McDonald’s seeks help of Alexa for recruitment drive

McDonald's Apply Thru lets job seekers initiate applications with voice.
22 October 2019

McDonald’s adds voice technology to recruitment. Source : Shutterstock

Recognized as one of the most successful fast-food chains in the world, with US$6 billion profit generated last year, McDonald’s is swiftly earning status as a tech leader, quick to embrace the latest innovations in its bid to remain competitive and optimize service from 68 million customers each day. 

Earlier this year, Mcdonald’s acquired Dynamic Yield, a technology which provides the ultimate customer-centric experience whereby customers will be shown food and drinks option based on the current weather, time of the day, restaurant traffic, and trending items in the menu.

In its press release upon acquisition, Steve Easterbrook, President and Chief Executive Officer, McDonald’s Corporation stated: “Technology is a critical element of our Velocity Growth Plan, enhancing the experience for our customers by providing greater convenience on their terms.”

Supporting the personalized menu is voice technology. Another acquisition of McDonald’s to simplify the ordering process and save time, inevitably increasing efficiency across all outlets and contribute to business growth. 

Voice-based technology in recruitment  

Once again, Mcdonald’s is pushing boundaries in the use of technology, launching a voice-initiated job application process that works on Amazon’s Alexa and Google Assistant.

“McDonald’s Corporation is now working with a voice millions know and love. Alexa can now assist with the first step of a McDonald’s restaurant job application, helping drive talent attraction worldwide through the McDonald’s Apply Thru skill,” the fast-food giant announced in a blog post.

The move is part of a global hiring campaign, which will launch in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Spain, and soon to other regions, it said. 

Job seekers can initiate the voice-based application just by saying, “Alexa, help me find a job at McDonald’s,” and applicants will be asked to provide some personal information such as name, contact number, roles of interest and location. The next stage would be for applicants to complete the application process online following a link delivered via text.

There were reports of glitches in the technology and improvements can be made to enhance the user experience, but that does not slow down Mcdonald’s driven ideology to embrace digital solutions to reach out to potential job markets.

“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,” McDonald’s Chief People Officer, David Fairhurst said.

He added that Alexa “friendly, responsive and fun” qualities were those the company looked for on its team, adding that the voice technology would “simplify” its hiring process. The company claims to hire 2 million employees worldwide.

Future considerations for voice-based hiring process 

McDonald’s Apply Thru was commented by experts to function similarly to a voice-based chatbot where applicants are asked to provide personal information and subsequently directed to an online site to complete their applications.

However, industry experts are working on voice-activated devices that can ultimately handle all stages of recruitment.

As an example, job seekers will be presented with recent and relevant job listings within a set area upon initiating a search through voice-based technology. Next, job seekers can send over CVs to interesting roles with a voice command.

From the perspective of employers, voice assistants can help screen through applicants and sort out potential candidates based on their phone interview performances.

However, there are concerns of biases in AI-driven recruitment processes such as facial recognition technology to analyze the body language of candidates and potentially misinterpret due to inherent biases in datasets.

In the case of voice-driven application, candidates may be able to land a job based on word choices and appropriate tone during the interview— perhaps more than their ability to perform in the job well. 

There is still a long way to go before the recruitment process is entirely handled by voice-driven technology alone. But McDonald’s willingness to attempt to innovate in what has tended to be a largely uniform process across industries is commendable.  

Undeniably, the fast-food chain’s application of voice-based technology in recruitment is an innovative attempt that changed the hiring landscape since its launch.