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Jobseekers slam broken application processes in Australia

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Australians are speaking out against a major hurdle in the job hunt: the application process itself.

A new study by HiBob reveals a surprising statistic – one in four office workers in Australia have actually rejected a job offer in the past few years because the application experience was so frustrating. This raises a critical question: are outdated hiring practices costing businesses top talent?

As Australia’s labour market tilts back in favour of employers, jobseekers have highlighted several problems they’ve experienced when applying for new jobs over the past couple of years, including poor communication from employers, a lack of clarity around salaries, and even companies losing applications.

More than one in four (26%) Australians working office jobs have abandoned a job application because the process was so cumbersome. And for those that persevered with the process, a third (32%) say overall communication was poor, and a further third (34%) had to wait weeks for their prospective employer to make a decision after a final interview.

More than one in five (21%) officer workers go as far as to say that their application was lost, while a quarter (25%) had a job offer rescinded before they were due to start.

As a result of these issues, one in four (24%) of Australians working office jobs say they’ve turned down a job offer because the application process itself was so bad.

These are the findings from HiBob’s first recruitment study, surveying 1,500 Australians working in office jobs to uncover their experiences of job interviews over the past couple of years.

Damien Andreasen, VP APJ, HiBob, said: “Clearly, the job application process in Australia right now isn’t perfect. Typically that comes down to companies not having a well defined hiring process, appropriate buy-in from hiring managers, or the right tools and systems. Market conditions also haven’t helped, and we’ve seen a huge supply and demand swing back in favour of employers.

It’s easy for candidates to bash the process when they don’t have a perfect experience, but having been directly exposed to the work that goes into managing hundreds of applications for each role, I do sympathise with organisations — especially large ones. Talent acquisition is not easy at scale. Not to mention that applicant volumes are at an all-time high in some sectors, including those that have been affected by economic conditions resulting in reductions in force.

“I tend to think workforce planning is the elephant in the room when it comes to hiring. Not having the right data to support the volume, type and timing for each hire will cause significant issues with processes. Ask any HR professional what it’s like managing open roles on a spreadsheet with little to no data to support the hiring decision. That’s the really painful part of the hiring process.”

HiBob’s research also indicates that candidates working in offices in Australia see the job application experience as a clear insight into what it’s like to work at a company.

A third (32%) of office job workers in Australia say the job application process is the best way for candidates to evaluate any potential employer, and more than a third (35%) say the job application process is an insight into a company’s culture. One in three (33%) also say the job application process is one of the main factors they take into consideration when deciding whether to accept a job offer or not.

But a positive candidate experience can showcase a company’s culture and is likely to have a significantly beneficial effect on a company’s hiring success, the data shows. 39% office job workers in Australia say they’d be happy to recommend a company to a friend if they know that company’s application process is smooth.

Tips for Employers and Jobseekers

For Employers:

Streamline Applications:

Utilize online platforms that facilitate easy resume uploads and skills assessments.

Craft clear and concise job descriptions highlighting essential and desirable skills.

Limit application questions to those directly relevant to the role.

Improve Transparency:

Clearly state the application review timeline and provide feedback, even if automated, to unsuccessful candidates.

Showcase company culture and employee benefits on the career page.

Be transparent about salary ranges or at least provide a pay bracket.

Enhance Communication:

Acknowledge receipt of applications.

Keep candidates informed throughout the process, even with simple updates.

Offer multiple application methods (e.g., online form, email) for accessibility.

For Jobseekers:

Tailor Your Application:

Read the job description carefully and highlight relevant skills and experience.

Quantify achievements whenever possible to demonstrate impact.

Proofread your resume and cover letter for any errors.

Prepare for Interviews:

Research the company and the role beforehand.

Practice answering common interview questions.

Prepare questions to ask the interviewer about the company and the position.

Follow Up:

Send a thank-you email after the interview, reiterating your interest.

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