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 Made

Application to Interview Invitation Ratio

Up to 25


26 – 50


51 – 75


76 – 100




A focused approach increases rate of success

Gerry Wyatt, Operations Director at said, “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

Gerry Wyatt said, “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.”