Secret Job Postings

If you’re wondering how to find a job, finding more job postings will help. It’s a numbers game: the more jobs you apply for, the more interviews you will likely get, and so on.

This technique produced disturbing results – are you missing out on your dream job because of where you live? Even if you’re searching for jobs where you live? A VPN may hold the answer.


How would 20% more interviews and job offers impact your career?


What is a VPN?

For those who aren’t familiar, VPN stands for Virtual Private Network. It lengthens a private network to include your web traffic (and others) as if you were directly connected to their network.

Shhh secret job postings

Your IP address for your computer changes to that of the private network you’re connected with, regardless of location. This makes your computer look like you’re in where your VPN is based) rather than your physical location. Read more about what is a VPN here.

Data and Research

Research on this article began last week. I was searching for flights for our next Summer’s vacation. For this search, I turn to my trusty NordVPN and save on the cost of flights and hotels by checking prices in different countries. I’m a clever travel hacking mastermind… (not really)

Curious, I wondered if a VPN would impact the outcome of a job search or finding a job. The only way it could do that is if you didn’t get access to the same job postings based on your location. Only one way to find out.

Using VPN to Change Location

  • VPN: Seattle, WA
  • Indeed.com
  • Private Browsing, Chrome
  • Software engineer
  • Seattle, WA
  • 8598 jobs
VPN Job Search Study Hired Guru 1

  • VPN: Miami, FL
  • Indeed.com
  • Private Browsing, Chrome
  • Software engineer
  • Seattle, WA
  • 15038 jobs
  • +75% results
VPN Job Search Study Hired Guru 2

Different Browsers and Location

  • VPN: Denver, CO
  • Indeed.com
  • Private Browsing, Chrome
  • Software engineer
  • Seattle, WA
  • 8597 jobs
VPN Job Search Study Hired Guru 2
  • VPN: Denver, CO
  • Indeed.com
  • Private Browsing, FireFox
  • Software engineer
  • Seattle, WA
  • 15037 jobs
  • +75% results
VPN Job Search Study Hired Guru 2

SPOILER ALERT: my first test increased job postings available 20%

Stunned by the results, I ran concurrent testing across OS and web browsers. VPN and private browsing or blocking cookies increased the amount of available job postings on average ~31%.

What about international?

I started with Canada and the closest neighboring tech city: Seattle, WA. I began looking for a Recruiter job as if I was in British Columbia, Canada but inputting my location manually on indeed.com: 333 available Recruiter jobs in Seattle. Fired up the VPN and changed my location from Canada to Seattle, WA and conducted the same search on indeed.com in private browsing: 618 available Recruiter jobs in Seattle.

Mapping Secret Job Postings

That meant if I was a Recruiter, living in Canada, viewing jobs in Seattle, my search results would be excluding half of the available recruiting jobs in Seattle.

I’m continuing to research different results and combinations to find the optimal location to be in for applying for a job. It also appears different available jobs from desktop to mobile device. The same search I ran with VPN location Seattle and private browsing produced 793 available results on a desktop VS mobile device. I haven’t testing different OS yet…anyone have Mac or Linux OS?

Steps to Find More Job Postings

  • Establish baselines

You’ll want to write down search results for your search in private mode and normal mode in Chrome. Perhaps try Microsoft Edge or Firefox to see if it’s different. Use the same job title and location to keep things consistent.

  • Track Changes

Look first at differences from private to normal, Chrome to Edge, desktop and mobile, and so on. You should understand variation between these methods. You might even find more postings doing only this.

  • Connect Your VPN to Different State

Try opposite end of the country, Midwest, South, etc. Test all your baselines in the “new” location and see if any variation occurs. Minimum 3 states to try other than the state you’re based in. If after 3 states you’re getting the exact same results, you can probably forgo testing many more.

  • Go International

Try connecting to Canada first, then Mexico. Compare results and start with EU and APAC. Again, min. 3 countries to test for difference. Before giving up or selecting countries, be strategic. Think why someone might expect to see more results from one country but not from another.

  • Celebrate

If you found additional job postings, congrats! You’ve tapped a hidden job market most will overlook. The postings that aren’t as obvious to find will be the ones with the fewest applicants i.e. the BEST ones to submit your resume. Less applicants = less competition.

Who cares?

You should. If you’re ever planning to look for a new job at some point in the future, varying results of open job postings should make a huge difference to the success of your search. So much so, if not calibrated properly, you might be missing out on half the available job postings.

What should I do?

Should you buy a VPN service? Meh, depends…probably not for this alone. It depends on your interest level in a new job and if your intention is to apply online or use online job postings as potential leads to email hiring managers.

What’s nice about these results is you may find roles that aren’t ranking as well, and only available when you scour the VPN locations and keyword combinations to get there. Competition may be eliminated due to them not being able to find the job.

If you’re actively looking for a new job, should you purchase and download a VPN service now? No, I don’t know if the results are that stark. The improvement in available job postings does not mean you’re any more likely to get a job than you are right now. If you believe (and I do) job search is a numbers game, more job postings would help.

What else can I do with this VPN thing after I get it?

I originally signed up for it as an experiment. Most providers offer a 30-day money back guarantee, so I was comfortable taking it for a test drive. The biggest win came when we save about $700 on a hotel booking for a family vacation last year. That more than paid for the service and made me a believe in geolocation-based search results.

Do a quick search for what to use a VPN for and you’ll find plenty of other recommendations on how to use the service if you’re still not convinced. Again, the intent behind this post was to share a way to get more job postings to apply for, not sell a VPN service.