Amazon’s Alexa Can Now Help You Get a Job at McDonald’s

Fast food giant enlists voice assistants, including Google, to find new talent

People in nine countries can now use Alexa or Google Assistant to apply for a job at McDonald's. McDonald's
Headshot of Ann-Marie Alcántara

To find its next batch of new talent, McDonald’s is turning to Amazon’s Alexa and Google Assistant.

One of the world’s most recognizable brands has a new global recruitment campaign, “Made at McDonald’s,” and with it the first voice recruitment skill called McDonald’s Apply Thru to help people apply to jobs at the QSR chain.

With a simple “Alexa, help me get a job at McDonald’s” or “Hey Google, talk to McDonald’s Apply Thru,” people in nine countries can start the process for applying to a job through the voice assistants. The fast-food company is also going out-of-home with digital billboards, highlighting its job platform in Melbourne, Berlin and Warsaw; showcasing where McDonald’s careers have led in the Netherlands’ Rembrandt Square and London’s Piccadilly Circus; and featuring more stats in Times Square.

For a company less concerned with duking it out with Burger King in marketing efforts and instead transforming its business through acquisitions like Dynamic Yield, this is yet another step in the Golden Arches’ digital evolution.

David Fairhurst, evp and global chief people officer at McDonald’s, describes technology as essential to “enhance the employment experience” of the chain’s 1.9 million workers around the world.

“Across our major international markets, we’ve already implemented a range of initiatives from online scheduling systems, which enable our people to take greater control of their working hours, to the use of gamification and augmented reality in the delivery of our core training programs,” Fairhurst said in a statement. “Our voice-initiated application process—Apply Thru—is just one more way we are using technology to benefit our people.”

It took a village of agencies to pull together the voice skill, with Leo Burnett UK producing the “Made at McDonald’s” platform, Shaker handling digital advertising, Golin U.S. led the activation around the voice assistant and public relations, and AI company Paradox creating the Alexa and Google Assistant skill.

According to a McDonald’s spokesperson, part of the push into using voice assistants as part of a recruitment process is to “allow [McDonald’s] to reach more people on their terms.”

Voice-activated assistants like Alexa, Siri and Google Assistant are seemingly everywhere. According to a July 2019 eMarketer report, more than 111 million Americans (one-third of the nation) use a voice device at least once a month, with Amazon’s global share of the market up 25.4% in Q2 of this year

The skill starts rolling out today in the U.S., U.K., Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy and Spain. After initiating the skill, applicants will provide their personal information and answer some questions about areas of interest, and then receive a text message to finish the application. A McDonald’s spokesperson said the company “takes data protection very seriously” and is “committed to safeguarding customer information entrusted to McDonald’s.”

The skill isn’t the only part of the “Made at McDonald’s” global campaign. The fast-food giant is also showcasing the various careers former McDonald’s employees have moved on to, such as the 128,401 workers who became nurses and more than 489,302 teachers.

To come up with these data points, the company conducted an online survey of its current and past McDonald’s employees in July. With the campaign, the QSR chain is also showcasing its “Archways to Opportunity” education program that offers employees a chance to earn a high school diploma and college tuition assistance. Since 2015, more than 40,000 restaurant employees have enrolled, according to the company. In Europe, McDonald’s committed to offering 43,000 apprenticeships by 2025.

“For decades, McDonald’s has supported a diverse range of individuals in developing core workplace skills that last a lifetime,” Fairhurst continued. “Skills that have enabled millions of them to embark upon the rewarding and fulfilling careers we are featuring in the ‘Made at McDonald’s’ campaign.”

@itstheannmarie Ann-Marie Alcántara is a tech reporter for Adweek, focusing on direct-to-consumer brands and ecommerce.