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Franchisors Need to Interview Franchisee Candidates

Do Less Talking and More Listening


When some franchisors qualify franchise prospects they place emphasis on the financial and business qualifications, however, the process needs to include a quality interview.

Ask most franchisors about qualifying and screening franchise candidates and the response is typically: “We want to grant franchises to the most qualified candidates because we don’t want our franchisees to fail.” However, the franchisee selection process that some franchisors follow makes it difficult to achieve this objective. Franchisors that utilize testing and screening tools as a predicator of future performance can increase the odds of choosing the right candidate. I’ve yet to see data that indicates how many franchisors utilize these tools. My feeling is that they are in the minority.

How a franchisor can select the wrong candidate:

  • Too much emphasis is placed on the financial profile of the candidate as a performance factor rather than as simply a qualification. In other words, the capital a candidate can invest in no way ensures future success. For some candidates it might mean that they will lose more money than another franchisee with less capital.
  • The franchise selection process is sales driven. The primary franchising activity is based upon traditional selling techniques that include eliminating the objections of the buyer, in this case a weak franchise candidate could be granted a franchise and thus be headed for failure
  • Discovery Day becomes a perfunctory exercise in “show and tell” rather than the opportunity to gain an in-depth knowledge of a candidate’s qualifications and capabilities.

Interview candidates to learn the facts

To gain a well rounded portrait of a candidate a franchisor should conduct a thorough candidate interview. This approach should be used in addition to any candidate testing or profiling.  I would suggest using open-ended questions that force the candidate to explain an answer. These types of questions known as behaviorally based require the candidate to answer with a detailed response. I recommend asking these questions before a Discovery Day visit in order to obtain as complete a profile of the candidate as possible. If this approach isn’t practical then some questions could always be asked during Discovery Day.

Here is a list of 10 sample behavioral-based interview questions from Katharine Hansen, Ph.D. Franchisors can choose the questions that are most appropriate for the type of franchise being considered.

  1. Describe a situation in which you were able to use persuasion to successfully convince someone to see things your way.
  2. Tell me about a time when you had to use your presentation skills to influence someone's opinion.
  3. What is your typical way of dealing with conflict? Give me an example.
  4. Tell me about a time you were able to successfully deal with another person even when that individual may not have personally liked you (or vice versa).
  5. Give me an example of a time when something you tried to accomplish failed.
  6. Give me an example of when you showed initiative and took the lead.
  7. Give me an example of a time when you motivated others.
  8. Describe a time when you anticipated potential problems and developed preventive measures.
  9. Please tell me about a time you had to fire a friend.
  10. Describe a time when you set your sights too high (or too low).

When qualifying and selecting franchisee candidates franchisor representatives should focus part of their screening process on conducting a comprehensive interview of the candidate.

© 2011 FranchiseKnowHow, LLC

Ed Teixeira is the President of FranchiseKnowHow, LLC. He can be reached at franchiseknowhow@gmail.com


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