I haven't been in the job market for years, so I don't have a great answer, but these seem pretty weak ways to find jobs that aren't advertised, because, if they are on company websites or available via Taleo, they are advertised.
* research a company, find out their biggest problem (competitive research), find the manager who should be tackling the problem (linked in), and email him an outline of a solution. I don't manage a ton of folks, but if someone did this, we'd definitely have a conversation.
* go to tech meetups and meeting interesting people
* comment on a corporate blog regularly
* offer to work for free (if you can afford it)
* ABL (always be looking)
* never eat lunch along
* blog about the industry you want to get into
* work on an open source project
* instagram (or whatever the kids are doing these days)
I know there are stories where working for free is a good strategy, but they are vastly outnumbered by stories where not working for free was the best option.
I'd argue against it unless you have a really, really, really good reason to work for a specific organization for free.
But you definitely want to be careful and limit it, otherwise you'll get taken advantage of. It's very similar to offering a free software service--often you don't know if what you have is valuable until people start paying for it.
If somebody paid for it recently, it is a strong signal they really have an opening. Jobs on companies' own sites might only be there to:
a) show to customers and investors the company is in good shape.
b) keep their recruitment buffers filled just in case.
I've been through jobs in companies with "no recruitment" enforced due to budget cuts and guess what, the job ads on their sites were still there.
I don't work there anymore.
This is why I have Evernote Clearly installed: http://evernote.com/clearly/
One of my favorite features.
width="871" on the second image seems to be the problem.
Plenty of unadvertised jobs will go through networks, word-of-mouth and personal recommendation - obviously cold-calling wouldn't give you good results in such cases.
Generally it's estimated that roughly 40% [for 2009-2010] of jobs are unadvertised, and that's calculated using US BLS data (http://www.bls.gov/news.release/jolts.htm) comparing number of job openings companies state they have versus actual hiring numbers.
While there might be variation between countries, I doubt that there's significant difference between the UK and the US.
If the unadvertised jobs cannot be detected by any empirical evidence then I would suggest that they be treated like other mythological phenomenon.
There's plenty of empirical ways to show that unadvertised hiring occurs. Another alternative way would be simply to survey companies and employees and ask them.
The fact that unadvertised recruitment happens doesn't mean that the jobs will be available to anyone who attempts to apply via cold-calling.
A company that receives a strong recommendation for a candidate via someone they trust may well create a new role especially for that person, but obviously such a role wouldn't exist if someone unknown tried to apply speculatively.
I'm genuinely curious about where to access that data, because AFAIK employee data doesn't exist in either of the regular statutory filings collected by Companies House (the Annual Return (AR01) and the annual accounts).
HMRC _does_ have that data (as it's included in the P35 Employer Annual Return) but I'm not aware of any way to access it.
Similarly, the best data I've seen on 'main products' for _all_ UK companies is the SIC code, which isn't particularly specific.
I'd appreciate any pointers to accessing the data you described (changes in # of employee; main products) for all UK-registered companies.
Your experience might also reflect the type of job you were looking for. For a job with a large pool of potentially compatible employees that advertising gave me easy access to, it would be prudent to advertise.
Finally, I could offer anecdotal data in the opposite direction.
In a technical job market there are recruitment consultants that know all of the companies, what might work for you and where there might be a need. In my experience they do provide a very good service. However, we tend to dislike them when they are not needed so we might overlook them as our first point of call.
If you want to entrust your professional future to someone who doesn't understand the work you do and whose interests aren't necessarily aligned with yours, sure.
Recruiters aren't all bad - they can be one prong of your job-search strategy. (I just found a great startup job through a recruiter.) But don't put them in charge.
And read Ask The Headhunter.
The site has been 'online since 1995' and looks like it, but has a wealth of advice for taking control of your destiny when looking for a new job. This is my favorite piece on how to interview: http://asktheheadhunter.com/basics5.htm
I keep hearing it, but I haven't really ever seen it.
Most small companies simply cannot afford to employ a full-time in-house recruiter. If you were running a startup, with a thousand things to do daily, you too would outsource the basic search and screening function.
wait, really? There exist recruitment consultants who are paid by the employee, and not the employer?
I mean, I'm mostly asking 'cause I kinda want that job. I think I'd be good at it; I have a pretty good track record of getting my friends jobs. Hell, I'd show up for the interview.
(If you are talking about the regular kind of recruiters, who are paid by the hiring company... that's a very different thing. They can be useful, but you need to remember who they actually work for.)
I'm talking about Green Card PERM process in these companies. The law mandates them to advertise, but their intent is to prove to the DOL that there's no adequate candidates around. They _already have_ someone for this position, moreover, this person (most likely) already occupies this position, they just started his/her GC process.