The four steps of the McDonald's application process

Assessors are looking for evidence of leadership and teamworking abilities, as well as calm-minded problem solving skills.

The recruitment process for McDonald’s trainee manager graduate scheme lasts around four to eight weeks and consists of a four-step process:

  1. Online application
  2. Personality questionnaire
  3. On-job evaluation (OJE)
  4. Interviews

Stage 1: McDonald’s online application

The online form is fairly straightforward and asks for personal details, two references, educational history and some short answers (no more than 500 words) to six competency questions. The six questions are delivered under four headings – teamwork, leadership, customer service and career choice.

McDonald’s teamwork application question

As a McDonald's Manager you will be responsible for the direction, development and results of your team. Tell us about a time when you had your greatest success in building team spirit. What specific results did the team accomplish? (max 500 words)

McDonald’s leadership application question

A successful McDonald's Manager will consistently re-evaluate the business, providing solutions to problems they encounter and looking for new ways to develop the business. Describe a time when you have encountered a problem and implemented your ideas to overcome this. What was the outcome? (max 500 words)

McDonald’s customer service application question

Exceptional Customer Service is a core company value and vital to a successful McDonald's Restaurant. Describe a situation where you have exceeded what was expected of you. What did you do, and what was the end result? (max 500 words)

McDonald’s career choice application questions

What appeals to you about Restaurant Management and what qualities/experiences make you suitable for the position? (max 500 words)

Which of your past jobs have you enjoyed most and why? (max 500 words)

What were the negative aspects of this job? (max 500 words)

Which are the best examples to use to answer McDonald’s application questions?

Drue Hammond, talent acquisition manager at McDonald’s Restaurants, has told TARGETjobs: 'Simply stating that you enjoy and are good at working in a team, being a manager or working with the public won’t be enough. We’ll want to see that you have demonstrated these skills and that you’ve achieved a positive outcome.’

But are any examples better than others? ‘Although it would be great if you can show us that you’ve used these skills in a busy commercial environment, we know that as a student or graduate, you may not have had the chance yet to manage people or work as part of a large team,’ says Drue. ‘So, if you were lucky enough to be left in charge of the bar at university then you could mention how you organised the staff roster to arrange constant cover, ensured that you never ran out of stock and came up with loads of ideas that kept the tills ringing – that would be perfect.’

However, don’t worry if you weren’t. You can still make the most of your other experiences. As Drue says: ‘If you were in charge of anything from a sports team to a drama group or have undertaken voluntary work, don’t just tell us about what you achieved – show us why you did what you did, how you helped and coached others and how you went about doing it.’

What does McDonald’s want to see in your career choice application answers?

To answer these questions, you need to have a good understanding of the day-to-day work of a trainee manager and have the skills needed to succeed. ‘Tell us why you think you’ve got what it takes to join our business and be a successful manager,’ advises Drue. ‘This is your chance to show that you’ve done your research and understand what the role involves – and what it is about you that makes you perfect to be a manager in one of our restaurants.’

When writing about the job you most enjoy, it would be beneficial if what you enjoyed dovetails with what you would experience as a trainee manager at McDonald's. So writing that you enjoyed the decision-making and reacting quickly when you were a pool lifeguard, for example, would impress because you would need to use those attributes at McDonald's.

Stage 2: McDonald’s personality questionnaire

Following submission of the application form, candidates are asked to complete a personality test, designed to evaluate their personal values and suitability for the role. Its main focus is on leadership qualities and the ability to work well in a team.

Stage 3: McDonald’s on-job evaluation

The on-job evaluation (OJE) is a day-long assessment in which candidates try out various tasks on the shop floor. Candidates join a restaurant crew for the first part, learning about customer service, cash-handling, equipment maintenance, food hygiene and health and safety.

Later on candidates learn about complaint handling and shift management. Candidates are observed while they take part in a series of group exercises to overcome various problems. Assessors are looking for evidence of leadership and team-working abilities, as well as calm-minded problem solving skills. Candidates have the chance to discuss the manager’s role and find out what would be expected of them.

Get more advice on the OJE and how to impress on the day.

Stage 4: McDonald’s interview

The final stage is an interview with an operations manager. This may cover educational and work history, the motivation to join the company and basic competencies. It’s also an opportunity for candidates to ask questions about the job and future prospects.

Get more advice on how to succeed at McDonald's final interview.

The company usually contacts candidates within ten days regarding job offers once the assessment process is complete.

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