My candidate experience after 25 job applications

What does the job market look like for candidates today?8F31E132-E425-4B85-B70F-6794B65EEF9B

My name is Justine, and I would like to share my candidate experience as a 27-year-old woman with a Bachelor's degree in Business Administration and three years of work experience after completing my university studies. Due to my upcoming relocation to Stockholm, I had to search for a new job. Alongside my full-time job, I applied for 25 jobs during April and May 2023.

For the past two years, I have worked as a coordinator at Predictio, a distributor of The Predictive Index personality and cognitive tests. During these two years, I have been actively involved in discussions and projects related to recruitment, onboarding, employee, leadership, and team development on a daily basis.

Let's start with some statistics!


Out of the 25 jobs I applied for, I received the following results:

  • 9 without any feedback
  • 6 phone screenings
  • 10 automatic rejections
  • 3 personality and logic/cognitive tests
  • 2 final interviews
  • 1 offer


All applications were different, but what they had in common was that I attached my resume and included a personalized cover letter. I have gathered my experience regarding the areas that stand out in the recruitment process below.

Time investment in job applications and assessments

On average, it took me between 30-60 minutes to submit an application for each job. This involved filling out various application forms, attaching my resume, and writing and attaching a personalized cover letter. Some applications required answering multiple questions, while others only required a resume and cover letter.

Three of the jobs I applied for sent personality and logic/cognitive tests. Two of them sent the tests immediately after I submitted my application, while the third job sent them after the phone screening. I spent between 20-60 minutes completing the different tests.

I understand that some companies receive hundreds of applications, and automated rejection responses are expected. From my perspective, the candidate experience felt more positive when a shorter amount of time (around 50 minutes) was invested in the initial stage of the recruitment process, the application itself, and less positive when more time was invested (around 2 hours) only to receive an automated rejection in both cases.

Phone screenings

Based on my candidate experience, I preferred it when recruiters conducted a phone screening after the initial screening before proceeding to the next step in the process. During the phone screening, we discussed basic conditions such as the start date, salary, and workplace arrangement (office or hybrid solution). In cases where we were in agreement, I felt more motivated to invest additional time in completing assessments. If the expectations were not met by both parties, we saved time by not moving forward.

To summarise, the phone screening is an important part of the recruitment process to ensure suitability for both parties regarding the next steps. To my surprise, the phone screening was not a standard step in the process for everyone, as in one case, I was invited to an interview directly without a phone screening.


As a candidate, you are often expected to invest a significant amount of time and energy in relation to what you receive in return, which leads to a poorer candidate experience and negatively affects the company's Employer Branding = lose-lose. 🙁

The most important tips I want to give to recruiters and companies are:

  1. Always provide candidates with some form of feedback - an automated rejection email is A-OK! 
  2. Benefit from assessments, but consider at which stage of the process they provide the most value for both you and the candidate.
  3. Conduct a phone screening to confirm expectations from both parties.
  4. When a candidate has been through a final interview, call them and provide personal feedback! An email is not sufficient.

I believe that companies and organizations should strive to create a recruitment process where there is a sense of "give a little, get a little." It will be more enjoyable for the candidate and strengthen the company's Employer Branding = win-win!  😊