Let’s do some quick math. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates the number of working 16- to 24-year-olds—a key hiring demographic for restaurants—will drop by 2.8 million within the next seven years. At the same time, the number of foodservice and drinking establishments is on the rise, according to the agency. Carry the zero, and that adds up to a whole lot of hiring managers in need of a vacation.
To attract this dwindling demographic, some restaurants are tailoring their application materials to Gen Z and millennials.
1. Get social
To get young people in the door, McDonald’s has rolled out “Snaplications” on social media app Snapchat. Interested applicants watch a 10-second video of McDonald’s workers talking about their experiences on the platform. If the video grabs users’ fleeting attention, they can tap on a link to the chain’s career page and a Snaplication.
Arby’s streamlines its application process by asking potential hires if they’d like to sign in via LinkedIn, Facebook, Google Plus or Yahoo.
2. Phone it in
White Castle has invested in a new applicant tracking system that allows the chain to follow up with potential candidates via text. The store also displays signs telling guests to text a number to receive a job applications. “You have to hit them where they are,” said John Kelley, chief people officer for the chain, at a recent industry event.
3. Tighten it up
Hoping to reduce the number of candidate drop-offs, White Castle cut its application down from 60 to 15 questions. The application presents one question at a time, and uses artificial intelligence to ask follow-up questions based on candidates’ answers.