"I was feeling like everybody really wants this job. I'm gonna have to work really hard. I've been looking all morning at this," Alexis Goodloe, applicant, said.
Thousands of people applied for work at McDonald's restaurants around Chicago. As many as 1,900 could be hired in the area. The company is calling it National Hiring Day.
"It's a great opportunity. McDonald's is a big company. There has to be opportunity grow," Christopher Hill, applicant, said.
Hill, like other hopefuls, wants not just a job, but also a career.
"Our business has been strong over the last two years, which has been terrific for us, so this is about giving an opportunity to folks and really highlighting the opportunities at McDonalds," Jim Norberg, McDonald's Senior VP, said.
The Illinois unemployment rate is falling, but it's still at 8.8 percent.
"Think back in the recession when we heard about mega-numbers in the job market, it was about layoffs. Now we're seeing big hiring announcements," John Challenger, of Challenger, Christmas and Gray, said.
Some applicants feel the hiring campaign offered too much hope to people desperate for work. Nikita Killingsworth and Khardae Young say they have been to five McDonald's and applied online. They say the stores advertised interviews, but instead they found only more applications.
"We [were] waiting and then when we got close to the interview table they stopped it," Killingsworth said.
"I'm tired. I'm ready to go, but I'm not giving up," Young said.
ABC7 was asked by security to leave the McDonald's at 64th and Ashland after applicants said they were being turned away. Some of the job applicants spoke outside the restaurant.
"They say come back at 1 p.m. and I come back at 1 p.m. and it's a different story. We just taking applications. I just need a job, man. That's all I want," Doniel Williams, applicant, said.
"I feel devastated because I have a 4-year-old son and I really need to provide for my son. So I'm kinda devastated right now, but I'm going to continue to search," LaToya Robinson, applicant, said.
McDonald's said there were interviews at some restaurants but others took applications only. Those still interested can apply online, www.mcdonalds.com. McDonald's said the large number of applicants means it will take awhile for the restaurants to get back to people.