3 Success Stories of People Who Found Their Job in Switzerland Through the Hidden Job Market

In this blog post I want to give you a better idea to understand how the hidden job market in Switzerland works and tell you about 4 success stories from people who found their new career in Switzerland through the hidden job market.


80/20 Rule

A good old friend, Vilfredo Pareto, introduced this principle a long time ago and it’s also true in employment in Switzerland.

The entire mass of job adverts you see out there on LinkedIn, job boards and company websites, recruitment agency websites, only represent approx. 20% of the entire market.

That means 80% of all people who are being employed, went through different channels, usually some sort of a relationship or active headhunting from recruiters.

Most people are aware of that fact but don’t realize the massive potential of the hidden job market in Switzerland. It’s also a fact that the most sought after positions are only available in the hidden job market.

I’d like to give you a few examples of how that market works in Switzerland and a few success stories here.


The Hiring Manager at the Outsourcing Conference

A while ago I was at an outsourcing conference in Switzerland and I met a hiring manager from a well known company. I asked him through which channels he usually recruits his employees. His answer was a fascinating proof of how the hidden job market works in Switzerland.

The hiring manager said 2/3 or all people he ever hired, he or his employees already knew. This excludes working with recruiters. Therefore if you sum it all up, you get to an estimated 80% of all people he ever hired was without advertising the position anywhere.


2. My German Technology Executive Client

A while ago I was working with a German technology executive who lives in Zurich as part of my personal coaching program. He started applying what we discussed and a few weeks later, he told me an extraordinary story.

While he was still employed at his previous company, he was recruiting to fill a technical role himself in one of his teams. He interviewed a junior engineer for that role but unfortunately the candidate did not have enough solid experience for this job as they were looking for somebody senior.

Nevertheless, they stayed in contact because they had a fantastic discussion during the interview and shared similar values.

A few months later, my client was made redundant and phoned up the junior, since they stayed in close contact. The junior just recently started working at a well known technology company in Switzerland and my client asked him if he could introduce him to anyone at the company.

Interestingly, the junior knew the CEO of the organization personally and he introduced my client to him. The result was 3 interviews and a job offer within 2 weeks.


3. My Kiwi Training & Development Client

A few months ago I was working with a coaching client who is originally from New Zealand and lives in Zurich. He was working as a Training & Development Consultant in a highly technical field. He started building the list of 90 people as part of the first module in my coaching program and as he is a natural people person and has many close friends, that was not an issue.

However, he did not start by talking to the people who were close friends on that list but rather to people at his current company and previous employer. This led to a few good introductions but nothing concrete.

I urged him to focus more on talking to his close friends on his list of 90 people even if he does not think any of them could make a useful introduction. Fortunately he followed my advice and therefore also spoke to his cousin who was working outside of his profession and outside of his industry.

His cousin introduced him to an investment company that hired him within 3 weeks of getting to know him.


4. My Russian E-Commerce Executive Client

In early 2013, I worked with a coaching client from Russia who was living in Moscow at that time and looking to move to Geneva. He was working as an executive in e-commerce in Moscow and wanted to work in the startup industry in Switzerland. Not an easy challenge considering the work permit issues, lack of local language skills and this fairly new sector in Switzerland.

Fortunately he had the right mindset and understood that the only way he could be successful in his quest would be to work very hard and focus on building meaningful relationships with key influencers in this sector. This is what we focused on.

It took him approx. 4 months to find the challenge he was looking for.

He had to travel thousands of kilometers between Moscow, Paris and Geneva because many of his contacts were spread throughout these locations and meeting them face to face was the most effective way to approach his quest. He traveled at least every few weeks to meet with startup owners, investors and influencers in the industry to find out about their plans and challenges and see where he could fit into the picture.

After about 3 months, he gained momentum and he got to know of many opportunities in the hidden job market, one of them was from a telecoms startup, headquartered in Zurich and doing the majority of their business in Africa. He started working there as a board member to grow the business and expand operations.


I am hoping that these stories act as an inspiration for you and help you see that it takes a lot of hard work, the right mindset and patience to find a job in Switzerland in the most effective way but that it’s far from impossible.