Franchisors Need to Interview Franchisee Candidates
Do Less Talking and More Listening
by Ed Teixeira
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.
- Describe a situation in which you were able to use
persuasion to successfully convince someone to see things your
- Tell me about a time when you had to use your presentation
skills to influence someone's opinion.
- What is your typical way of dealing with conflict? Give me
- 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).
- Give me an example of a time when something you tried to
- Give me an example of when you showed initiative and took
- Give me an example of a time when you motivated others.
- Describe a time when you anticipated potential problems and
developed preventive measures.
- Please tell me about a time you had to fire a friend.
- Describe a time when you set your sights too high (or too
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