The Hidden Candidate Market

One of my kids’ favorite games is hide and seek. Everyone knows the best hiding spot is right in the open. Some of the most elite candidates you can imagine are within arms reach, and you don’t even realize it. Recruiters call them The Hidden Candidate Market. Each of them is talented and eager to take on new challenges, yet they remain consistently overlooked. Unemployment has dipped to it’s lowest since 1969. Therefore, employers need to understand how to best tap in to that hidden candidate market. A recent study suggested that a candidate’s skills could depreciate while they’re out of work. Hidden candidates alone were recently estimated to be 70%-80% of the workforce.

hidden candidate

Uncovering Hidden Candidates

Employees in the hidden candidate market are employed and happy. However, we shouldn’t assume that means they are unwilling to make a career transition. A candidate might be very interested in exploring new roles. They just prefer not to have their information out as actively seeking opportunities. They realize that in this market,  jobs will come to them. It’s staggering to consider how much money and time is invested in finding and hiring a new employee. That’s why this dynamic calls for drastic shifts in the internal hiring focus.

Effective Recruiters: The Game Changers

When an effective recruiter partners with a company and it’s hiring manager, the benefits are exponential. Partner recruiters free up time and energy for the hiring managers and human resources department. That allows them to produce in areas they are most effective. It also provides the best interview experience and company culture. Gone are the days of employers being able to rely solely on their name brand to attract the top talent. In fact, many millennial’s don’t care about brand name at all.  The market has transitioned to employee driven. Unfortunately, the number one complaint I hear from employers is around the cost to hire a recruiter. You can’t afford not to at this time. That cost projects to your employees and your business productivity. It can cause more problems than you may realize.


The Vicious Internal Hiring Cycle

Many companies live by the philosophy of post and wait. That method can leave you waiting ages and causes exponential loss in productivity. Additional strain is placed on the rest of your team in the interim. Overwork and strain creates unrest and possibly even turnover. This obviously leads to more financial and productivity loss. The cycle is vicious. Not to mention, hiring managers are spending large amounts of time vetting candidates. Time they often don’t have easily available.

My division recruits for niche positions with very specific skill qualifications. I can easily search for hours to locate even a few strong candidates. I may have to locate 4 or more candidates before narrowing down to 1 that’s possibly a fit for the role. The first conversation typically averages 30-45 minutes. That’s just the initial call. Employers need to understand that there are recruiting partners that specialize in this service. It takes hours upon hours to track down passive candidates or build networks of talent.

hidden candidate, luxus, rhonda martinez

Activating the Passive Talent

The shift comes from a concerted effort to partner with companies that can help tap into the passive talent market. Consider a review and revamp of the interview process as well as benefits structures. Be unconventional and willing to move outside of the box. Actively think of ways to access passive candidates and create a budget for that need. Sometimes this requires meeting a candidate in the middle. Acknowledge that time is money. The passive candidate market holds the top candidates in any job and skill-set. You can position your company for exponential growth by making the right partnerships.

A company will save money in the long run by partnering with an effective recruiter. Let them assist you with hiring the best talent in the market – the hidden talent. Without the right partners, employers stand to lose time, productivity, morale and money. Can anyone really afford not to tap into The Hidden Candidate Market?


Rhonda Martinez, Luxus Digital, Recruiting

Rhonda Martinez is the VP of Talent for Luxus Digital. She has 15 years of recruiting experience, and recruits talent of all levels of experience. Rhonda works closely with clients in various industries to solve the most complex talent acquisition problems. She is diligent to understand hiring objectives, structure and fit factors to build pipelines of difficult to obtain talent. Her experience consistently helps her clients achieve their goals and hire the best talent. She has been especially focused on growing a Digital, Creative, and Marketing talent pool. She is quite a force, and currently lives in Orlando, Florida, with her 4 children.