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‘Does this filter make me look hireable?’

McDonald’s, Arizona Cardinals evolve to embrace social media disruption
McDonald's using Snapchat to hire workers
The Snapchat "Snapplication"​ puts the candidate in a McDonald's uniform.

By Todd Humber

If you’re looking for more proof that social media is here to stay in the workplace (and, really, who isn’t?) then you need look no further than McDonald’s Canada and the Arizona Cardinals of the National Football League.

McDonald’s Canada

“Stop playing with Snapchat and go find a job.”

That’s a line you can’t say anymore to those darn kids, thanks to McDonald’s, after it announced it is using the popular social media tool to recruit young workers. Snapchat, for those without teenagers running amok in their houses, is an instant messaging application that uses photos and entertaining filters to communicate with friends.

Snapchat, apparently, can do a lot more than just put dog ears, a dog nose and – of course – a dog tongue on your face. All the applicant needs to do is record a 30-second video with a unique lens capturing why they want to work at McDonald’s. No more fudging around with resumés and cover letters.

“We wanted to offer a convenient and flexible application process to attract more young people through our one-day virtual hiring event,” said Stephanie Hardman, senior vice-president and chief people officer at McDonald’s Canada. “From youth applying for their first jobs, to experienced candidates, Snapplications is a new and exciting way for people to kick-start a career.”

And what a talent pool it is – Snapchat has an astounding 12 million daily users in Canada, and 82 per cent of them are millennials. Pay attention, recruiters and hiring managers.

While headline grabbing, the use of Snapchat to lure workers is not entirely new. Back in September 2017, Canadian HR Reporter ran a story with the headline “Employers try out Snapchat for recruitment purposes.”

South of the border, McDonald’s tried out the tool in a campaign where it hired 250,000 workers for the summer. It followed the example of McDonald’s in Australia, which ran the same campaign earlier.

“Users of the Snapchat app could view a 10-second ad of restaurant employees talking about the benefits of working at the chain, then ‘swipe-up’ to visit the McDonald’s career web page in Snapchat to apply to local restaurants,” wrote editor Sarah Dobson.

What is new is the interactivity, where the applicant uses Snapchat to record themselves and uses that to apply. That’s smart – and will have a lot more traction among young workers. Recording a 30-second video of themselves is something they do about 200 times a day. There will be no hesitation amongst their ranks.

But firing up a computer and creating a resumé or writing a cover letter? Or logging in to a careers portal? You might as well ask them to use flag semaphore. (Google it.) They’re not going to do it for a minimum wage gig.

Arizona Cardinals

The National Football League is having its winter meetings. Usually the big headlines are about rule changes and perhaps some severe alleged misdoing by a player or owner. (Looking at you, Robert Kraft, owner of the New England Patriots.)

But the Arizona Cardinals made headlines for a different reason when rookie head coach Kliff Kingsbury announced he was giving players cellphone breaks during team meetings.

“They’re itching to get to those things,” he told ESPN.

The average age of a player on his team is 25. And he’s going to stop meetings every 20 to 30 minutes to let them pick up their phones and text, check social media or scroll through whatever app they happen to love.

“You start to see kind of hands twitching and legs shaking, and you know they need to get that social media fix,” said Kingsbury. “So we’ll let them hop over there and then get back to the meeting and refocus.”

Can you imagine stopping meetings at your company every 20 minutes so people can check your phones? No? Well, maybe you should.

Because if you’ve been in a meeting, any meeting, in the last five years – you’ll have seen similar behaviour. People pick up their phones mindlessly. They think nothing of it – ignoring the speaker and firing off work-related emails and checking on decidedly non-work related things like social media and texts.

In an era of shrinking attention spans, employers may soon be left with no choice but to formalize breaks like this to ensure everyone is paying attention. Because the phones aren’t going anywhere.

Accepting resumés via social media. Breaking meetings up to allow screen time. These are the new normal in the workplace in 2019.

© Copyright Canadian HR Reporter, Thomson Reuters Canada Limited. All rights reserved.

Todd Humber

Todd Humber is the publisher and editor-in-chief of Canadian HR Reporter, the national journal of human resource management. Follow him on Twitter @ToddHumber
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