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Interview tips for McDonald's trainee manager job

The facts

Ambition needs to be tempered by realism.

The final stage of the McDonald’s trainee manager selection process is a one-to-one interview with an operations consultant (who oversees up to 12 restaurants). To have come this far, you’re already in a strong position: you will have already demonstrated that you can do the job on the shop floor as part of your on-job evaluation (OJE). Now, you need to prove that you are fully informed about the role and that you really want it.

Prepare for your knowledge and commitment to be questioned

According to Jess Wheatley, talent acquisition officer at McDonald’s, one of the aims of the final interview is to ensure that the trainee managers they hire have sufficient understanding of, and commitment to, the role and company. ‘Our operations consultants have considerable experience of managing restaurants and know exactly what it takes,’ she says. ‘They want to ensure that would-be trainee managers have a realistic understanding of what the job entails.’

Therefore, it would be a good idea to think about how you would answer the following questions. They may not be asked in your interview, but having good answers will mean you have a foundation for the questions that do come up:

  • What are your career aspirations?
  • What would you expect to be doing in six months’ time if you joined McDonald’s as a trainee manager?
  • How long do you expect it to take before you are promoted? How long would you expect it to take before you run your own restaurant?
  • Are you happy with the fact that working as a trainee manager involves shift work, including overnight and at weekends? Are you happy with the effect that working shifts could have on your social life and other commitments?
  • What are the biggest challenges you’d expect to face in the role? What aspects of the role would you enjoy the most?
  • Which of your qualities/skills/attributes would help you the most in your first few months?

Temper your ambition with realism for a management job at McDonald’s

Preparing for these questions requires some self-reflection. If you are horrified by the possibility that you could miss Saturday rugby practice regularly, for example, the trainee manager position won’t be for you – and this is the final chance for the interviewers to discover that.

These questions also require research. You need to further investigate the training, development and career progression available at McDonald’s to gain a realistic answer. ‘Retail is a competitive sector,’ says Jess. ‘Many of our candidates are highly ambitious and we welcome that, but that ambition needs to be tempered by realism.’ Given that you are placed on a training programme of 20+ weeks on joining and that you will then work as a second assistant manager, you won’t be running your own restaurant within six months.

To begin your research into your career path and what it’s like to work for McDonald’s, read all of the information on this employer hub, including McDonald’s graduate brochure, which is attached to its graduate employer profile. One of the worst mistakes is to not do your homework: ‘Don’t come under-prepared,’ advises Jess. ‘Some people come to see us without even having read the information we’ve sent them. This doesn’t convey commitment to the role.’

Think back, too, to the conversations you’ve had with area managers and other McDonald’s employees at the OJE.

Other likely McDonald’s interview questions

As with any final interview, it would be wise to prepare answers about when you developed certain skills, about your previous work experience and how you think you performed at the OJE.

Convey your commitment with questions

Your interviewer wants to see how committed you are to growing with the company. Asking them questions in the interview will help you to demonstrate your commitment. Alongside any questions that you personally want to know the answer to, you might find it interesting to find out about the interviewer’s career progression, the skills they use the most or what they enjoy most about their job. These types of questions suggest that you are considering joining McDonald’s for the long haul.

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