“Alexa, help me get a job at McDonald’s”

Discussion
Source: McDonald's
Sep 30, 2019
Tom Ryan

McDonald’s last week launched its Apply Thru app which enables job seekers to start an application by using voice commands with Amazon’s Alexa or Google’s Assistant.

If users ask, for instance, “Alexa, help me get a job at McDonald’s,” Alexa plays the “I’m lovin’ it” jingle and then asks the applicants a few basic questions ranging from their name, job area of interest and location. The voice assistant then states which positions are available in an applicant’s area and texts a link to continue the official application process online. 

The voice assistants further share some benefits of working for the fast-food chain including how the experience can help develop careers elsewhere. According to USA Today, one session ended with Alexa saying, “You might not know a job at McDonald’s can lead you into technology, but 300,422 former crew members have become IT professionals. Ever notice that 0’s and 1’s look like burgers and fries?”

McDonald’s developed the technology and is the first employer to use Google’s and Amazon’s platforms to jumpstart the job application process.

“We must continue to innovate and think of creative, and in this case, groundbreaking ways to meet potential job seekers on devices they are already using, like Alexa,” said McDonald’s EVP and chief people officer David Fairhurst, in a statement. “Alexa has many of the qualities we look for on our teams — friendly, responsive and fun. I am looking forward to having our application process simplified with Alexa.” 

This move is part of a larger Made at McDonald’s campaign, which highlights how working at McDonald’s can support broader career development.

Apply Thru is complemented by other recruitment tools such as text, social media and messaging. A McDonald’s program launched in 2018 called Youth Opportunity aims to reduce employment barriers for two million young people by 2025.

A study last year by Phenom People, the talent relationship marketing firm, found that employers that don’t provide candidates with a positive experience throughout the recruiting process lose appeal in three key categories: attraction, engagement and conversion. 

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Do you see voice assistants emerging as a major hiring and recruiting tool? Is tech tied to mobile devices the bigger opportunity? Do most retailers provide a positive or negative candidate experience?

Please practice The RetailWire Golden Rule when submitting your comments.
Braintrust
"If recruitment was done exclusively via technology like Echo, maybe including interviews via Echo Show video devices, that would be far more revolutionary!"
"It does cement Amazon that much more in users’ minds and helps position McDonald’s as a bit more cutting edge or savvy than would likely otherwise be thought."
"The advertising part of it, I get. And perhaps helping the job seeker get pointed in the right direction. Completing any part of an application, not so much."

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8 Comments on "“Alexa, help me get a job at McDonald’s”"


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Neil Saunders
BrainTrust

This is interesting, but is it really all that innovative? Alexa is simply advertising jobs which are available. The application for those positions still needs to be undertaken online and, presumably, via some kind of interview and check.

If recruitment was done exclusively via technology like Echo, maybe including interviews via Echo Show video devices, that would be far more revolutionary!

Chris Buecker
BrainTrust

Voice will become the leading approach for people investigating in general on the internet. The use of voice assistance technology is currently increasing at an amazing rate. Voice assistants can indeed become another way of starting the job search. I doubt, however, that they will become a major recruiting tool.

Ken Lonyai
BrainTrust

VUIs(Voice User Interfaces) and/or conversational interfaces (a broader term which includes text chat) and the intelligent assistants behind them are coming to every aspect of computer user interface on a daily basis. So this is no surprise. In fact, right now, there are many chatbots operating in “HR roles” including taking preliminary applications and screening applicants. However, this is squarely in the novelty/gimmick camp, or at least on the marketing side–it doesn’t do much more than make a pitch for McDonald’s and provide an application link, something that can be found via a number of paths.

It does cement Amazon that much more in users’ minds and helps position McDonald’s as a bit more cutting edge or savvy than would likely otherwise be thought.

Peter Charness
BrainTrust

When Alexa returns a list of 25 open jobs that meet a verbally expressed criteria and starts slowly reading them out — it’s back to quickly scanning a list. Voice is not the perfect interface for all things.

Lee Kent
BrainTrust

The advertising part of it, I get. And perhaps helping the job seeker get pointed in the right direction. Completing any part of an application, not so much. I cant speak for the rest of you but not just occasionally do I have to correct words in my voice messaging. When it’s just a voice text to a friend, who cares. For a job application, its imperative to be correct. For my 2 cents.

Shep Hyken
BrainTrust

We focus on creating convenience for our customers, so why not convenience for our potential employees? Attracting good people is competitive. So why not grab some attention with a new way to start the application process? Using Alexa or Google Assistant is but one way to do so. For fun, I tried it. I went as far as filling out the application. It was easy (as in convenient) and different (as in fun).

Craig Sundstrom
Guest

No I don’t see “voice” merging a major recruiting tool (and, in this example the command shows the speaker was already interested, so I don’t really see the point of the promo).

Certainly companies should keep up with technology. I can’t imagine a company that refuses applications via e-mail going very far, but if we assume a certain amount of motivation in a candidate is a good thing, I question how much value is gained in “dumbing things down” this much. Is asking someone to find and click-on the McDonald’s web site really asking too much?

Lantz Starratt
Guest
I agree with Lee’s post. It’s pretty essential that the application is done correctly when it is pertaining to employment. When every part of the process is dissected down to the time you took to make sure there were no grammatical or spelling errors in your job application, I believe we still have a long way to go before we are to that place where this could be truly seamless. So I do not see it becoming a major hiring or recruiting tool. When I ask Alexa to tell me what song is in the latest Hyundai commercial and she comes back with a list of Hyundai dealerships that is fine. But when it is for your future job and you are asking a voice assistant to send your resume to the right position then there is bound to be some room for improvement. As far as McDonald’s and them ascertaining a solid footing back in the world of fast food, just when everyone had seemed to forgotten their relevance. They come out with tuition… Read more »
wpDiscuz
Braintrust
"If recruitment was done exclusively via technology like Echo, maybe including interviews via Echo Show video devices, that would be far more revolutionary!"
"It does cement Amazon that much more in users’ minds and helps position McDonald’s as a bit more cutting edge or savvy than would likely otherwise be thought."
"The advertising part of it, I get. And perhaps helping the job seeker get pointed in the right direction. Completing any part of an application, not so much."

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