A Guide To Interviewing Franchisees

15/03/2018 08:00 | Start a business

How to interview franchisees

When youíre testing the suitability of prospective franchisees, itís important to focus on more than just their financial situation. To find the right candidate for you and your franchise model, you need to spend time and effort developing a quality interview.

What not to do

Before we understand what questions are essential to ask your potential franchisees, there are several things that you shouldn't include in an interview if you want to get the right candidate.

Don't:

  • Focus questions solely on the financial circumstances of the candidate - Although itís imperative that the prospective franchisee has adequate capital to afford the fees, their ability to cover the franchise cost doesnít guarantee that they will be a success.
  • Rush the interview process Ė If you fail to implement a quality recruitment and interview process, you may find that the franchisee you select doesnít meet your expectations. Investing time and effort in the selection process will save you hassle and concerns at a later date.
  • Turn your Discovery Day into a promotional exhibition Ė There is a need to showcase your franchise opportunity to candidates, but you should also use Discovery Days as a great chance to understand more about their qualifications and capabilities.

What questions to include

If you want to find out if a candidate has what it takes to be a successful franchisee, then incorporate the following questions into your interview.

Do you have any experience in franchising?

Being able to adhere to a franchise model and follow the rules isnít for everyone. If your candidate has no experience of franchising at all, they may not appreciate just how unique being a franchisee is compared to being an employee or an independent business owner. It shouldnít go against the candidate if they have never worked in the franchising industry, but they should be able to demonstrate an understanding of whatís involved in owning a franchise.

Do you have any experience in this industry?

Just as with franchising experience, itís not a requirement to have a background in the chosen industry. The training which is covered by the initial franchise cost usually provides the franchisee with all the skills and knowledge they need to get their business off the ground. But, combine comprehensive training with industry experience and the candidate has a much higher chance of success.

Why choose to work in this industry?

Franchisees who are passionate about your industry bring something different to the role of franchisee than other candidates. Owning a franchise can be hard work and requires dedication and commitment. A franchisee that loves what they do will be more willing to do what it takes to make their franchise a success than someone who is just in it to make a profit.

Why choose this franchise?

With more than 900 franchise brands in the UK, it's good to understand what made the candidate choose your franchise. Ideally, you want a franchisee who has an affinity with your brand and was a fan of your products/services before they even considered becoming a franchisee. If your franchisees believe in your brand, then it will be easier for them to sell the benefits to their customers.

What are your long-term goals?

The long-term goals of the candidate may dictate how compatible they are with your franchise model. You may be looking for franchisees that want to remain with your franchise for many years, but the candidate may be using a franchise term to give them the confidence and skills to start up their own independent business a few years down the line. You may also be interested in franchisees that are ambitious and have a desire to open multiple units in the future. Therefore, a candidate that is content to own and operate just one franchise may not meet your criteria.

What are your expectations about how much commitment is needed?

The answer to this question will give you invaluable insight into whether the candidate is ready to be a franchisee. The early days of starting a franchise can be tough and often involve long hours, late nights and working weekends. Franchisees need to dedicate lots of time and effort, and often donít reap the rewards of their hard work until the second year of running their business. If a candidate views a franchise as a quick and easy route to profitability, then itís very likely that theyíll underestimate the amount of time that needs to be devoted to making a franchise succeed.

Have you discussed owning a franchise with your family?

Because of the sheer number of hours that candidates may need to plough into the franchise in the early days, it's vital that they have the full backing of their loved ones. Having the support of family, especially a partner or spouse, is almost essential for the success of a franchisee. You may want to consider insisting that the candidate's partner is involved during the early stages of the recruitment process so that they have a full understanding of the commitment thatís being undertaken.

How will you fund the franchise cost?

The primary requirement of any prospective franchisee is their ability to be able to afford the franchise investment. However, you need to ensure that they can fund, not just the franchise fee, but the ongoing costs too. It may seem intrusive, but you need to ask about their net worth and liquidity. You need assurance that they have enough money to start and keep going.

Whatís your exit strategy?

It may seem unusual to discuss the candidateís exit strategy before theyíve even become a franchisee, but savvy franchisees will understand the importance of this question. If a candidate is able to confidently talk about how they envisage moving on to their next challenge, it demonstrates that they have a real grasp of franchising and could prove to be the perfect franchisee.

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