The Hidden Job Market in New Zealand

What is the 'Hidden Job Market'?

In New Zealand many jobs are never advertised.

There is huge potential for you as a job seeker to make the most of those hidden job openings,  if you know where to look for them and how to identify them.

Local knowledge is the key!

Our Job Search Manager Katrin explains how you can find out about those job opportunities and how you can utilise the potential of the hidden job market for your job search.

Our Job Search Team will give you inside information, meaning you can get ahead of the competition for a role, or sometimes even be offered a role that is not being advertised on job boards or social media.


Advice from our Job Search Manager for the best way of approaching the hidden job market

Katrin says:

"To access this ‘hidden’ job market, you will need to commit time and energy and take a focused, positive and active approach.

Develop a clear idea of what you are looking for in a job, in functional terms, rather than searching by job title.

Similar positions can be advertised under different titles and different jobs may be given the same title although their functional requirements differ.

Don't limit your search to particular types of organisations. Quite diverse companies could offer jobs in your area of interest.

Do as much research as possible to identify the organisations you could target.

Keep up to date with current events by reading professional publications, trade magazines, business publications and articles in the employment section of newspapers."


Making speculative applications

This job search method involves making a direct approach to organisations to enquire about job opportunities.

Again, do as much research as you can to identify a suitable business or organisation. Find out who is the best person to contact and directly name that person when you contact the employer.  

Be prepared with the questions you need to ask, what you want to say about yourself and know what you want from this approach.

Practise beforehand. Don't be put off if there are no vacancies.

Offer to send your CV for their files and make contact regularly to discuss possible new opportunities.

Some organisations offer the ability to register your interest in working for them, often by completing an on-line form. If you do this, the onus is on you to keep in touch with the organisation.

When looking for businesses or organisations to contact, use the internet, search engines and web directories such as the Yellow Pages or Google.


Networking and informational interviewing

This is often more time-consuming, but networking can be more effective than making speculative applications.

It involves using people you know and people they know as a source for contacts and personal referral.

In this it is important that you do not ask for a job on your initial approach to the business contact.

Instead, ask for information and advice – this is often referred to as an informational interview.

These are purely information-seeking approaches at that stage.


The purpose of networking and asking for an informal interview is for you to find out more about:

• The organisation that your contact works for and the sector it operates in - the culture, challenges, opportunities and major players

• How your skills, experience and qualifications might fit within the organisation and sector concerned

• The role that your contact holds - what it involves and is like on a day-to-day basis, its good and bad points and typical routes into such work for example.

• How people work together, and what the organisation's senior leadership is like, in the specific business

• What particular needs the organisation has.


You should aim to keep the lines of communication open for any future opportunities and, done properly, informational interviews can be a great way of accessing information about the hidden job market - from contacts that you have spent time building a professional relationship with.


Networking and informal interviewing can lead to opportunistic hires!

You may gain advance notice of a role that is about to be advertised, or may even find that a role is created for you that didn't previously exist.

When undertaking informational interviews, one of your major goals should be to project your professional personal brand.

This should encompass who you are as a person; how you could add value to the organisation that hires you and how you would do this in a unique way.

Stress skills and qualities that you have that would be a major asset to the organisation, show your awareness of problems or challenges that they face and offer solutions to these based upon your past experiences of problem solving.


Another Job Search Technic: Social Networking

It is likely that you are involved in social networking. What may surprise you however, is the number of potential (and current) employers who will look for the on-line presence of employees and job applicants.

As a result it is crucial that you think about your presence in social networks and what it might say about you!

Look at all the items you have on social networking sites - your photographs, links and comments and review them from the standpoint of an employer - what image do they give of you?

Maybe it is a good idea to delete some items and strengthen your privacy settings? As you are doing this, don’t overlook asking others to remove items; photos and other references to you if you are uncomfortable about others accessing them.

Consider using professional social networks such as LinkedIn for the core of your career and job search endeavours.

Load your CV onto any professional blogs you create and sites that you join - but ensure that it is concise, focused and up-to-date.

Use ‘key words’ relevant to the type of work you seek.

Be very cautious about commenting on a role; profession; sector or organisation. People have lost their jobs for posting derogatory comments or other items on social networking sites.

Search for yourself - look up your name in search engines such as ‘Google’ and ask people you know to look for you in social network sites they belong to. You might be surprised at the quantity and range of information revealed!

Finally remember that nothing ever really disappears from the internet. If in doubt, don’t post to begin with - and keep a close watch on your on-line presence wherever it comes from!



This is a professional networking site that operates worldwide.

For many job seekers it is an invaluable resource that can be used to develop a professional identity.

Through LinkedIn you can project your ‘brand’, network and build career-related knowledge.

To use LinkedIn professionally, you will need to update your profile there on a regular basis. Additionally, you are likely to choose to be active in relevant groups and to share your experiences, advice and expertise with others.


Professional associations

By joining relevant professional associations you will be better able to network with people working in career areas that interest you.

You can make yourself known to them and access advice about employment; trends in the sector and roles and potential employers.

This networking can occur on-line or through attendance at local and national events hosted by the association – many have very active branch networks.

Additionally, many professional associations carry ‘job opportunities’ and ‘work wanted’ sections on their websites, sometimes accessible only to members. Coupled with this, some offer on-line journals, which allow you to keep up to date with the profession concerned; discussion forums and details of professional development opportunities.


And finally: Maintain your momentum!

Take every opportunity that you can to connect with people in your preferred roles and sector, for example by attending conferences; exhibitions; seminars and expos and by engaging with on-line groups and webinars.

Try to arrange work shadowing or internships. (Please make sure that your visa allows you to do this).

Are there short courses or skills you could develop or qualifications you can attain to increase your chances?

Keep your contacts updated on your progress.

 Source: Massey University, New Zealand.


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Ask our Job Search Professionals

If you want to find out more about finding a job in New Zealand, contact Katrin Schottke, Job Search Manager at NZIC.

Ask Katrin for a Free Assessment