The 2016 National Job Seeker Experience Report

The world of work is changing, but so is the way people find it.

Recruitment is one of the oldest, slowest moving industries — and despite technological advances, the methods for finding employment are harder, more complicated and less personal than ever before.

In a vulnerable economy with weakening growth, employment is at the top of the list of Australian priorities. In order to remove the impediments preventing people from getting into work, we must understand the candidate perspective.

Finding that there was no qualitative research on the Australian job seeker experience that attempted to offer micro-level insight into the reality this group faces, Workible has conducted a study.

We’ve included a summary below and welcome you to download the full report.

The Australian Job Seeker’s Reality

Some Key Findings…

The national survey of 1700 men and women, aged between 18-65 found that…

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    It’s A Numbers Game

    People looking for work search for a minimum six months before finding a new job and submit a minimum 100 applications.

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    The Candidate Experience Isn’t Ideal

    1 in 3 job seekers described the overall candidate experience as “poor” or “very poor”

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    Most Never Hear Back

    Most applicants never hear back from would-be employers – including when they submit an application or even after a formal interview.

The top three things that matter most to candidates when searching for a job are…

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Brand Backlash and Why Businesses Need to Care

  • Job seekers typically searched for 6 months before finding work
  • During this time they submitted 100 applications … and were rejected 99 times
  • Less than 10 per cent of job seekers found work within 30 days of searching
  • Over 70 per cent spent more than 3 months searching for a job
  • Some people submit over 90 job applications in one online session
  • 1 in 3 job seekers described the overall candidate experience as “poor” or “very poor”
  • When asked how well employers treated candidates, 31 per cent described “poor” and an additional 12 per cent said employers “don’t care at all”
  • 44 per cent of job seekers said they had experienced poor treatment “more than once”
  • The most common fault was the “lack of feedback” on an application

  • More than 70 per cent said they had shared their “negative” experiences with family
  • Nearly 10 per cent admitted to venting about negative job experiences on social media
  • Nearly half respondents confirmed a negative candidate experience affected whether they bought products from the company again
  • The same number confirmed if affected how often they bought from the company
  • Nearly 2 in 3 said their worst candidate experiences had affected their perception of the brand
  • 42 per cent of job seekers are less likely to apply to a company again if the company did not send any response acknowledging their application
  • 8 per cent would never apply to that company again

Some direct quotes from survey participants…

“I have been applying and looking for months and getting nowhere. I have a family that I need to support but no one wants to give me a go.”

— Stefanie has been searching for a job for eight months.

“Applying for jobs and never hearing back is disheartening. By the time I do get an interview, I feel desperate and will take just about anything.”

Aaron has been searching for a job for four months.

“I understand that companies are busy … but not hearing anything back … even after an interview is horrible.”

— Tiana has been searching for a job for four months.

Key Takeaways Based on Real Data

For Employers…

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    Technology has changed recruitment

    There is a real opportunity to leverage emerging technologies to dramatically improve efficiency in the recruitment process, while delivering incredible job seeker experiences through personalised 1:1 engagement. But beware the platforms that are employer-centric, sit in silos and over promise and under deliver. They will do more harm than good.

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    What’s good for the candidate is good for you

    By keeping the job seeker at the centre of a company’s recruitment process and crafting strategies to effectively deliver a consumer-quality experience for everyone that comes in contact wit them, companies will successfully navigate the changes currently determining the future of work.

For Employment in Australia…

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    Consequences of Technology

    The unintended consequences of recruitment moving online has left both job seekers and employers in a poor position, but analysing the challenges on a micro-level provides us with the opportunity to reinvent the way Australians connect around employment.

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    Future of Recruitment

    Access to data that research like this provides is invaluable in determining what is truly holding Australian job seekers back, so we can address the fundamental issues. As the economy enters a period of instability, solving the problems that hold people back from getting into work is more vital than ever.

A Note from the Workible Founders

“We know that the world of work is changing and jobs are becoming super competitive – but I don’t think we realize just how hard it actually is to get a job,” said Workible director Fiona Anson.

The job application process can be brutal and this survey proves how tough it can be. Many applicants we surveyed became disillusioned with the entire process.

The other key point is that major companies risk significant brand damage if their recruitment process is flawed. Basic manners would suggest that sending a return email upon acceptance of an application or a phone call makes good business sense.

If companies think that they can simply ignore applicants by never responding to a job application – they need to reconsider their positions. The survey suggests that people share their bad experiences with others and can often turn off that brand for good.

Workible co founder Alli Baker said that until now, what’s never been clear is the underlying impact the job seeker experience can have on a brand’s bottom line.

“If companies continue to ignore the holes in their recruitment processes rather than continuing to shape them, they’ll struggle to remain competitive and have access to top talent,” Ms Baker said.


Alli Baker
Director – Workible
[email protected]
0415 105 528

Fiona Anson
Director – Workible
[email protected]
0410 511 933

Download the 2016 Job Seeker Report Now

Workible received both quantitative and qualitative survey responses from 1,706 active job seekers throughout Australia.
The survey asked the job seekers about their past and present job search, as well as their preferences and perceptions of recruitment practices.

Tune in on the Webinar where we discuss this report in June. Reserve your seat now!