How to find hidden jobs in Finland?

 

Are you job hunting right now? If you are seeking a job in the traditional way, you are probably applying through a recruitment website, such as Linkedin, you are getting your CV and cover letter analyzed, and finally, you are hoping for an interview.

 

In the Finnish market, however, this way of doing things might not work. It is estimated that between 60 and 80% of the jobs are hidden, meaning they are not advertised or posted online. In this sense, finding a hidden job is like dating your dreamy company. Before getting yourself an interview, you need to flirt, act entrepreneurially and grab their attention. 

 

In this blog post, I am walking you on the best tips on how to have this entrepreneurial behavior and get the job of your dreams. The blog post reunites information that was gathered both through two workshops led by Santeri Tuovila and inputs from me and Katarina Sladakovic.  

What are the hidden jobs in Finland? 

There are two different types of hidden jobs in the market:

 

  1. Defined hidden job: it is a clearly defined job with a role that is needed by the company, but it has not been posted online. In this sense, it means that the company uses internal resources in order to recruit for that position, such as internal referrals. 
  2. Undefined hidden job: in this case, the job is useful for the employer, there is a need, but the employer did not think yet about the job position that should be done. 

Why do companies have hidden jobs?

By using internal referrals to recruit, companies make the process a lot cheaper. Besides that, it is also more likely that they will get high quality hires, as current employees understand better the needs of the company

Secondly, in the case of undefined hidden jobs, the company might not have had the time to think and formalize the need for a certain position.

In this scenario, in order to get these jobs, instead of selling you, or your CV, you need to deeply understand the needs of the company you’re applying to, and sell the job you can do for them. This means that you will be using more of your energy and your time to reduce the sacrifice and efforts with the recruitment of the organization you are applying to. 

Learning how to introduce yourself is essential to get a hidden job in Finland

When talking about yourself, or when recommending someone for a position, you should always keep the interest up. Think about the following situation: if you are interested in dating someone, you have just a minute to have a good impression and get yourself a date. The same mechanism applies to companies, so you need to practice your speech about yourself. You need to shine.

 

In this sense, it is important to: 

  • Think about the skills that make you unique. Does your cultural background add something relevant to the role? My background in Brazil, and my language competencies e.g., could help a company that wants to change its strategy towards the South American market. 
  • Reflect deeply on your own professional goals. It is very important that you know yourself well enough, so you can focus your energy and time looking for meaningful jobs.
  • What are your values? What is important for you? 
  • When pitching yourself, you should tell why you are interested in having a relationship with this particular company. In that sense, a good understanding of  the above mentioned points are essential: your values, skills, cultural background and professional goals.  

How can you find the right organization for you? 

A recruitment process does not exist only to access if the candidate is suitable for a company, but if a company is suitable for the candidate. Companies have different cultures and rules. For instance, in my case, I know I prefer less hierarchy and a more flexible culture of working hours

 

So, these are aspects that I value and I look for in companies. If you want to find this information, you can ask directly using e-mails, phone calls or even in job fairs. 

The following are examples of questions you can make:

 

  • How international is the work environment? Is internationalization something you value?
  • What kind of support does the company offer to career development?
  • How flexible are the working hours?
  • Are the mechanisms to encourage networking and exchange between different areas of the company?

 

The above questions are just examples. You need to find out what is important for you and for your desired job and ask about that. 

 

Don’t underestimate job fairs. If you wish to get a hidden job, it is the perfect place to get a grasp of how the organization functions. The person at the job fair may not have all the answers you need, but she surely will be able to tell you whom in the company to contact, and this is already a great step forward. Even a discussion about the tasks people in certain positions do may be useful. For example, you may have an idea what a project manager does, but the company may have a bit different view, as it turned out in one of our discussions with a company hiring internationals in Tampere. 

Find out the pains of the company you are applying to

As already stated, to get a hidden job, you need to address the needs and pains of the organization.

There are some good strategies to find what these are: 

 

  • If you are a student, you can do your thesis about the organization. If a thesis is a too big commitment, you can offer to write final course work about the organization. 
  • Get involved in temporary challenges and volunteering, such as Demola. There you can work in challenges of real companies. If you wish to be connected to the startup ecosystem, Tribe is the place to be. Please be aware that volunteering needs to be aligned with your personal wishes, goals and available time. If a potential employer offered you temporary volunteering work and guaranteed you would get hired in the end without this happening, you should seek legal advice from your union. 
  • Be in touch with people you know in the company and ask for a meeting. It is harder, from their point of view, to refuse the invitation if you offer them a coffee or even a lunch. 
  • Internships are a great opportunity for a company to get to know you, as well as for you to learn more about the company, it’s pain points, structure, departments, and activities. This is a great position to map all hidden jobs, tasks that are important but for some reason, no one has yet done them (no time, not in anyone’s job description). Don’t assume all companies are always aware of what they need, as this may not be the case. Think creatively and search for a way to use your skills to help them with the challenges they face. If you are an international looking for an internship in Finland, the ESN’s ErasmusIntern platform is a place for you to start your search! 
  • One way to meet companies is to join the events where they are present. It is even better to co-organize those events. Contact our internship team if you are interested in joining some of our activities at internship.officer@esnfint.org.

4 steps to entrepreneurial employment with NGOs

If instead of the private sector, you’re aiming a job at NGOs, you can pay attention to the following steps: 

 

  1. Learn how the NGO works and make friends. Friends can help you have an internal insight of the NGO. 
  2. Find a problem which you and the NGO can solve for a corporation, universities, public sector, etc.
  3. Get to know your new partner/customer, by volunteering. There is no best way to understand how they work. 
  4. Do involve in projects that they have a budget for. When you are negotiating with an organization, you need to understand the boundaries of their decision-making. For example, it can be the case that a budget needs to be defined by a Board for the entire year, and if this was already decided, there is not much that the HR can do for you. Katarina, for example, knew that the company she was working for had a budget for market research. She knew she could not handle the data analysis alone, so it was easy for her to argue about hiring a data analyst. This is a perfect example of a hidden job. 

What is the difference between finding hidden jobs and a normal open application? 

When you write an open application, you usually have information about the company from the website and you hope your skills are relevant, as well as that the timing of your application is good. 

When you are after a hidden job, you get to know the company well, you meet employees who can recommend you or even those that will be making the hiring decision. Thanks to this insider knowledge, you know exactly what kind of tasks are pending and how best you can help them. You may even know if better than the company at that moment. As a result, most probably you would skip the open application part and talk directly with the responsible person in the company. If you decide to apply through the open application system, your application will be much better tailored to the needs of the company, your name will be recognizable and most probably you will have a contact point or two who will recommend you internally. Therefore, the two are not necessarily exclusive, but the usual open applications may not be as effective in landing you a job - especially a meaningful job you enjoy doing!

Key-takeaways for finding hidden jobs in Finland 

  • Don’t sell yourself or your CV, but instead, focus on the job you can do for the company.
  • If you are a student, a good strategy is to offer to be a thesis worker or to write a final course work.
  • Be a volunteer!
  • Make a list of companies that already hired internationals