Recruiter displays over 300 applicants for each open position

After the Federal Reserve raised interest rates, the American labor market seems to be cooling off. American employers reportedly added 236,000 jobs in March, falling short of expectations, and scores of online users are complaining that finding a job is harder than ever.

Users have claimed to have unsuccessfully applied to 80, 100, 500 and even 557 positions. In most cases, the potential employer does not even reply.

Now another user on TikTok has sparked a discussion after showing what it’s like on the settings page.

In a video with over 63,000 views (as of Saturday), TikTok user Mike (@realisticrecruiting) shows five open positions in his company. Each has over 300 applicants.

“This market is rough!” he writes in the caption. “I was on both sides of it. It’s not just bad settings that cause the problems.”

@realisticrecruiting job hunting tips: This market is tough! I was on both sides of it. It’s not just a bad attitude that’s causing the problems. #jobsearchtips #jobinterviewtips #jobsearch #layoffen #jobsuche #berufsberatung ♬ O-Ton – Mike | Realistic job advice

For context, poor hiring practices appear to be causing at least some of the problems.

In a March 2023 article for The Wall Street Journal, writer Te-Ping Chen notes that numerous companies have admitted to posting job openings for positions they were not actively seeking to fill.

“In a survey of more than 1,000 hiring managers last summer, 27% said they had had job postings for more than four months,” writes Chen. “Of those who said they advertised vacancies they were not actively trying to fill, nearly half said they keep the ads up to give the impression that the company is growing, according to Clarify Capital, a provider of Small business loans behind the study.”

However, many of the factors that control the labor market are not in the hands of hiring managers.

One factor is the Federal Reserve’s recent rate hike. Put simply, rising interest rates make borrowing more expensive. This can theoretically lower inflation by encouraging consumers and businesses to save rather than spend.

However, this also has a human cost, which is easily recognized by economists.

“While higher interest rates, slower growth, and weaker labor market conditions lower inflation, they will also cause some pain to households and businesses,” Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said in August 2022. “Those are the unfortunate costs of lowering inflation .”

Some put it more bluntly – former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers has called for higher unemployment to control rising costs, saying “we need five years of unemployment above 5% to contain inflation.”

On TikTok, users shared their concerns about finding a job.

“Dude I’m trying to get out of teaching after 7 years and I’m applying for everything I can for curriculum/training development and nothing,” one user wrote under Mike’s video.

“There have been a lot of layoffs in my industry. So if there’s one vacancy, it’s over 1000, especially if it’s remote,” said another.

“3,000 applications, dozens of job interviews. Multiple professional resumes. Multiple reviews. Over 20 years of leadership experience. 12 months. No job,” said a third.

We reached out to Mike via Instagram direct message.


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*Initial publication: April 8, 2023 at 9:30 am CDT

Braden Bjella

Braden Bjella is a culture writer. His work can be found in Mixmag, Electronic Beats, Schön! magazine and more.

Braden Bjella

Jaclyn Diaz

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