McDonald’s on-job evaluations: what to do and how to impress

An ability to pick up things quickly is not only helpful, it’s essential.

McDonald’s on-job evaluation (sometimes known as the on-job experience) – or OJE – is the third stage in its graduate recruitment process. It involves would-be trainee managers spending a day in a restaurant, talking to representatives, completing various business-related tasks and a business case study. As part of the day, you will have a 30-minute interview with one of McDonald's operations consultants (who oversees up to eight restaurants).

'The reason we hold OJEs is because, while we are aware that people can write good application forms and take psychometric tests, we want to see how potential employees find being on the shop floor,' says Ilona Hodson, resourcing officer at McDonald’s Restaurants Ltd. 'It’s invaluable to see how they handle engaging with customers and working with our busy restaurant teams.'

Essential tips for standing out on the McDonald's OJE

Talk to people and ask questions. 'It’s good to strike up conversations with various people you meet,' says Ilona. 'Normally we will have our consultants there as well as our restaurant managers, and possibly the operations manager. A wide range of staff will be on hand to answer questions, give advice and talk generally about the organisation.' It’s also good to think of specific questions you’d like to ask at the end of your interview. 'During the interview, candidates are given an opportunity to ask questions and I would urge you to be prepared, as interviewers do expect them,' she advises.

Do your research beforehand. 'It sounds obvious but some people come to us having not read anything we’ve sent them,' Ilona says. However, your preparation should go beyond reading the information given to you. You should have a good look around McDonald’s recruitment website and its videos on YouTube. Look further afield for mentions of the company across other media and business-related websites. Read about how its competitors are doing in the market place and their business strategies, too. As Ilona says, 'the more you know, the more likely it is that you will have informed questions to ask.'

Demonstrate your attention to detail. 'In any job you need to show that you can pick out the important elements,’ Ilona reflects. 'In our OJE, if you are prepping and cooking food, you’ve got to ensure that hygiene is always a priority.'

Maintain your energy levels throughout the day. 'Working in a restaurant can be hard work and we need people who have bags of energy and don’t tire easily,' Ilona points out. 'This is especially important in retail environments where you are dealing with customers all day. You need to have both mental and physical stamina to make it through the session and still be smiling.' Make sure you get a good night’s sleep the night before.

Show that you can prioritise, multitask and think on your feet. 'We provide the really detailed training but an ability to pick up things quickly is not only helpful, it’s essential,' says Ilona. You'll be given tasks that require you to multitask and prioritise. Make sure you have good reasons for choosing what to do first. When making your decisions, keep in mind the importance McDonald’s Restaurants Ltd places on giving excellent customer service and ensuring safety.

Remember the company's objectives and be results-driven. 'Businesses and organisations need to be commercially focused so you need to be results-driven,' says Ilona. This means that you need to be able to think about what an impact your actions and those of the people you manage will have on the bottom line and the reputation of the company. 'Being results-driven involves commitment to what you’re doing, the ability to influence people to achieve a goal, and to be hands-on, no matter what the job is,' says Ilona.

Dress smartly. 'We’ve had some people arrive in crumpled shirts or jeans,' says Ilona. 'That doesn’t give an air of authority – you have to look the part to play the part.'

Don’t be late. As Ilona says, 'If you can’t get to a recruitment event on time, it doesn’t create the right impression.' Leave yourself plenty of time to deal with travel delays and, if you can, do a test run the day before.

Use the day to decide if the job is right for you. 'Experience of this type can help applicants decide if the environment is right for them, as it’s not necessarily something you would know until you experience it for yourself,' reflects Ilona. It may be cliched, but it's true: interviews and assessment days are a two-way process. They provide as many opportunities for you to find out whether the company would suit you as they do for the company to find out whether you would suit it.

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