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Florida worker applied for 60 entry-level jobs and got an interview

  • In the United States, companies say they are struggling to find employees, especially for hourly work.
  • Joey Holz decided to test their claims by submitting two entries a day in September.
  • Holz got an interview and his recap of the experience went viral on multiple platforms.

Joey Holz remembers first hearing complaints about a labor shortage last year when he called to donate convalescent plasma at a clinic near Fort Myers, Florida.

“The guy went on this rant about how he can’t get help and he can’t keep anybody in his medical facility because they all quit because of the stimulus checks,” Holz said. to Insider. “And I’m like, ‘Your medical professionals have dropped checks over $1,200? That’s weird.'”

Over the next few months, the 37-year-old saw a growing chorus of companies saying they couldn’t find anyone to hire because of government stimulus funds. It was so pervasive that he joined a “Nobody Wants to Work” Facebook group, where users made memes poking fun at frustrated employers.

Yours Truly Restaurant Marketing Manager Coleen Piteo puts up a sign that reads:

Yours Truly puts up a hiring sign on June 3 in Chagrin Falls, Ohio.

AP / Tony Dejak

He said he found it hard to believe that government money was keeping people out of the labor force, especially when the end of expanded federal unemployment benefits didn’t seem to trigger an increase in employment. All expanded benefits ended in September, but 26 states — including Florida — ended them in early June and July.

“If that extra money that everyone’s supposed to live off of stopped in June and now it’s September, obviously that’s not what’s stopping them,” he said. Workers said companies struggling to hire do not offer competitive wages and benefits.

So Holz, a former catering employee and charter boat crew member, decided to conduct an experiment.

On Sept. 1, he sent applications to two restaurants that had been particularly public about their staffing issues.

Then he expanded the test and spent the rest of the month applying for jobs — mostly to employers expressing a lack of workers — and tracking his journey in a spreadsheet.

Two weeks and 28 applications later, he had just nine email responses, a follow-up phone call and an interview with a construction company that advertised a full-time job focused on cleaning the site, paying 10 $ per hour.

But Holz said the construction company instead tried to offer Florida’s minimum wage of $8.65 to start, even though the wage was set to increase to $10 an hour on Sept. 30. He added that she wanted full-time availability, while only planning on part-time until Holz gained seniority.

Holz said he was not applying for any role he was not qualified for.

Some jobs “required a high school diploma,” he said. “Some wanted retail experience,” he added. “Most of them said ‘willing to train’ or ‘minimal experience,’ and none of them were over $12 an hour.”

He said, “I didn’t apply for anything that required a degree. I didn’t apply for anything that said ‘must have six months experience in this field’.”

Holz is not alone. Others also spoke of their difficulties finding work, despite a seemingly tight labor market.

In a Facebook post on September 29, which also went viral on Twitter and Reddit, Holz said, “58 apps say you’re not desperate for workers, you miss your slaves.”

“My opinion is that it is a familiar story to many,” he added.

By the end of September, Holz had sent out 60 applications, received 16 email responses, four follow-up phone calls and the solitary interview. He shared a pie chart showing his results.

Joey Holz job application results pie chart


Joey Holz

Holz acknowledged that his findings may not be representative of the country’s larger labor challenges because his research was local and targeted the most vocal critics of stimulus spending.

He added that despite claims from some companies that are struggling to hire, his boss has had no staffing issues during the pandemic.

“Nobody leaves these positions because they take care of their people,” Holz said, referring to his boss.

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