Revealed: The biggest frustrations about searching for work in 2021

It’s no secret that this has been an unprecedented year for jobseekers…

We’re on the cusp of (or even in the midst of) what’s being dubbed ‘The Great Resignation’. This is partly driven by people staying in their jobs for longer than planned due to the pandemic, partly down to those who simply don’t enjoy their jobs or aren’t happy with their pay and – likely in large part – because of the record-breaking number of open vacancies on

Many jobseekers are enjoying lots of options when it comes to their next role. But, despite this, they’re not having a very positive experience after the point they hit ‘apply’ on the job.

We surveyed 2,000 workers across the UK* to find out their biggest bugbears when searching for work. Here’s what they had to say:


‘Ghosting’ remains the biggest issue  

‘Ghosting’ isn’t something that’s exclusive to online dating – it’s also rife in the world of job hunting. 

Almost a quarter (24%) of those that have applied for jobs since the start of the pandemic say they had no response to their application. In fact, “not hearing back” was the most common job application pain point for people – even if they’re not currently looking to change careers – with almost two-thirds (63%) stating this was an issue after sending an application.

And it isn’t just after sending a CV that being ‘ghosted’ is a potential problem. Of those that made it through the application to the interview stage, 16% received no feedback or communication from the business after their first interview. 

What to do about it: If you’re being ‘ghosted’ after an application, be proactive and get in touch with the recruiter to ask for an update. It will always reflect well on you and, even if you haven’t been successful, you might learn valuable information that can help your future applications. 

Four ways to follow-up after an application


The waiting game

Of those that have had a response to their application, almost a fifth (19%) mentioned a wait of more than two weeks for feedback. 

Once again, for some this carried on throughout the rest of the hiring process too. Of those that did make it through to later rounds of interviews, over a quarter (17%) were made to wait more than two weeks between interviews.

Although it’s not necessarily an unreasonable amount of time to wait for a response, a lack of transparency from recruiters can often lead to unnecessary application and interview stress. Even if it’s just to give an idea of potential timelines. 

When asked what the number one thing that a business or recruiter can do to make a good impression on applicants is, an overwhelming number of people simply said ‘acknowledgement’. And, ideally, prompt acknowledgement.

What to do about it: Firstly, try and relax. Recruiters will be juggling multiple roles – with multiple applications – at the same time and may therefore be waiting to receive a certain number of applications before giving you a response. In the meantime, take a look at our post-interview checklist to ensure you’ve got all bases covered. 


Fighting for feedback 

Across the board, people highlighted feedback from their initial applications, job interviews, general progress reports, and even rejections, to be significantly lacking.

Just 14% of workers say that they’ve had detailed feedback to an application or interview provided over the phone, whilst a further 14% of workers also say that they’ve had detailed feedback to an application or interview provided over email.

And with almost four out of ten (39%) workers saying it’s important for recruiters to give feedback during an interview process, it’s clearly an area that businesses need to prioritise more.

What to do about it: There are lots of reasons why a recruiter might not be forthcoming with feedback – with a lack of time on their part often being one of the main culprits. Again, take the initiative to give them a call here. That way, instead of spending your valuable time sitting by the phone, waiting for it to ring, you’ll be taking your future into your own hands. You may even be surprised by what you learn.

Why haven’t they called?


More clarity on salary, culture and career development   

Other common pain points had to do with transparency around pay, as well as the type of working environment potential applicants could expect once they were in the role.

50% of workers say it’s important that the salary is listed in the job description. However, this is something that often doesn’t happen. 

Furthermore, 31% say it’s important for recruiters to give an impression of their company culture during the interview process – and 27% say they want recruiters to provide information on career development during the interview process too.

What to do about it: Unfortunately, you won’t always learn all you need to know from a job description. Which is why researching the company for yourself is an invaluable part of the application process. Look at the company’s website, its careers site, and its social media channels to get an idea of what it’s like to work for them – as well as its company profile on


How can help?

If you’re looking for work right now, there are thousands of roles added to every single day. We also have a wide range of Career Advice articles for every stage of the jobseeking journey, as well as courses for anything you’re interested in learning.

So no matter what you need help with, we’re here for you. 



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*Online survey conducted by Atomik Research among 2,002 adults in the UK  –  all employed full (80%) or part-time (20%) – between 17th – 20th August 2021. Atomik Research is an independent creative market research agency that employs MRS-certified researchers and abides to MRS code.


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