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If you’re looking to start a new job hunt, it’s important to stay up-to-date on trends in the hiring process.

In April 2024, we conducted our Recruitment Trends Survey, polling 625 hiring managers from the UK and Ireland about their hiring practices. Our sample included in-house employers and external recruiters across diverse industries and age groups.

From finding applicants to salary discussions and application review practices, our key findings from hiring managers highlight what defines a standout candidate in 2024:

Key findings from the CVG Recruitment Trends Survey

71% of hiring managers rely on ATS when recruiting

Application review is a critical stage in hiring, so so we wanted to learn more about how hiring managers approach this process.

If you think your CV is being read by an applicant tracking system (ATS), you’re absolutely right: there’s nearly a 3 in 4 chance (71%) that a hiring manager is using one. Here’s what our surveyed hiring managers chose:

How often do you use an applicant tracking system (e.g., Taleo, BambooHR) to screen CVs before personally reviewing them?
  • Frequently (41%)
  • For certain roles (30%)
  • Rarely (16%)
  • Never (13%)

Our survey also found that the larger the company, the more likely its hiring managers are to rely on an ATS. Here’s the usage breakdown by company size:

  • Large companies (250+ employees): 46%
  • Medium-sized companies (50-250 employees): 44%
  • Small companies (less than 50 employees): 34%

And hiring manager age makes a difference too: Millennials are more than twice as likely to frequently use an ATS compared to their peers.

Here’s how likely each generation is to use an ATS to screen candidates:

  • Millennials (54%)
  • Gen Z (27%)
  • Gen X (26%)
  • Boomers (26%)

It turns out Recruitment, Business, and Finance are the top industries in which hiring managers use an ATS. In these fields, 93% of recruiters and 83% of business and finance hiring managers use an ATS either ‘frequently’ or ‘for certain roles’.

By contrast, these industries ‘rarely’ or ‘never use’ an ATS:

  • Law and Legal (47%)
  • Construction and Trades (49%)
  • Government Services (50%)

The top candidate search methods are ‘job boards’ and ‘recruiters’

The top methods that hiring managers are using in 2024 to look for job candidates

We asked hiring managers which methods they found the most successful in finding qualified applicants this past year.

  • On a scale of 1 to 5 (with 1 being the most effective and 5 being the least effective), job boards and recruiters are tied as the top methods, each with an average rank of 2.94
  • Social media and company websites are tied as the next most successful methods, each with an average rank of 3.01
  • Hiring managers reported referrals to be the least effective, with an average rank of 3.11

1 in 2 hiring managers will interview applicants within a week

The application review process is swift for many hiring managers. Here’s what they had to say about it:

How likely are you to invite an applicant for an interview in less than a week?
  • 57% of hiring managers say they’re likely to do so
  • 19% of hiring managers are neutral
  • 24% of hiring managers say they’re unlikely to invite an applicant within that timeframe

In particular, company hiring managers are 50% more likely than recruiters to invite a candidate to an interview in less than one week.

Although 1 in 2 hiring managers say they’re happy to invite an applicant for an interview, job seekers need to stay vigilant, as quick decisions can still lead to unexpected outcomes (as you’ll find out below).

33% of hiring managers say they’re likely to ghost an unsuccessful applicant

A pie chart depicting the likelihood of UK hiring managers breaking contact with a candidate without explaining why

Unsure about how your job interview went? Unfortunately, you might not hear back.

Check out what hiring managers said when asked how likely they are to break contact with an unsuccessful job applicant without letting them know their decision:

How likely are you to break contact with an unsuccessful job applicant without an explanation?
  • 33% of hiring managers are likely to break contact
  • 23% of hiring managers are neutral about it
  • 44% of hiring managers are unlikely to ghost a candidate

Gen Z and Millennial managers are 61% more likely to ghost job applicants

Our survey also discovered that younger hiring managers (Gen Z and Millennials) are 61% more likely to cut off communications with unsuccessful job applicants than older hiring managers (Gen X and Boomers).

In fact, 36% of Gen Z and Millennial hiring managers say they’ll break contact, versus 23% of Gen X and Boomer managers.

Need feedback? 3 in 5 managers will give it

Even if you didn’t get a role or feel like you might be getting ghosted, it’s worth asking for feedback from hiring managers — because there’s a good chance you’ll receive it.

According to our research, a significant 61% of hiring managers will share their opinions if requested. Here’s the full breakdown:

How likely are you to provide feedback on an unsuccessful application (when asked)?
  • 61% of hiring managers say they’re likely to provide feedback
  • 17% of hiring managers are neutral about it
  • 22% of hiring managers are unlikely to give it

When it comes to generational differences, we found that older hiring managers are slightly more inclined to provide their opinions:

  • 69% of Gen X and Boomer managers are willing to give feedback, with 33% of Boomers and 29% of Gen Xers saying they’re ‘very likely’ to do so

In comparison, younger hiring managers are a bit less forthcoming:

  • 60% of Millennial and Gen Z managers are willing to give feedback, with 27% of Millennials and 20% of Gen Zers saying they’re ‘very likely’ to provide feedback

6 in 10 UK hiring managers are checking references

Our research also revealed that 61% of hiring managers contact references when provided, broken down as follows:

How often do you use an applicant tracking system (e.g., Taleo, BambooHR) to screen CVs before personally reviewing them?
  • 61% of hiring managers are likely to contact an applicant’s reference
  • 16% of hiring managers are neutral about doing it
  • 23% of hiring managers are unlikely to reach out to the applicant’s reference

Additionally, our survey found that 50% of surveyed hiring managers will still request references even if they aren’t initially provided. Meanwhile, 21% are neutral, and 29% are unlikely to contact the applicant.

Hiring managers aren’t fussed if you bring up salary expectations

Interested in learning hiring managers’ views on salary-related topics? Here’s what we discovered:

When candidates ask for more pay during salary negotiations, hiring managers are unfazed.

In fact, our results show that hiring managers reported feeling neutral when applicants asked for more money during the negotiation phase.

If you’re a job seeker, this finding means you can feel more confident when asking for higher pay during negotiations, and not worry that you’re committing a faux pas. Below is the breakdown:

How do you perceive applicants requesting higher pay during salary negotiations?
  • 32% of hiring managers view it positively
  • 33% of hiring managers are neutral about it
  • 35% of hiring managers view it negatively

Methodology

This survey was conducted by CV Genius using Pollfish. The study aimed to understand hiring manager and recruiter perspectives on CVs and cover letters. The survey was sent out on 22 April 2024 and had a sample size of 625 participants. The sample included in-house employers in a wide variety of industries as well as professional recruiters.

To qualify, respondents had to have been actively involved in hiring people in the UK or Ireland in the past year. The survey ensured a balanced representation across various demographics, including gender and age groups, to accurately reflect the diversity of the UK’s workforce.

To minimise bias, Pollfish uses Random Device Engagement (RDE) to ensure a fair and organic selection process. For further details on Pollfish’s methodology, please visit their website or reach out to ethan@cvgenius.com.

About CV Genius

CV Genius is the go-to resource for UK job seekers of all industries and experience levels.

With an intuitive CV maker, a diverse collection of free industry-specific resources like cover letter examples and CV templates, as well as guides on how to write a perfect CV and cover letter. CV Genius has been featured in multiple renowned publications, such as the BBC, HR.com, MSN, Forbes, and Glassdoor.

CV Genius and its team of career advisors and HR specialists can help anyone make an effective job application and earn more interviews.

For media inquiries, please contact us.

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Written by

Eva Chan

Eva Chan is a Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW) and Senior PR Writer at CV Genius. Born and raised in Vancouver, British Columbia, Eva has 6+ years of experience inspiring and guiding a range of professionals.   Eva graduated from the University of British Columbia with a bachelor’s degree in English.   Eva's insights and career advice have earned recognition from leading platforms including CNBC, The Wall Street Journal, WorkLife, and Forbes.   For any media-related queries or for a future quote, you can reach her at [eva] @ [cvgenius.com] or connect with her via LinkedIn. Please note that we don’t accept any guest posts.