Wondering how to prepare for franchise interviews? This guide will help you find and appoint the very best investors, covering everything from topics to focus on to attributes to look out for. Carry on reading to find out more about recruiting franchisees to expand your business.
The thought of hiring franchisees can be daunting - you want to find someone who will respect and protect your brand, as well as push it forward to new heights. But the franchisee recruitment process doesn’t need to be scary.
Let’s start by going over the key topics you should bring up in your interviews. Finding the answers to these questions will help you narrow down your search and appoint the perfect investor.
Topics to focus on in your questions
Their previous experience - both as a franchisee and in the industry
As a franchisor, you’ll probably offer a good level of training and ongoing support to your investors, so candidates don’t necessarily need lots of experience. However, knowing where your applicant stands will help you gauge their perspective and ambitions, as well as how much guidance you’ll need to give.
Why they chose the industry and the franchise
Owning a franchise can be hard work and requires dedication. A candidate who has a genuine interest in the sector will be willing to go the extra mile to make sure their franchise unit performs well. Someone who’s just in it for the profit is likely to be less successful in the long run and could even damage your brand.
Their long-term goals
Ask about the applicant’s ambitions to work out how well they would slot into your franchise. Do they want to remain with your business for many years or use franchising to give them the confidence and skills to start up their own business later on? You’ll need to decide whether either approach suits your expansion strategies.
Their commitment and family support
Running a franchise unit can be difficult, so candidates should be committed to building a profitable business. Having the support of family members, especially a partner, can be incredibly helpful during tough times, so talk about where the applicant can find personal support.
Their financial situation
You might think this is intrusive, but you should always ask about investors’ net worth and liquidity. You need to be sure they have enough money to start a business under your brand and keep it going. If it becomes clear they don’t have the money, why not go through the various funding options available to franchisees?
Their exit strategy
It may seem unusual to discuss the candidate’s exit strategy before they’ve even become a franchisee, but savvy investors 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 shows they have a real grasp of franchising and could prove to be the perfect franchisee.
For a full list of franchisee recruitment topics, see The Top Interview Questions to Ask When Recruiting Franchisees.
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DOs and DON’Ts when interviewing franchisees
- Put the candidate at ease - You’ll be able to get a better sense of the person you’re interviewing if you go out of your way to make sure they’re comfortable. Offering them a drink and kicking off the session with a quick overview of your business will give them the chance to relax and settle in.
- Listen to their answers and let the conversation flow naturally - Many interviewers enter the room with a rigid set of questions and no intention of straying from their pre-made print-out. If the candidate touches on an interesting subject, don’t be afraid to ask them to elaborate or follow up their answer with more questions on the same topic.
- Give the candidate the chance to ask questions - An interview is the candidate’s chance to find out whether they feel they fit in at a business. Answering any questions they have at the end of the session will help you avoid hiring unsuitable investors.
- Rush the interview – If you don’t implement a high-quality recruitment and interview process, you may find the franchisee you select doesn’t meet your expectations. Investing time and effort during the selection period will save you hassle later on.
- Focus solely on the candidate’s financial situation - Although the successful applicant will need to have enough capital to launch their business, there are many other topics you can focus on. Interrogating a candidate will probably make them feel uncomfortable and could affect the rest of the interview.
- Turn the interview into a promotional exhibition – You should, of course, sing the praises of your business to candidates, but don’t over-do it. Coming off as ‘salesy’ could lead applicants to distrust you - plus, you’ll waste time you could use to get to know the person sat opposite you.
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What to look for in franchisee candidates
Every franchise is different, but there are certain attributes most franchisors look out for when recruiting franchisees. You’ll probably want your chosen franchisee to be:
1. Cooperative and approachable
Any interview candidate should treat the interview as a chance to show you how they would act as a franchisee. They may be nervous, but you’ll be able to get a sense of the sort of person you’re dealing with. Anyone who comes across as disinterested, standoffish or rude probably won’t make the best franchisee.
2. Willing to follow the franchise system
Franchising is all about taking an established business model and replicating it. There’s rarely room for individual franchisees to change their operating strategies, as the brand’s products or services should be consistent across the network. Be careful with individuals who appear particularly headstrong or independent, as they may have trouble following your rules as closely as you’d like.
You’re going to be working closely with your franchisees, so it’s crucial you have a good working relationship. Candidates should understand your business’s values and be passionate about the factors driving the brand forward. Whether you’re focussed on creating an unmatched customer service, developing the highest quality products or reducing your environmental impact, make sure your chosen candidate shares your enthusiasm.
Alternatively, browse our articles for franchisors to find out about other topics.
Alice Tuffery, Point Franchise ©