Wait, What? McDonald’s is Hoping to Hire How Many People With the Help of Snapchat?

Recruitment with Snapchat has predominantly been a sideshow. Aside from a dash of employer branding with Spectacles, their eyeglasses, and a little dabbling Down Under, there has been nothing of significance. And certainly nothing that would get the attention of a serious employer.

Granted, a greater level of respect is deserved. Aside from the fact the popular mobile app enjoys 100 million daily users, its users also watch 10 billion videos each day. Snap is a public company and growing-up quickly. People are even getting internships with some clever messaging tactics, showcased in the image below.

Example of how to get an internship thru Snapchat.


Thanks to McDonald’s, however, Snapchat took a big step toward legitimacy as a recruiting tool this week. The CNBC headline, “McDonald’s to hire 250,000 employees this summer, to use Snapchat to lure millennial job seekers,” says it all.

“We’re always looking for new and innovative ways to find job seekers,” Jez Langhorn, senior director in HR for McDonald’s USA, said in a statement via CNBC. “We thought Snaplications was a great way to allow us to meet job seekers where they are — their phones.”

Here’s basically how it worked in a recent test in Australia:

  1. At McDonald’s, customers interested in a job are invited to add a lens to the Snapchat app. This is a little bit like a QR code.
  2. The lens becomes available for a limited time, allowing users to turn themselves into a virtual McDonald’s employee and record a 10-second video to pitch the company on why they should consider them for employment.
  3. These 10-second pitches are then sent to McDonald’s. The best prospects are then contacted to interview.

“It certainly won’t replace a thorough face-to-face interview, but we’ll obviously take it into account,” said Shaun Ruming, chief operating officer of McDonald’s Australia, in a recent story. “We’re looking for that positivity, bubbly personality, someone we think would be good in a customer-service role. Based on what my daughter sends to her friends, you do get a bit of a glimpse [from a 10-second video].”

McDonald's Recruiting via Snapchat
McDonald’s in Australia is Recruiting via Snapchat

The version that prospects will see in the States will more resemble a traditional ad on Snapchat, where a 10-second video plays that promotes job opportunities. From there, users can swipe-up to see an online application. Not as clever as the Aussie version, but no less important.

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The platform won’t make sense for a lot of employers, but those searching for a unique way to connect with a young demographic would do themselves a favor looking into Snapchat’s marketing opportunities. McDonald’s said that more than half of the hires in its company-owned restaurants are between the ages of 16 to 24 years of age and, for many, McDonald’s is their first job. Snapchat, in many cases, is their app of choice.

McDonald’s will also leverage millennial favs Hulu and Spotify to employ engage with potential burger-flippers.

Employers tend to be a pretty risk-averse group of folks, so kudos to McDonald’s for throwing some digital spaghetti at the wall to see what happens. Its ‘Snaplications’ strategy in Australia was good enough to make it out of the test phase in into the U.S. market. Don’t be surprised if it becomes a strategy that Mickey D’s takes into the fall and into 2018.

Will more fast-food restaurants and others in the service industry looking to hire young workers follow suit? Definitely maybe. “It’s critical to examine all avenues when trying to reach and connect with right-fit talent,” said Joe Shaker Jr., president at Shaker Recruitment Marketing. “Snapchat, in particular, is an incredibly relevant platform among Gen Zs and Millennials. Being an early adaptor in utilizing this tool not only provides a unique way for companies to stand out to potential new hires, it also enhances the candidate experience making it more engaging and memorable.”

“I’m not surprised by McDonald’s move to leverage Snap for summer hires,” added Lars Schmidt, founder of Amplify//. “The key driver for recruitment marketing is showing up where your audience resides. Snap is a platform where many in their target market use daily, so it’s a natural place to reach them. This doesn’t mean Snap is right for every company, but if the audience you’re trying to attract is there, you may want to invest in Snap.”

Joel Cheesman has over 20 years experience in the online recruitment space. He worked for both international and local job boards in the late ‘90s and early ‘00s. In 2005, Cheesman founded HRSEO, a search engine marketing company for HR, as well as launching an award-winning industry blog called Cheezhead. He has been featured in Fast Company and US News and World Report. He sold his company in 2009 to Jobing.com. He was employed by EmployeeScreenIQ, a background check company. He is the founder of Ratedly, an app that monitors anonymous employee reviews. He is married and the father of three children. He lives in Indianapolis.