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The modern job application

Paul Jarrett, director at Renaix

The recruitment process today has become highly dynamic with changing applicant preferences and priorities. Emergent trends like flexible working, professional social media networking, freelancing etc have changed the landscape. But just how much has changed really? How many applicants prefer to just Google for new job openings? How important are flexible working hours? What employee benefits are considered indispensable?

Here are the main highlights:

Search preferences

When it comes to looking for jobs, Google takes the top spot with 27.81% of the respondents preferring the search engine to hunt for jobs. Online job boards still seem to be relevant with 25.62% of the respondents choosing them. Recruitment agencies and executive search firms are at 18.27% as per the survey, while 13.7% choose to contact companies directly. LinkedIn and Xing round up the numbers at 11.52% and 3.08% respectively.

There also seems to be a direct correlation with applicant age when it comes to the preferred job search platform. Jobseekers above 45 years of age seem to be a lot more likely to go to a recruitment agency/ executive search company or even contact the employer directly compared to younger generations. And what do the younger job seekers prefer? Search engines like Google and social platforms like LinkedIn.

This chart shows the preferred job search platform for various age groups

Paul Jarrett, director at Renaix, commented, “A lot of people we contact for new roles are not actively seeking a new job and therefore agency and in-house recruitment is larger if we factor in reach via direct contacts, LinkedIn, Google and other sources. Flexible working is a high figure across the board, and not just for those in their early- to mid-career who are commonly tasked with caring responsibilities at this time. Younger age groups appreciate the work-life balance flexibility brings.”

The full survey can be found here: 

Which benefits do applicants prefer?

The biggest preference for job seekers seems to be flexible working hours with 32.77% of the respondents choosing that option. Career development is still important with 19.28% of the respondents choosing it over others. These were followed by a generous pension scheme and generous annual leave with 13.69% and 11.89% respectively. Rounding up the list were options for remote working (9.39%), performance bonuses (7.69%) and private healthcare (5.29%).

Age again is a factor here and pensions become more important as people get closer to retirement.

Preference for work benefits broken down by age group

Cover letters and response rates

Cover letters still seem to be considered an indispensable part of the job application with 64.36% of the respondents believing that they are. However, there seems to be a clear correlation with age here and the younger age groups seem to think less of cover letters.

As for response rates, job applicants only expect to hear back 43% of the time with younger applicants being a tad more optimistic about response rates than the others.

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