McDonald’s helped popularize the drive thru. Can it do the same for what it calls the “apply thru“?
The fast-food giant will now allow job seekers start their job application process via Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant using phrases like “Alexa, help me get a job at McDonald’s” or “Ok Google, talk to McDonald’s Apply Thru,” all without getting up from the couch. After answering a few questions regarding their name, job area of interest, and location, applicants will receive a text with a link to complete the job application process online. This feature is available in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Spain, the UK, and the US.
McDonald’s, which employs 2 million people at 38,000 restaurants worldwide, is using creative tactics to attract more applications in a tight labor market. It provides perks, such as college-tuition assistance, English-language courses, and career advisement, to help employees develop workplace skills. A survey conducted by McDonald’s found that in the US alone, more than 128,00 former McDonald’s crew members have gone on to become nurses, more than 489,000 have made a career teaching, and more than 2 million have become entrepreneurs.
Later this year, the company plans on launching a “career navigation app” in the US, which will allow eligible employees and others to explore jobs at McDonald’s as well as in other industries like healthcare and IT.
While elevating the application process to voice technology may speed up the job application process, the benefits for job seekers may be perhaps smaller. According to a 2018 report from NPR and Edison Research, fewer than 12% of people in the US own either an Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant.
Still, we’re starting to see more uses cases for voice technology that go beyond setting up reminders or describing the weather—and more evidence that a 64-year-old hamburger chain, which also is experimenting with self-order kiosks and drive-thru digital menu boards, can keep up with new technology.