How Many Applicants Does Each Job Vacancy Get?

13 February 2017 | By Billy Dowling-Reid

Let's cut straight to the numbers:

PAID EDITORIAL ASSISTANT INTERNSHIP @ BBC MATCH OF THE DAY MAGAZINE (LONDON)

600 applicants. This job listing was only advertised on the Mediargh website for a grand total of three days (Friday, Saturday and Sunday) before the publisher's HR Manager hastily removed the listing very early on Monday morning. The original intent was to have the listing remain on the website for two weeks but the vacancy received 200 applications per day. In my own experience, this is definitely on the most extreme end of things.

PAID INTERNSHIPS @ PENGUIN RANDOM HOUSE (LONDON)

150 - 400 applicants. Countless intern opportunities have cropped up at Penguin Random House over the years, with applicant numbers generally fluctuating between 150 - 400 for each internship position. Summer internships are especially popular.

OFFICE / EDITORIAL ADMINISTRATOR @ VICE (LONDON)

200 applicants. My beloved VICE was very recently looking for an Office Administrator / Receptionist. Roughly 200 people applied for that particular vacancy with the job advert having been live on the website for one week.

ONLINE ASSISTANT VACANCY @ CRAFT SCOTLAND (EDINBURGH)

119 applicants. 119 people applied for an Edinburgh-based Online Assistant job with a popular local arts and crafts charity. The charity felt that this was an 'overwhelming' number, and nearly double the amount who had applied for the same position two years prior. The job advert was live on the Mediargh jobs board for one month, giving plenty of time for lots of people to apply.

REPORTER VACANCY @ STRANRAER FREE PRESS (STRANRAER)

0 applicants. Yeah, zero... it happens sometimes. Editor was frustrated.

EDITORIAL ASSISTANT VACANCY @ FISH FARMER MAGAZINE (YORK)

8 applicants. I understand that fish farming is a niche interest, but I was a little surprised and dismayed when the magazine's Editor informed me of the underwhelming response he had received. Luckily, the eight candidates were very strong and that's really all that matters. It's always good to hit the sweet spot between candidate quantity and quality.

PAID INTERNSHIPS IN MEDIA, ARTS & CULTURE @ SCOTTISH GOVERNMENT / SCVO (SCOTLAND)

160 applicants. As part of a Government initiative, a collection of 20 paid internships in the arts sector were available throughout Scotland in Summer 2013, attracting 3,200 applicants (roughly 160 applicants per internship).

VIDEO JOURNALIST VACANCY @ SHAZAM (LONDON)

100 applicants. 'Just over' 100 applicants was what they told me, actually. Advert was live for five days and came down nine days earlier than the advertised deadline date.

JOURNALISM VACANCIES @ TRINITY MIRROR (UK-WIDE)

30 - 200 applicants per vacancy. The Trinity Mirror were recruiting for nearly 100 different roles over the Christmas 2015 period, at all experience levels and in various locations including Manchester, Newcastle, Liverpool, Cardiff and Glasgow. No specifics were given, but they received anywhere between 30 and 200 applicants for any given role.

RUNNER VACANCY @ SHINE GROUP (LONDON)

200 applicants. Advert was live for five working days.

RUNNER VACANCY @ CHANNEL 5 (LONDON)

800 applicants. This vacancy was left open for the entire duration of the Christmas and New Year holiday period.

PAID INTERNSHIP @ WORKING TITLE FILMS (LONDON)

2,600 applicants. The application window was three months, which is a ridiculously lengthy duration. They could easily get 100 solid candidates applying within a single working week, so why wait three months?

Mediargh on Instagram

Of course, not every employer reveals exactly how many applicants they receive (I do not ask them to provide me with this information), but I'm always willing to take an educated guess. Television Runner vacancies are often filled at lightning speed. Last month, London-based root6 emailed me, asking me to post a short-term Runner listing for them. Then, in the amount of time it took me to go and boil a kettle, they had emailed me again, asking me if I could remove the listing because they had received the desired number of promising applicants and were now formulating a shortlist.

I am inclined to believe that many of the more well-known and recurring internship and trainee schemes out there (BBC, ITV, Microsoft etc.) will attract thousands of applicants each year, although I don't have access to any official numbers for those.

Of course, there are lots of variables at play and we have to take all of them into consideration when answering a question such as this. Namely:

1. Location. Jobs in London are more eagerly sought than jobs in rural Yorkshire.

2. Brand recognition. Most people want to work at the BBC, Channel 4 etc.

3. Entry-level roles and internships are going to attract far more applicants (hundreds) than the more senior, specialised roles out there.

4. How well written is the job description and how thorough is it? If the employer is too vague in what they are looking for then they are only encouraging unnecessary applicants, which is a waste of time for all involved.

5. Salary. Additional allowances. Perks. Bonuses. And so on.

In terms of giving an average, blanket number, it has been stated elsewhere that any given graduate and/or entry-level job will receive anywhere between 100 - 160 applicants. As we now know, this 'average' number means very little.

Ultimately, very little of what is written here will come as a surprise to many of you. As I've said before, jobs and internships with big brands in central locations get lots of applicants (into the hundreds and occasionally thousands), while smaller companies who are located in more rural areas will struggle to attract as many candidates as they would perhaps anticipate.

Where the above information came from:

I deal with anywhere between ten and thirty individuals each day who are looking to post a job advert onto the Mediargh website, with nearly 7,000 jobs being listed in the past year alone. I've struck up a good working relationship with many people (primarily those who work in HR) from a diverse range of brands including IMG, NBC Universal, Endemol, VICE, STV, Greenpeace, Viacom, the Liberal Democrats, Mumsnet, Incisive Media, and so many more, including smaller regional newspaper Editors, charities and countless start-ups. They provide me with lots of material which forms the basis of many of the articles found here on Mediargh. In this case, the majority of information was gleaned from email exchanges between myself and recruiters from over the course of the last two years. Pretty simple stuff and certainly not an exact science.