Job applications black hole: Are employers responding?

Submitting applications for the job of your dreams online can be daunting. Often made worse by the lack of response from employers and recruitment companies alike. Are your job applications going into a black hole or are you hearing back from everybody?

The i4 Jobs team recently conducted research to help piece together this often frustrating puzzle. Over the course of the next few months we’ll be providing statistics on job applications and advice on how to increase response levels.

How many job applications are you submitting?

According to an article on Business Insider it takes on average 27 job applications to get just one interview. Their survey of 1000 people also discovered more interesting and worrying statistics about the job market:

  • 89% of job seekers think employers should give helpful feedback on unsuccessful applications.
  • The average job seeker spends almost a whole working day looking for work each week.
  • Hunting for work is considered “extremely stressful” according to 26% of surveyed job seekers.

On The Student Room website there is a discussion outlining where people have applied for over 100 jobs before landing one. Another UK resident explained “I stopped counting when I got to 150, think I must have ended up with ~300.”

Another contributor on the forum says “100 jobs seems to be a pretty low amount from my experience.” One Indeed user across the pond highlights the extremes of job hunting with “About 5 years ago, I applied to about 400 jobs in about 4 or 5 months…all online…it was easy…but I didn’t hear back from anyone.”

Job application response survey

In January 2019 we conducted a survey to identify what level of applications job seekers would get a reply to. Some of the results were surprising when incredibly positive whilst others were quite shocking.

The survey itself was posted across various jobs groups on Facebook and sent out to our database via email. With over 200 people taking part the survey produced results as follows:

Job Applications Response Survey

According to our survey more than fifty percent of job seekers receive one response for every 10 to 25 job applications. More than 10% only heard back from just 1 employer for every 100 applications submitted. 3.7% of those who took part claimed to have not received a response to any of their job applications.

On a more positive note our survey shows that almost ten percent of job seekers hear back from at least half with nearly three percent getting a reply from every application. We have looked into various reasons why job seekers will be getting better response rates than others and vice versa.

What affects the response rate to your job applications?

The job market is huge. There is plenty of choice and in reality there is a job for everyone. Although websites have made it easy to apply for your next job, this can also be a dilemma in itself. When you upload your CV to a job board or job website you can apply for roles faster than ever. But how many of these vacancies are relevant to your CV? Has your CV and covering letter been tailored for each role?

You can be the perfect fit for any of these jobs but without the employer knowing at a glance of your CV, you’re not going to get them. Here are our quick tips on how to get noticed when applying online and increase your response rate.

  • Keep your CV relevant – If you are applying for jobs in a particular sector be sure to highlight relevant experience in your CV.
  • Wanting to try something new? Don’t just submit the same CV. Draw your transferrable skills from your previous jobs to the hiring manager’s attention.
  • Follow up with an email or phone call – HR teams, hiring managers and recruiters are very busy people. Grabbing their attention via a more traditional method will dramatically increase your chances of a reply and feedback.
  • Don’t be click happy – We get it, there’s lots of choice and you want a job fast. Spending an extra 10-20 minutes tailoring your CV could save you weeks of searching.

Should I ask for feedback on unsuccessful job applications?

Yes! Straight to the point, yes! If you are concerned about the lack of response from employers you can always request feedback on your application. In many cases the position may have been filled internally but a conversation with the hiring team may be a foot in the door.

Even if requesting feedback doesn’t get you into that company, it can help you improve on future applications. Over the course of the next few months i4 Jobs will be conducting more surveys including one from an employer’s perspective. Articles of course will follow. Please register by clicking here to stay up to date with our latest vacancies and news posted to the i4 Jobs website.

Browse all of our live vacancies by clicking here.

1 Comment

  1. GR-3-7 Data Sheet February 12, 2019 Reply

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