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    Restaurant Hiring | 12 min read

    How Jimmy John's Consistently Delivers A Great Applicant Experience

    In this week's Workstream webinar, we have Worsktream's very own hiring specialist, Austin Truong, to bring us through what makes a great applicant experience. With the pandemic outbreak, it is extremely important to provide applicants with the best experience. We see that 75% of candidates never hear back from the company after sending an application, 60% of candidates say they've gone for an interview but never heard back, and 22% will tell others if they've had a bad experience to not apply for the company. This places the reputation of the company and the chances of hiring great talents at stake.

    Read on for the full transcript:


    Trends in the QSR Industry

    (01:28 - 05:43)

    • Job applicants can come from a variety of sources ranging from various job boards like Indeed and Craigslist, to friend referrals.
    • It is important to communicate the way applicants want to communicate, and applicants are increasingly moving towards a mobile phone driven experience rather than relying on email or paper applications. They are moving more to a digital and on-the-go experience.
      • Candidates often check their text messages almost constantly rather than personal emails that could be filled with spam causing it a hassle to filter through their mailboxes. 
      • Brands such as Jimmy John's, McDonald's are building a great candidate experience by engaging right when applicants apply for a job rather than waiting a few days to review their application. This can be done by sending applicants a text message saying hey, happy that you're applying for the job! Here's the next step of the process. 
      • Constantly keep that communication channel open throughout the applicant process. This will help applicants feel like they're already starting to get to know your brand right when they begin applying.
    • Many brands such as Jamba are now requesting candidates to send in a video introducing themselves. This is helpful as candidates are able to express themselves and their engagement in the actual job they're applying for. This also gives hiring managers a chance to get to know the applicant even before the interview starts. By listening to these video introductions, there's already some conversational starting points and icebreakers for the actual interview.
    • We also see a lot of Jimmy John's build an applicant process which allows the applicant to have control in scheduling an interview. This makes the experience extremely easy. When the interview is ready to be scheduled, applicants can select a time slot that they are available directly from their phone. Hourly workers tend to be applying for over 20 different positions at one time and hence, it is key to be able to provide a good experience by being fast in engaging and communicating with them through the entire process.

    Jimmy John's Product Demo - Sourcing for Applicants

    (06:23 - 08:37)

    • Applicants of Jimmy John's can find out about job positions via Jimmy John's career page (which is integrated with Workstream), or on job boards such as Indeed, Craigslist, Glassdoor, Facebook.
    • As a candidate, you will be able to filter through the different roles that you can apply on the careers page.
    • When a candidate applies for the delivery driver position, they will be able to see an overview of the company, maybe some of the values and more about the positions and requirements.
    • Upon clicking on apply, candidates will see an application form which is completely customizable depending on what fits your needs.
    • Everything you see is designed to be optimized for the mobile devices as most applicants are browsing for jobs on the go. They are hence able to apply really easily as this is designed for the mobile experience and also for the computer experience though data shows that most applicants come in via mobile instead of computers.

    Jimmy John's Product Demo - Hiring Process

    (08:38 - 17:03)

    • Within Workstream, you're able to filter through the different positions that are listed for various locations that your business manages.
    • At a glance, hiring managers are able to see an overview of how many people have applied, how many people are in progress through the Workstream platform.
    • As an applicant, you will have to fill out a few questions upon applying for the job. Aside from collecting basic information like email and mobile number, candidates will also be prompted to answer a few questions like have you worked at Jimmy John's? Are you looking for a full-time or part-time position? Do you have a valid driver's license?
    • By asking these questions, hiring mangers are able to easily filter through the pool of candidates and sieve out those that are qualified. Those that do not qualify will automatically be rejected and a rejection letter will be sent to avoid leaving candidates in any limbo situation.
    • Upon submitting the application, candidates will receive a text message on their mobile. This allows for applicants to be instantly engaged and they will feel like oh they're actually reaching out to me, they're actually talking to me.
    • The next step will also be sent in the text message and it will say hey congratulations for applying for the job. We moved you to the next stage of the application. Please click on this link to continue the application process.
    • Candidates can click the link on their phone which brings them to answer some additional questions like what days are you looking to work, what shifts, total hours etc. It's important to break these application questions out in chunks rather than having an extremely long form. Candidates will get turn off just by seeing an application that is four pages long and could potentially take half an hour to apply for everything. As such, they may not even fill out the application. By breaking it into chunks, it makes it a lot more digestible for the candidate. 
    • Right after filling out the additional questions, candidates will get another text message which allows them to proceed to the next stage of the hiring process. In this case, since it's for a driver's position, candidates will be prompted to upload a picture of their driver's license here along with the valid insurance card.
    • From the hiring manager's perspective, they hiring process is broken down into three different stages - the additional information stage, the driver information stage, and the on-site interview stage. That entire process was pretty much completely automated, a hiring manager didn't even have to really be involved from a reaching out perspective but the candidate feels like they're being engaged because we're sending out text messages throughout that entire process.
    • Hiring managers are able to directly message the candidates and the candidates can text back on their phone and it will show up on Workstream. We can leave feedback on the candidate, how their experience fared, see their information regarding their resume file and driver's license all at one shot.
    • Jimmy John's allows their candidates to automatically schedule an interview based on what time fits them best. Candidates will receive a text message on their mobile to prompt them to schedule an interview and they can easily do that on their finger tips. This helps to avoid the whole back and forth of figuring what time works. All the hiring manager had to do is say hey I'm available through these time blocks and candidates just pick a time that works for them.
    • The entire process was quick and engages them right away.

    Jimmy John's Product Demo - Automated Messages

    (18:31 - 19:57)

    • No show is pretty common especially with the QSR space.
    • Automated messages helps to better create the applicant experience by sending out reminders.
    • So when they're about to have an interview, a text message is sent out and said hey I just want to give you a heads up that your interview is coming later today. Make sure to show up or let the hiring manager know that you won't make it.
    • If the applicant is stuck in one of the stages after they filled up the application, we can send out reminders and say hey make sure to fill out the remaining of the questions, we're excited to continue to know you and interview you.
    • In the event they don't respond back or they ghost too many times, the system can automatically reject the candidates if they're not being responsive and engaging.

    Jimmy John's Product Demo - Scheduling Interviews

    (19:58 - 20:29)

    • Hiring managers are able to select what time slots they are available to interview and give the ability for the candidate to automatically schedule that interview, giving them more control and flexibility.
    • Workstream also integrates with Google calendar and Outlook calendar. If you have other meetings, you want to make sure you're free on those specific days.

    Jimmy John's Product Demo - Other Methods of Sourcing

    (21:02 - 22:37)

    • Workstream give you access to dozens of job boards and all these will now be pointed and centralized into Workstream.
    • So instead of relying on one job board such as Facebook jobs, maybe Indeed, you're going to have a whole suite of job boards you can have access to.
    • Workstream also automatically re-post to that job board after 30 to 60 days to make sure that the job boards are always refreshed.
    • You can also pay for advertisements if you have a need to fill a really high demand, you can still pay for that and it still will be centralized in here through Workstream.
    • You can also share about the job on Workstream through social media using your existing brand or they can just text the number directly and get the application link really easily.
    • Referral programs can be introduced to get all your employees to refer their friends to work and you can give little benefits and say hey refer a friend and if they accept the job, we'll give you a $25 Amazon gift card so there's ways to get creative to encourage friends to apply.

    Jimmy John's Product Demo - Onboarding

    (24:08 - 27:06)

    • From the onsite interview stage, you can click on the application and click move to stage and you'll be able to send out the offer letter.
    • Candidates will be sent out a text message with the offer letter and they are able to sign the offer directly on their phone.
    • Everything will be kept digitally and streamlined including W-4s and I-9s. You can always print it out if you need after you have it in your system.
    • Sodalicious is printing out job posters and placing them on their drive-through storefront. As their customers are driving through, they're likely to go hey actually I would love to work at Sodalicious and they can essentially text this code to receive the job application link and begin applying for that position.
    • You can also add QR code where prospective candidates can literally pull their camera on their phone and just take a picture of the QR code. This will then send them over to the application link.
    • Brands like Jimmy John's and McDonald's are making use of this hiring process to engage and get their candidates fast, giving them the experience quickly without having them be in a limbo.


    1. Are all these messages automated or do you have two-way text messaging too?

    • You're able to do automated messages. Applicants can also text you and you're able to communicate with them in the Workstream platform, so you're going to have to be able to do both.

    2. Can we send custom text message blasts? Can you customize automated text messages?

    • Yes you can. All these text messages can be completely automated, they could also be completely customized to what your needs are and you will be able to send out blast messages. You can also send one-off messages directly to candidates.

    3. Does this info sync with our ATS system or do we use it in place?

    • That depends. I'd love to actually dive in deeper to learn what ATS system you're using but there are ways we can integrate into systems or you can potentially use this as your existing ATS.

    4. Do you integrate with ADP?

    • We have an integration with ADP and we're currently making that integration much better. Think of Workforce now, it's a specific product with ADP that we're integrating within but we'd be happy to chat more about what that integration looks like in the future after this call.

    5. Can you choose which of your hiring managers see these answers? I have multiple locations.

    • Yes. So you're actually able to create different users with different roles and you can say hey for this location out here in Draper, the Jimmy John's they're able to only manage that specific position or you can even say I want them to only manage this specific stage of the process so that can be really customized depending on what your needs are when it comes to permissions and who is managing what and who. 

    6. What about candidates who are not tech savvy or don't use phones? How would their application be processed?

    • It's actually multifunctional so phones is one way of using Workstream, but it's also being used on their computer. So if they have access to email, they're still able to do everything traditionally like how things were done on the computer. Let's say this applicant doesn't have access to computer or phone number. Actually, we have a Chick-fil-A location here in Utah and what they're doing is they actually have an iPad on site or some kind of Android device where applicants can fill out the application in person but everything will be kept digitally so that is an option also.

    7. Am I able to track which job boards are performing better than others?

    • We have an analytics section here where you're going to be able to see where the applicants are coming from, if it's from Indeed, if it's from Glassdoor and you'll be able to see hey when I'm paying for Indeed, I'm actually getting much higher rate people are getting to actual interviews or getting to actual hires so you'll be able to track all that.

    8. Do you support QR codes for the job application?

    • Yes, as shared, you're able to use QR codes when taking pictures.

    9. How many job boards does Workstream integrate with?

    • We have that access to already built in dozen of free ones, so it's about 12. But we have access to over 25,000 job boards where you can have very specific locations of where the job boards are based in, or based on industry. 

    10. Do we have the ability to create our own offer letter?

    • You have the ability to create your own offer letter so yes, you can upload your own documentation in and they would still be able to essentially sign that. I believer Chick-fil-A and BlackJack Pizza, they're on Denver, they've actually uploaded their entire workbook where they can essentially have signed the workbook as they're going through the different pages.

    11. Are we able to maintain employee files on Workstream?

    • Yes, you would be able to maintain all the files on Workstream. Here on applicants, you're going to be able to filter out all the people for example who have hired so you're going to have the applications on file and if needed, you can still always print out this information. You can also export the data out and put it somewhere else if necessary but everything will also be stored on Workstream itself.

    12. Do you do background checks?

    • You would also be able to add background checks. So if you go into one of the positions here and click on edit position, you can actually add a new stage and here's the background check stage. I'll just call that background check. So how the background check works is it's being done with what is called Checkr where essentially you'll be able to automatically have background checks when they reach that certain stage too.

    13. I own a few stores. Are you still doing the corporate deal and can I get the same?

    • Yes, so we do have a partnership with Jamba corporate. Would love to sync up with you so you can email me at, or feel free to call me or text me. I'll put my cell phone number in the chat.

    14. Are we able to upload existing documents in like medical records and so forth?

    • You would be able to upload that. If you go to the actual applicant itself, I can click on the application and under files, I can add more files here if necessary.

    15. Can I get your email address?

    • Yep my email is and I would love to understand your hiring process more, dive into your existing process and when it comes to how it works, we have a lot of templates built out for different QSR industries. When it comes to getting set up with Workstream, we're very hands-on so what we typically do is we would work from one of these existing templates, understand your current hiring process and we'd have a dedicated individual who goes in there and make sure the questions are customized to your needs, what the process looks like. And then within a few days, we get the roles posted and the entire process is generally pretty streamlined after.  

    Want to learn more about Workstream? Contact us today

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    Restaurant Hiring

    Austin Truong

    Hiring specialist at Workstream. I’m a BIG optimist. I started my journey as a software engineer, then an entrepreneur, then I fell in love with B2B sales (3+ years). My passion lies in understanding business challenges and finding solutions. I’ve consistently attained quota at multiple B2B SaaS Tech Startups. I approach sales with a problem-solving mentality, developing repeatable processes. I strive in early-stage start-ups, the unknown, the grit, the scrappiness - I love it. I love to read, recommend me a book!

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