The job-seeking hassle in Belgium
What to expect from a job application? Not much it seems.
If you are a job-seeker you will be familiar with this scenario: week after week of sending in job applications, you don’t hear back from employers. You might have a few automatic emails, courteously reminding you that you should not expect to get any feedback, or even a rejection from the employer. You are not alone: according to Stepstone, one of the main job boards in Belgium, less than 1 in 4 job-seekers receive a response regarding their application, despite 85% of them finding themselves to be a good fit for the job. Belgium fared better than France, where only 15% of applicants got a reply, but significantly worse than the Netherlands (35%) and Germany (52%).
In this extremely competitive age this dynamic leaves job-seekers at loss. Having no feedback means that you do not know whether you were directly rejected, made it into a first shortlist and were dropped out of the interview stage, or if the job was not filled by anyone. Considering that it took an average of 18 applications to get an interview, and that it took on average 3 interviews to get a job, this can be quite a frustrating process. The job funnel gets very narrow very fast: around one in twenty got an interview and less than 2% received a job offer.
This could be either that the gap between employer and applicants’ understanding of the right profile for the job is huge, or that the job market is a buyer’s market and so many people are looking for jobs that the competition is huge. The truth probably lies within a bit of both. More feedback would certainly help job-seekers to better understand why they are not a good fit and improve their skills to be more successful in future applications. As Eva Ba, product manager at Stepstone says: «We encourage customers to put themselves in a job-seeker’s shoes. That way we help them being more transparent in the recruitment process & providing feedback to candidates systematically. We even facilitate personalized feedback in our StepStone application management tool. Companies should rethink the full application experience to be simple and accessible. »
So if you are hiring, remember, don’t make applicants input the same information as the CV you requested in an online form, prepare an automatic reply that will clearly state what the candidates can expect from the selection procedure, and if you can, provide some valuable feedback at least to those that came close.