Why Some Chain Restaurants Started Contacting Job Applicants From Years Ago

If you applied for a job some time ago — and by that we mean a few years back — you might expect to get a callback from that company — if you haven't had one already. While that callback might seem a bit desperate to you, know that your instincts are not wrong. Some companies, including restaurant chains, really are desperate to get workers back now that the pandemic has retreated somewhat. 

Under normal circumstances, jobs get filled as more people seek out work. But that's not what is happening today, because as Insider points out, companies might be reopening, and they might be looking to hire, but few workers are biting. As New York Times reporter Ben Casselman pointed out via Twitter in early July, data showed that "There was roughly 1 unemployed worker for every available job opening in May." The situation is so dire that in a June 1 report, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce identified the lack of workers as "the most critical and widespread challenge" to enterprises around the country.

Insider points to a few possible reasons why people aren't in a rush to get back to work. COVID-19 is still very much an issue, and 30% of Americans are still unvaccinated. Childcare — or lack thereof — limits what parents can or cannot do. Unemployment benefits might also be taking the urgency of picking the first job that comes up.

Social media users pinpoint the reasons why jobs aren't being filled

The Wall Street Journal says the shortage is forcing human resource firms to try new ways to get people to consider the jobs they have on offer. One of those tactics involves getting in touch with past applicants, just to keep lines of communication open. Unfortunately, not all are receptive. The Wall Street Journal reported that David Brady applied at McDonald's two years ago and received no reply. They recently contacted him for an interview. "I said, you guys ghosted me. You guys weren't there for me, I'm not going to be there for you," he replied.

Social media provides some clues as to why people may not be too excited about going back to work just yet, and the workers themselves say part of this is about compensation. As one Twitter user pointed out: "Have they tried raising their wages to a livable level? Reminder that no individual can survive on a $15 wage anywhere in this armpit nation." Another worker tweeted: "tell us we need to raise the minimum wage without telling us we need to raise the minimum wage."

A third said this shortage could also be tied to the way companies treated their employees. "Companies never thought the tables would turn. They treated employees like s*** because they thought they'd get away with it. I am LIVING for this," they tweeted

No matter what the reason for this unusual labor market situation might be, Insider predicts this could be resolved as people vaccinate and schools reopen.