

4 Step Decision Process

Making Decisions

At the top of the funnel, the woman who is going to give you your next job is working on a series of problems. Problems that plague her business. At the very top the problem may or may not be all that well defined, but it’s there. She’s aware.

Once that problem starts to move to the top of the list, she starts looking for solutions. “Can we solve this in house?” “Can we hire a consultant?” “Are there others that have solved this same problem?” She’s not ready to take action, but she’s working on a solution.

After this “research” phase, she moves into the phase where she’s looking at real solutions. If it’s a new employee, she’s probably asking for internal referrals. It might sound like this, “If anyone knows a good front desk person, send them my way. I want to talk.” This is that Phantom Job Market that the WSJ is referring to because this job has not been posted anywhere and may not be posted.

The last stage of a new job comes when we’ve exhausted our referrals and acquaintances. We post it. At this point, we know the problem pretty well. We’ve decided on the value of the solution and we’re ready to poll the general public.

That’s where those crazy job postings come to life. The ones that you read and say, “Really? Someone with X # of years experience, that technology, and that specific of a reference for that pay? No way. I’m close. I’ll apply.”

I’m here to tell you that the specific “someone” that they want to find is really out there. No joke.

So what can you do?

I have a full fledged strategy that works for you. Swear. It all starts with knowing this:

When the problem is nothing but a twinkle in the boss’s eye, if you show up with a solution, you’re probably competing with 1 other person at most and you can help define the solution.

When the problem is in “research” mode and you show up with a solution, you’re probably competing with 1 or 2 other people at most. The solution is going to be a little further defined.

When the problem is in “who do we know?” mode and you show up with a solution, you’re probably competing with 3 to 5 people. Maybe. The solution is in hand and the investment is nearly set.

When the problem is only solved by publicly posting it and you submit your resume for “consideration”, you’re competing with literally hundreds and hundreds of people. Truly. Not only is the solution set, but it’s probably set in stone. The investment is definitely set.

See where I’m going with this?

Stop looking for a job and start looking at the problems you can solve. Everyone can solve a problem. Everyone.

More to come.

Good stuff.


About the Author: Greg Chambers is Chambers Pivot Industries. Get more business development ideas from Greg on Twitter.