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The Real Face of Job Hunting in 2023

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The Real Face of Job Hunting in 2023

Securing your dream job can feel like a rollercoaster ride. But, after all the ups and downs, is it worth the time and effort involved? 

Let’s see the real face of the job hunt in today’s labor market.

To get a full picture of the current job seeker landscape, we conducted a Job Candidate Survey on over 1900 employees and examined:

Key findings:

  • 91% of participants claim they have rage applied in their careers.
  • More than half (53%) believe there are fewer remote job listings advertised today compared to this time last year. 
  • 83% have applied to jobs they were overqualified for, and 74% to jobs they were underqualified for.
  • 46% feel very nervous or extremely nervous before a job interview.
  • 86% have abandoned a job application because they were asked to input their resume information manually. And 39% of them have done that multiple times.
  • A lengthy submission process (54%) and avoiding job scams (45%) are jobseekers’ biggest frustrations.

Keep reading to discover what else our study revealed.

How it feels to look for a job in 2023

How it feels to look for a job in 2023

To start with, participants were asked how long, on average, their job search usually took from the beginning to accepting an offer. The answers were as follows:

  • Less than 2 weeks – 4%
  • 2 weeks – 1 month – 16%
  • 1–2 months – 31%
  • 3–4 months – 30%
  • 5–7 months – 14%
  • 8 months or more – 5%

As you see, only 1 in 5 candidates claimed they landed a job in less than a month.

Job hunting often takes time, effort, and a great deal of patience. But if you want to change your work file for good, there’s no other way out.

Job seekers come from all walks of life and all emotional states. And while some take careful steps on a career-change path, others rage apply.

Rage applying, as the name suggests, is a phenomenon where individuals look for new employment because they are dissatisfied with or angry at their current company or the working environment. A nasty workplace, a dearth of opportunity for advancement, or inadequate management are just a few causes of this.
Jonathan H. WestoverPh.D., Forbes Coaches Council

Wanting to know the scale of the phenomenon in question, we asked respondents if they had ever applied to as many vacancies as possible as a reaction to being frustrated with their current job.

Digging deeper, we discovered that self-employed (99%), participants without a college degree (99%), and part-time workers (98%) reported their rage applying most often, compared to other demographic groups.

Time to move on to other research findings.

How many applications do participants typically send before getting one interview? Let’s find out.

  • 1–3 – 13%
  • 4–6 – 30%
  • 7–10 – 35%
  • 11–15 – 17%
  • 16–20 – 4%
  • More than 20 – 1%

There’s no point in giving up too quickly, as you see. The greater your efforts, the greater the chances that you’ll succeed and start a fulfilling career.

Let’s pause for a second. Just a quick reminder for all job seekers up here.

Landing a job is rarely a “one shot, one kill” scenario. But persistence pays off.

We asked how many different companies respondents typically interviewed with before they found a job.

  • 1–2 companies – 13%
  • 3–4 companies – 41%
  • 5–6 companies – 36%
  • 7 or more companies – 10%

An invitation for a job interview is definitely something job seekers desire. Still, it evokes strong emotions. 63% of respondents claimed that they usually felt very nervous or extremely nervous before a job interview. Only 7% said they were not nervous at all on such occasions, while 47% that they were a little nervous.

These days, people seem lukewarm about the market. More than half (53%) of participants said there were fewer remote job listings advertised today compared to this time last year. Similarly, 52% claimed there were fewer overall listings. Also, 83% claimed that they applied to jobs they were overqualified for, and 74% applied to jobs they were underqualified for. Maybe this is high because the listings are lower in volume.

Let’s move on and find out what survey-takers expect from the recruitment process.

The perfect recruitment process

Although the unemployment rate has settled back down to pre-pandemic levels, 6.4 million Americans remain jobless. And a good portion of them aren’t employed by choice.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics data, job seekers remain picky even though the crisis has subsided, as certain employers continue to experience labor shortages. As of July 2023, there were about 8.8 million job openings across the U.S.

Is there anything employers can do to attract a broader range of candidates? And conversely, what can discourage people from applying for a job? What is the perfect recruitment process like?

Let’s have a look at some recent studies first. 

Also—

The perfect recruitment process

Time to get back to our survey now. We asked a series of questions to examine what respondents considered best hiring process practices. They are listed below, with the full breakdown of answers to each included.

How long do you think it should take from the first touch point with a company to being offered the job by that company?

  • Less than a week – 2%
  • 1–2 weeks – 35%
  • 3–4 weeks – 47%
  • 5–6 weeks – 14%
  • More than 6 weeks – 2%

How much time are you willing to spend on preparing and submitting a job application?

  • None – 1%
  • Up to 30 minutes – 16%
  • 30–60 min – 25%
  • 1–2 hours – 29%
  • 2–3 hours – 15%
  • 3–4 hours – 7%
  • More than 4 hours – 7%

How many rounds of interviews do you think is appropriate for a job interview?

  • 1–2 interviews – 20%
  • 3–4 interviews – 55%
  • 5–6 interviews – 23%
  • 7 or more interviews – 2%

How much work do you think you should be asked to do (i.e. creating presentations, completing mock tasks, taking skills tests) during the job interview process?

  • Less than 1 hour – 9%
  • 1–2 hours – 42%
  • 3–4 hours – 40%
  • More than 4 hours – 9%

How many people at the company you're interviewing with do you think you should meet during the entire job interview process?

  • 1–2 people – 16%
  • 3–4 people – 51%
  • 5–6 people – 27%
  • 7 or more people – 6%

Respondents’ views on the perfect recruitment process prove the rule that less is more.

Less time spent on submitting applications and waiting for feedback, less pressure on interviews, and less stress involved.

Let’s switch the perspective now to see what frustrates and irritates job seekers the most.

Job seekers' biggest pet peeves

Job seekers biggest pet peeves

Asked, “What is your biggest frustration with job searching?” respondents could choose all options that applied.

  • Lengthy submission process – 54%
  • Avoiding job scams – 45%
  • Requiring qualifications or degrees that may not have an impact on the job abilities – 42%
  • Formatting for Applicant Tracking System – 41%
  • Jobs are too low paying – 23%

[women—27% vs. men—18%]

  • Not being able to identify the hiring manager – 21%
  • Not finding jobs that I qualify for – 20%
  • Not hearing back from employers – 17%
  • Not finding jobs at companies I'm interested in – 17%

[men—19% vs. women—14%]

  • Not seeing jobs in industries I'm interested in – 14%
  • Not sure where to look for jobs – 9%
  • Nothing frustrates me about job searching –8%
  • Seeing a job reposted that I already applied to – 7%
  • Other –1%

We also wanted to know what irritates job seekers the most about job postings. Here’s the full breakdown of the answers respondents gave:

  • Providing too much detail about the tasks of the job 50%

[women—53% vs. men—47%]

  • Catchy job titles that aren’t easily found through keyword searches 43%

[men—46% vs. women—40%]

  • Unclear application deadlines – 34%
  • Not providing enough detail about the tasks of the job – 29%
  • Being unclear about remote work options –27%

[women—31% vs. men—24%]

  • Unclear date of when the job listing went live – 27%
  • Being unclear about the location requirements for the job – 22%
  • Not including salary or pay information – 21%
  • Not making it clear what qualifications are required vs. preferred – 20%
  • Not including the tech tools and programs that might be required – 11%
  • Not including information about typical work hours and schedule – 11%
  • Nothing irritates me about job postings – 6%
  • Other – 1%

The list of what might discourage potential candidates from applying doesn’t end there.

86% of participants claimed that they had abandoned a job application because they were asked to input their resume information manually. And 39% of those said they had done that multiple times. It happened to more than half of self-employed (55%) and MA/PhD degree holders (53%).

And what matters the most to job seekers when they dive into the endless ocean of job offers? Keep on reading to find out.

Evaluating a job offer

Evaluating a job offer

Let’s focus on the process of evaluating a job opportunity. Which factors are the most important to candidates?

Salary (49%), location (48%), job responsibilities and duties (37%), and size of the company (37%) turned out to be surveyed employees' top priorities. Interestingly, the first three were rated as more important by women than by men. Here’s the full data breakdown:

  • Salary 49% [women—56% vs. men—42%]
  • Location 48% [women—53% vs. men—43%]
  • Job responsibilities and duties 37% [women—42% vs. men—32%]
  • Size of the company – 37%
  • Management responsibilities –36%
  • Career growth opportunities – 31%
  • Health insurance – 28%
  • Flexible schedule opportunities – 21%
  • Remote work opportunities – 19%
  • 401K. retirement plans – 18%
  • Paid vacation time – 15%
  • Professional training and development opportunities – 15%
  • Company culture – 14%
  • Type of industry – 11%
  • Company reputation – 11%
  • Recent layoffs at the company – 10%
  • The person I would be reporting to/managing me – 6%
  • Diversity and inclusion in the workplace – 3%

We also asked about what resources people used when job searching. Half of the respondents preferred networking and job boards. At the same time, university career services (17%) and social media (20%), excluding LinkedIn, were the least frequently chosen options. 

What resources do you use when job searching?

  • Networking – 50%
  • Job boards – 50%
  • Referrals from colleagues, employers, and employees – 49%
  • Company websites – 42% [women—45% vs. men—39%]
  • Job and career fairs – 42% [women—45% vs. men—38%]
  • Referrals from family and friends – 36%
  • LinkedIn – 26% [women—30% vs. men—22%]
  • Industry associations – 25%
  • Social media (not LinkedIn) – 20% [women—22% vs. men—17%]
  • University careers services – 17%
  • None – 1%

Digging deeper, survey takers also shared what sources they used when looking for information about potential employers.

When looking for information about potential employers, what sources do you use?

  • Employer review sites – 57%
  • Insights from a current or former employer – 53%
  • University careers services – 45%
  • Social media – 43%
  • Company websites – 42% [women—48% vs. men—36%]
  • LinkedIn – 28% [women—32% vs. men—23%]
  • I don't do any research about potential employers – 4%

But don't take our word for it. Let's finish with findings from other reputable sources.

Job search statistics

Job search statistics

Here are some worthwhile job statistics from other studies.

  • Research by Gitnux shows that 85% of jobs are filled through networking rather than traditional job search methods.
  • 97% of employers value soft skills as much as or more than hard skills, as SHRM reports.
  • According to Forbes, the top skills recruiters look for in applicants are a growth mindset, critical thinking, dedication, and the ability to work in a virtual workplace.
  • A growing number of companies are adopting new technologies for hiring purposes. According to Jobscan, ATS is an essential part of the hiring process for at least 98% of Fortune 500 companies. Below the Fortune 500 level, ATS is utilized by around 66% of large organizations and 35% of small companies.
  • According to Officevibe, the best candidates are off the market within 10 days.

Finding the right career path is not only about sending dozens of resumes and participating in one interview after another. It’s also a precious journey of self-discovery and growth. Having that in mind, you will be more likely to stay motivated, patient, and optimistic about the future results of your job hunt. Good luck!

Methodology

The findings presented were obtained by surveying 1109 respondents online via a bespoke polling tool. They were asked questions about job hunting and the recruitment process. These included yes/no questions, scale-based questions relating to levels of agreement with a statement, questions that permitted the selection of multiple options from a list of potential answers, and a question that permitted open responses. All respondents included in the study passed an attention-check question.

Limitations

The data we are presenting relies on self-reports from respondents. Everyone who took our survey read and responded to each question without any research administration or interference. We acknowledge there are many potential issues with self-reported data, like selective memory, telescoping, attribution, or exaggeration.

About Zety’s Editorial Process

This article has been reviewed by our editorial team to make sure it follows Zety's editorial guidelines. We’re committed to sharing our expertise and giving you trustworthy career advice tailored to your needs. High-quality content is what brings over 40 million readers to our site every year. But we don't stop there. Our team conducts original research to understand the job market better, and we pride ourselves on being quoted by top universities and prime media outlets from around the world.

Sources

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About Zety’s Editorial Process

This article has been reviewed by our editorial team to make sure it follows Zety's editorial guidelines. We’re committed to sharing our expertise and giving you trustworthy career advice tailored to your needs. High-quality content is what brings over 40 million readers to our site every year. But we don't stop there. Our team conducts original research to understand the job market better, and we pride ourselves on being quoted by top universities and prime media outlets from around the world.

Sources

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Jacques Buffett, CPRW
Jacques, a Certified Professional Résumé Writer (CPRW), is a career expert who has published almost 200 articles on Zety. His insights and advice have been published by LinkedIn, Forbes, MSN, Yahoo!, Business Insider, AOL, U.S. News, and other top news outlets. He also has extensive professional experience in people management and recruitment.
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