1 in 4 jobseekers received no response to applications during pandemic

Given the number of post-Covid vacancies, experts describe the figure as “staggering,” and they urge employers to focus more on hiring processes.

According to new research, nearly a quarter of job seekers have not heard back from applications submitted during the pandemic, with experts warning that businesses may be harming their employer brand at a time when competition for staff is fierce.

According to a Reed poll of 2,002 workers, 24% received no response from job applications submitted during the pandemic, while those who did receive responses reported long wait times.

Almost one-fifth said they had to wait more than two weeks for feedback on an application.

This is despite a 158% increase in the number of live jobs on Reed from September 2020 to September 2021, according to the company.

The study also discovered that a negative candidate experience made people less likely to apply for future positions.

After a negative application experience, nearly a third (31%) of workers said they were unlikely to apply to a company again, and the same proportion said they were unlikely to recommend a company to a friend.

Similarly, nearly a quarter (23%) said they make a decision about a company based on their interactions with the recruiter.

According to Simon Wingate, managing director of Reed, the sheer number of vacancies has resulted in a “shift in power” in favor of job seekers in the labor market. “It is thus concerning that candidates are reporting negative experiences during the hiring process, particularly for businesses for which candidates are also potential customers,” he said.

“Recruitment practices can have a significant impact on both hiring and business performance, with people unlikely to recommend the company to others after a negative experience,” Wingate added, urging businesses to “focus on improving how they hire and not just who they hire”.

Given the UK’s current skills crisis, Ann Swain, CEO of the Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo), said the number of workers who had not received responses to applications was “staggering.”

However, she claimed that the “age-old” problem of having too many applications to manage was avoidable. “An investment in appropriate automation technology could streamline much of the candidate response processes for many [recruiters],” she said.

Sending standardised email responses to job applicants simply informing them that they were unsuccessful also helped to build a positive candidate experience, according to Kate Palmer, Peninsula’s HR advice and consultancy director.

“While workers may be disappointed in the decision, the contact means they will be more likely to apply for jobs with the same organisation again in the future and encourage their friends to do so as well,” she said.

Similarly, Philip Richardson, partner and head of employment law at Stephensons, believes it is best practice to inform applicants about the application process in advance, either through the job description or via email.

“It’s also worth highlighting that, by not replying to a candidate’s application, there is no visible record of communication between the employer and the candidate outlining why their application has been unsuccessful,” Richardson said.

“That has, in some cases, led to claims of discrimination resulting in a protracted legal process that would have been stopped by a simple email in return.”

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