Press Releases: Most graduate job applications receive no response

Press Releases September 2013

Average ratio of job applications to receiving an invitation to interview is twenty to one. Employers must adopt best practices to keep graduates informed.

New research by, the largest independent graduate job board in the UK, reveals that in most cases employers do not respond to applications for graduate schemes and jobs. Graduate job seekers fail to hear anything at all in response to three out of five of their applications. (The average ratio of applications made to no response received is 1.61:1.) This often leaves graduates experiencing a frustrating period of anxious anticipation waiting for news as to whether their application is successful or not.

The research - which required graduate job seekers to consider all the application methods and information sources they use to find a career - shows that for every five of the applications they submit, only once will graduates receive notification from an employer that their application has been unsuccessful. (The average ratio of applications made to receiving a notification of being unsuccessful is 5.54:1.)

Most people looking for a graduate job make over 25 applications. Just 16 per cent have applied for 100 jobs or more. The average ratio of job applications made to receiving invitations to interviews or assessment centres is just over twenty to one (20.79:1). Interestingly the lower the number of job applications students have made, the more likely they are to have succeeded in securing invitations to interviews.

Number of Applications MadeApplication to Interview Invitation Ratio
Up to 259.09:1
26 - 5016.05:1
51 - 7524.59:1
76 - 10018.4:1

A focused approach increases rate of success helps to match high quality candidates to roles at small, medium and large organisations across a range of industries. It enables recruiters to specifically target relevant roles to relevant graduates and empowers graduates to search for the positions that they truly want and that are best suited to them.

The graduate job seekers that are reporting a higher success rate in being invited to interviews are those that are not operating a scatter-gun approach to their career search, but are more focused on the type of roles they are applying for. This does not mean graduates should limit the absolute number of applications they make if they are not attaining success. They need to persevere but with a more focused application strategy that identifies employers with available roles which most closely match their qualifications, skills and interests, and that also considers the level of competition for such roles. This will reduce the amount of disappointment they may feel if they do not hear anything back from employers.

The results also highlight a need for both graduates and employers to target each other more effectively and efficiently. Graduates are using a variety of sources to access information about graduate schemes, employers and available roles. However they need to assess which of these sources wants to get to know most about them, their education, their skills and their previous work history. When graduates submit this information to, their career search becomes far more focused on available positions that fit their abilities and interests. This improves their likelihood of securing interviews.

As well as promoting roles to very targeted groups of job seekers, recruiters are increasingly using's candidate CV search capabilities to specifically search's database of high quality graduates for the requisite qualities of their next employee. These filtering functions enable employers to pick not just academically qualified graduates, but those who have transferable skills, work experience and who have shown commitment to building their employability. Selecting from a focused pool of candidates means employers can be more efficient in their selection process and have far fewer graduates to disappoint.

Best practices for keeping graduates informed

Much greater use is being made of automated emails which confirm to graduate job seekers that their application has been received - however employers will rarely have any more contact with their applicants beyond that. As most employers simply do not have the resources to personally respond to every job applicant, they should make better use of such auto- responses. A few small additions to auto-response emails are greatly appreciated by applicants and free employers from spending time dealing with individual enquiries from applicants regarding the progress of their applications. The best auto-response emails inform graduates that if they do not hear anything further within a particular time frame that they should consider their application will not be progressed further; provide details of other opportunities which the employer has available that the applicant might want to consider; give an indication of the level of competition that the applicant is facing for the job; encourage the applicant to keep persevering with their job search; and provide contact details or an online destination for where the graduate can get more information on the progress of their applications.

Best practice with regard to keeping graduates updated regarding their job applications can be seen by the likes of PwC, Mercedes, Ford, DCC and Reckitt Benckiser who use online recruitment portals to keep candidates informed regarding the progress of their applications. Roles at each of these employers are advertised on

GradWeb - the UK's leading graduate recruitment outsourcing provider - creates recruitment portals for many of the world's largest employers and encourages application via these portals by advertising on

Head of Technical Services at GradWeb, Ian Moores, said, "We find that employers achieve effectiveness gains when they integrate GradWeb's applicant tracking system, GradWeb3 into their recruitment portal or microsite. As well as making candidates feel welcome, valued and well informed at all times, the system sends automated messages to applicants at pre-determined stages ensuring that personalised, timely, relevant and branded messages are reliably received by each candidate. Traditionally such messages might have been communicated by email but communication by SMS or via social media - such as Facebook or Twitter especially on mobiles or tablets - enhances the applicant's experience and provides a more personalised interaction with employers. Our clients work with us to provide specific attention to the experience of candidates and although technology can go a long way to delivering a great experience the human touch in candidate management should not be overlooked especially for those candidates who are unsuccessful in the application process, so sharing this news is always handled sensitively, personally and professionally - but also offers feedback to each candidate."

PwC's Campus and Schools Engagement Leader, Andrew Bargery said, "When applying to join PwC on one of our Graduate, Undergraduate or School Leaver programmes, applicants create an account that gives them a personalised link with PwC, enabling them to keep track of the status of their application as well as booking themselves on to events and arranging their own interview and assessment centre dates."

Methodology polled 396 people searching for a graduate scheme or job from 26th to 31st August 2013.