Finding the right franchisee for your franchise brand can be extremely challenging. To help make sure you make a smart business decision, which doesn’t come back to bite you further down the line, we’ve suggested the top interview questions to ask when recruiting franchises.
To be successful in the franchising world, it’s important that you forge a profitable, long-term relationship with your franchisees. But in order for this to materialise, you need to make sure that the potential candidate has the relevant skills and resources to run their own lucrative franchise unit. It’s quite common that franchisors fail to ask some crucial questions, and without gaining this information from the get-go there’s a chance that problems will occur later on. When recruiting franchisees you need to ask open-ended questions where you can collect lots of information and watch out for hesitation or insufficient responses, as this can be a red flag.
The top 20 interview questions to ask when recruiting franchisees
1. What are your goals?
You need to make sure that you and the candidate’s goals are compatible. In other words, can you help each other achieve what you want? This could be to hire family members and pass it to them later on or to acquire more units in the coming years, for example.
2. What skills do you possess that will make you a successful franchise?
Successful franchisors have a strict franchise business plan that they expect all franchisees to follow. Applicants need to show during the screening stage that they have the right skills to carry it out.
Every franchises depends on franchisees with incredibly different skillsets. In some industries, accounting skills will be the most crucial requirement. In others, it will be the ability to communicate well with customers. In some instances, these skills will need to be supported with official qualifications.
3. Do you have any experience working in a sector or business that is similar to this franchise opportunity?
Although there are plenty of academic programmes that teach franchisees a great deal, experience should not be overlooked. It demonstrates that an applicant has put in the hours, learnt on the job, and understands how businesses operate in reality, not just theory.
Experience doesn't just refer to an individual's employment history, though. Many different types of experience can be thought of as learning opportunities, and you should recognise that many of the best franchisees won't be those that are only dedicated to a career. Some things you might also look out for are:
- Travel experiences
- Personal achievements
The skills that are needed for the business world are learnt in many different ways. All of these different kinds of experience provide the opportunity to make mistakes, learn from them, and come out better on the other side.
4. Do you have any concerns about not being successful or something that could go wrong?
5. Do you have a business plan?
The franchisee should produce a detailed business plan that anticipates challenges and has realistic expectations.
6. What are your projected sales after six months, and then a year, of being in operation?
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7. How are you going to finance this?
You’re looking for someone who can pay the franchise fee and that has sufficient working capital to carry the unit through the tough first months of business.
By investing some of their personal capital into the business, the franchisee is demonstrating their ability to save. You should be keen to find proof that a franchisee is capable of being prudent. After all, they need to be able to support a profitable business.
Investing some of their personal capital into the business shows that they are committed to it. If a franchisee is investing their own money, they're risking their private capital and will usually feel a more significant commitment to the organisation. They’re far less likely to jump ship if their own savings are at stake.
8. Which other franchises have you contemplated investing in?
9. Are you expecting to make money in your first year?
The reality is that most franchise units will have an initial period where they’re not turning a profit and franchisees need to be prepared for this eventuality. Consequently, you ned to look for individuals that are financially capable of supporting this kind of investment.
10. Why have you chosen to invest in this franchise?
When scouting out the next generation of talent to take your franchise forward, you’re on the lookout for candidates that agree with your brand values. When you take on a franchisee, you are handing over a lot of responsibility. Your brand is going to be entrusted to someone else, so you need to find someone that you can put faith in.
If a candidate already embodies the brand values at the interview stage, the chances are that they are going to be a safe pair of hands for your business. The qualities looked for vary with each business, and can be defined by the industry that they work in.
11. Do you have any strategies in mind to promote your franchise when you’re up and running?
12. How long/hard are you prepared to work?
This question is very important, as lots of franchisees don’t make much money in the first year. The franchises that do succeed earlier on are usually those that put in more hours to help their business reach its potential.
13. Have you used the services of an accountant or legal expert?
14. When are you hoping to open?
You need to make sure that the franchise candidate is prepared open up as quickly as you are. You might be in a bit of a rush to expand into a certain new market or expand more widely across an existing one and if they can’t fit in with your timings, you might need to reconsider.
15. Do you have any contacts you can use to generate business when you launch?
16. What territories are you interested in?
17. Do you have the support of your spouse or partner?
18. Have you been in touch with any of the existing franchisees? If yes, are there any comments you would like me to address?
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19. If an unforeseen event was to occur and you were no longer able to operate the franchise unit, do you have someone that could replace you?
20. Do you have any plans to acquire more franchises in the future?
The most successful franchisors keep the end in mind even when things are just beginning. It is useful to know if the candidate is planning on acquiring more franchise units or if they plan on selling their franchise unit to a family member.
Recruiting franchisees - a final word
Remember your interview has a specific purpose that goes beyond simply getting to know your candidates. You need to be confident that the brand you have worked so hard to perfect is in good hands. Hopefully, by asking these 20 questions you should gain all the information you need about potential candidates and you can form a strong franchisor-franchisee relationship that lasts the entirety of the franchise agreement, if not longer.
If you’ve found reading this article helpful, why not check out the latest articles for franchisors.
Becky Martin, Point Franchise ©