Employers Complained About Worker Shortages, One Person Called Their Bluff

A worker in Florida applied to 60 job openings and found some startling results.

3 min readOct 21, 2021


Signs like these are likely a bigger problem driven by employers sabotaging themselves © Joe Randolph / Getty Images

There has been a lot of moaning about a so called “labor shortage” in the United States. Medium and Large employers are chronically complaining that nobody wants to work and have been quite vocal about it by passively aggressively posting signs next to their businesses. One person in Florida was curious and decided to conduct a social experiment on his own time.

Joey Holz is employed but he was curious if there was any merit to these arguments. He kept hearing employers blaming everything from laziness to the pandemic stimulus check and he was curious. So his curious mind wandered if there was any substance to these arguments and started an experiment. Last month he submitted two applications a day (60 in total) to employers seeking new hires. Holz applied to positions that he was qualified for, that didn’t require a degree, and didn’t require six months of experience.

He then kept track of how many employers responded to his applications and gauged their interest based on four categories: interview, phone call, email response, no response. With the stories you hear about a shortage you would think that people would be desperate to hire well qualified people like Holz right? Out of the sixty applications he submitted how many were interested in hiring him to get started right away?

Results of social experiment reveals nearly three-quarters ghosted him ©SandDollar04 on Twitter

Two. Not twenty two. Two.

One was an in-person interview at a construction firm where it was advertised that he would start at $10 an hour and be working full time. But when Holz arrived for the interview he was disappointed. The interview said he had the potential to earn $10 an hour (meaning after a year or two) but they were starting at state minimum of $8.75 an hour and that they were only looking for part-time. He received four follow-up phone calls, and 16 email responses. But the biggest problem was 73.3% never bothered responding to his applications, treating him as an afterthought.

“58 applications says y’all aren’t desperate for workers, you just miss your slaves”

The findings are very similar to my own experience with getting a job. When I was looking for a job several years ago I applied to one hundred applications over a six week period for positions I was qualified for. I spent time and energy looking over my resume and CL, so how many responded to my application for an interview? Two. And even then the interviewers told me to expect to earn less than was advertised and I had to call them back after they didn’t tell me if I got the job or not. The ghosting part is the most irritating as is this quote.

“There’s no labor shortage; There’s a shortage of employers paying fair wages”

There is not labor shortage, there’s a shortage of respect for potential workers eager to hear back from you. There’s a living wage shortage, a shortage of benefits, a shortage of vacation days, a shortage of paid family leave, and a shortage of gratitude for workers who drive the economy. The bottom 90% has been taking it on the chin over the last fifty years, wages adjusted for inflation have gone down, employees are earning less in health and retirement benefits as costs of living continue to increase. The growing sense of entitlement and narcissism by large and medium employers crying about workers, while doing nothing to change how they hire workers is unsustainable.

Giving someone your time of day is a sign of respect. Ghosting someone who puts in time and effort to work ruins your chances of hiring a person willing to work for you. Especially a well qualified candidate which disproportionately is already discriminated against by your ATS system. People will work if you pay them more and show them your time of day by bothering to contact them. No amount of passive aggressive signage is going to compel people to work for you, respecting them and being honest will.




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