I've been in a graduate programme for the last 2 years and I have been searching for a new job for the last 3 months and so far the search has been very demoralizing. I have sent over 50 applications to various firms both directly and through a recruiter and have been met with absolute silence, especially from recruiters. I've always thought this was my fault, however I quite recently got through the screening process in 2 firms and passed all the way through to the final stages before the process was stopped by an untimely hiring freeze in both companies. HR from the companies however insisted that this was out of my control which has led me to question whether this is an explanation for the silence I've received from other companies.

I've obviously only applied to positions which claim they can sponsor a tier 2 visa, but do hiring managers usually look over international applicants over EU ones for the ease of process, or is my assessment of my abilities completely wrong?

  • For those wondering, this is within the Financial Services industry for IT Dec 14, 2015 at 19:28
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    A number of signs point to a downturn. A number of the big global manufacturers have been laying off,and the general outlook for financial services is not bright in the short term. You are trying to get into an industry that is contracting due to natural cycle and external pressures. Dec 14, 2015 at 20:28
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    In other words, the few places will be taken with people showing no systemic risk at all. The fact that you went far in several process shows you have some sellable qualities, and would be already hired in a better market.
    – gazzz0x2z
    Dec 14, 2015 at 20:35

2 Answers 2


I'd say it is likely you are running into several different factors working together.

First, this is not generally the best time of year to find a job in most professions. It is a holiday season and HR people and hiring managers have leave to use, so the process is often slower than normal. Next, since it is the end of the year, they may be out of new hire budget until next year.

Additionally, if what you are looking for is an entry level job in your field, the majority of the jobs will be closer to the May/June time-frame when people graduate. At least that is true in the US, not sure when Europeans graduate. While the top tier companies can afford to look early for entry level people, the others have generally found that if they look too early, they may have to hire twice since the students go on looking. So you may have better luck in March.

More than likely at least some of those 50 companies were not interested no matter the timing. Unfortunately many companies don't get bother to get back to people weeded out especially if it was before the interview. It could be that your resume could be improved. You want to make sure you are hitting the key words especially in the ad as many companies do the first cut based purely on keywords and it is automated. It may be possible no one even read the resume.

Next, it appears that hiring freezes are happening in your targeted industry. That means that fewer entry level people will get hired. It means you have to stand out more to get a job in that case and you will have to make many more applications.

And of course, local candidates may get preference over people who have to relocate especially if the company has to pay the costs to get a visa or if it not clear that the visa would be approved (there could also be limits on numbers of visas that will be approved that have run out near the end of the year. This is especially true if the qualifications are roughly the same and even more so when hiring budgets are tight.

So what can you do? First, don't give up, it may take longer than you expected but you will get a job eventually. Accept now that it may take several hundred applications (and if it takes less, think of how happy that will make you.).

Next, really go through your resume and application materials to see if they can be improved. In particular, consider finding a job to be your job right now and thus take the time to individually adjust your resume to target the keywords in the job opening advertisement for each individual job. Consider setting your sights lower as well depending on what kind of jobs you are looking at. If the jobs are not entry level, you may need to look at entry level instead. If you are applying in a language that is not your own, try to find a fluent speaker of that language to help you go over your materials. (and while you are working on getting a job, getting more fluent in the languages used in the countries you want to live in is always a plus.)

Next start building a professional network and look for the unadvertised jobs. If there is volunteer work for conferences for instance, you could meet and potentially impress a lot of the hiring managers.

Find a way to stand out from the crowd. People often forget that they are competing with others for job openings. Be the person whose resume they liked the most. This could mean having personal projects or a very professional blog or a giving a speech at a conference or helping to build something for a non-profit or working on an open source project (if you are a develop). While you are looking, finding things you can do to add to your resume to help you standout will eventually help.

Consider looking locally as well as out of town/country. Sometimes it is easier to get hired when you aren't local if you have some experience and accomplishments to make you stand out. Even if your goal is to move, try locally just to get started. You can always relocate in a year or so instead. The first goal is to get that first job, not necessarily to relocate. I am not saying don't try for those jobs requiring a visa, just don't try only for those jobs.

Finally consider using the resources of your university. Not only the University job center, but also try to hook up with alumni who are in your field. Your professors are also a networking source, They know many of the former students and may themselves have company contacts among hiring managers.

  • Thanks for your advice! One of the companies that rejected me (this was in early November) said "We do not have any negative feedback for you and would've taken you on had there been headcount available. As such, if you are still looking in January, drop us a call and we may have something for you". How optimistic is this, and what should be my strategy to approach them? They're incredibly prestigious in the area and I'm very keen to be with them; I don't know whether to give them an update email now to put my foot on the door or if that will be seen as too desperate! Dec 15, 2015 at 0:10
  • I'd call or email them in January.
    – HLGEM
    Dec 15, 2015 at 14:17

"do hiring managers usually look over international applicants over EU ones for the ease of process"?

In a word: yes.

There's a significant administrative and financial burden on the employer if they need to provide visa sponsorship. It's much easier for an employer to hire someone who already has permission to work in the UK.

More info: https://www.gov.uk/uk-visa-sponsorship-employers/overview

  • Thanks for this - surprisingly this is the first time anyone's ever told me this (but it's something I've suspected). However, is this something you have seen in action? E.g. a hr rep you know rejected and international candidate? Jan 21, 2016 at 15:12

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