McDonald’s Claims First ‘Voice Apply’ Process

Roy Maurer By Roy Maurer October 18, 2019
McDonald’s Claims First ‘Voice Apply’ Process

​"Alexa, help me find a job at McDonald's."

That's how interested job seekers can start an application with the global fast-food company, McDonald's recently announced. Claiming it to be the world's first voice-initiated job application process, the company has launched McDonald's Apply Thru, which works on Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant.

The app is currently available in the United States, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom and is expected to roll out to other countries in the coming months. Once Alexa or Google Assistant responds, users are asked to provide basic information, such as their name, contact information, job area of interest and location. Potential applicants then receive a text message with a link to the McDonald's careers site to continue their application process.

The company's aim behind employing an artificial intelligence-powered digital voice assistant is to use technology to make getting hired easier and give people more ways to start entry-level careers at its restaurants.

And even though there have been reported glitches with the technology's rollout and user experience, and job seekers still have to actually complete applications through the careers site, many foresee "voice apply" as the future of hiring.

"Voice search is going to be the next big innovation in our lives, and so applying it to hiring was bound to happen," said Chris Russell, managing director of RecTech Media, a recruiting technology consulting and research firm in Trumbull, Conn. "As consumerization continues to creep into recruitment tech, you can expect other high-volume employers to quickly adopt this new voice-apply channel."

Russell said that voice-apply technology that really listens and thinks is not quite here yet, and McDonald's Apply Thru is closer to a voice-based chatbot. But he's already met with startups that are working to figure out true voice-apply technology.

[SHRM members-only toolkit: Recruiting Internally and Externally]

The Next Evolution of Voice Apply   

Russell said that in the near future, job seekers will be able to ask a voice-activated device to find, for example, any marketing jobs within a certain ZIP code posted in the last 24 hours on Indeed. The tool will rattle off the jobs by title, and the person will able to choose which job postings to listen to before telling the device to shoot over a LinkedIn profile or upload a resume stored in the cloud.

People will also be able to "company hunt," Russell said. Job seekers will able to set up notifications from specific employers alerting them to jobs they're interested in.

Beyond that, voice assistants will be able to conduct initial phone screens supported by artificial intelligence and natural language processing, asking follow-up questions, scoring responses and presenting the results in dashboards for recruiters, Russell said. "It'll be great for recruiters of high-volume roles, eliminating all the time it takes to conduct screening interviews."



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