Chart: Job applications are the start of a job search nightmare


If you’ve ever applied for a job online, you know how irritating the whole process can be. With buggy websites, long forms, and repetitive questions, it’s a wonder anyone is actually able to land a new job. And you are not alone in your irritations. This comic painting by Matt Shirley (@mattsurelee on Instagram) perfectly explains why the application process sucks. And with over 20,000 likes on Instagram, it seems everyone is feeling the frustration of job hunting.

Why are job searches so terrible?

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 10.1 million job openings in August. Despite claims that “no one wants to work anymore”, hundreds of thousands of people in the United States are looking for new jobs. Perhaps inspired by the Great Resignation, many workers are realizing they have more power in the labor market than they once thought. They are looking for new opportunities with higher pay, more benefits and a better work-life balance. And given the state of the labor market, it would seem (on paper, at least) that there is a lot of work to be done. Why then is it so difficult and so long to get an interview?

Online applications were supposed to simplify the job search process, but in reality, they only made it more complicated. As Shirley’s hilarious chart shows, applying for a new job should be as easy as providing your name and address, uploading your resume, and hitting submit. But in reality, there are so many unnecessary extra steps.

Many companies want you to create an account on their portal, upload a CV, write a personalized cover letter and answer dozens of questions (with the same information from your CV and your cover letter). You are expected to jump through all of these hoops with no guarantee of an interview or even an email response. The end result is, as Shirley puts it, inevitably “losing your mind”.

Frustrated? You’re not alone

People shake hands during a job interview

Irritation when applying for a job seems to be an almost universal experience. And there’s even research to back up the sentiment that Shirley has distilled so perfectly into her map. The 2022 Greenhouse Candidate Experience Report surveyed over 1,500 job seekers and employees to understand the expectations and realities they face in the job market. More than 60% of job seekers said they were “not impressed with time-consuming recruiting processes and are calling on companies to create a more modern recruiting experience.” In fact, over 70% of respondents will not submit a job application if it takes more than 15 minutes to complete.

And the irritations don’t stop with the application. Many job seekers were also annoyed by slow responses and follow-ups from recruiters. Even when applications resulted in interviews, survey respondents said they were still faced with “unprepared and late interviewers, inconsistent comments and ghosting” (more than 75% had been ghosted after a meeting). Due to this disrespectful treatment, job seekers quickly turn to better opportunities, to the great detriment of the company.

From start to finish, finding a new job is a frustrating undertaking. Despite millions of vacancies, companies still make the application process long and overly complicated. It may be time to start a new job search process: if you have the perseverance and determination to follow through with the application, you automatically get the job, no questions asked.

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