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What Franchisors can Learn from Traditional Recruiters

by Steven Frost

Franchisors frequently cite a lack of suitable franchisees as a significant barrier to their growth. Steven Frost, Franchise Consultant at Smith & Henderson, explains what they can learn from traditional recruiters to help overcome this.

The idea that the best talent is concentrated among people not looking for jobs has become widely accepted in the recruiting community. Dubbed, “Passive Candidates”, these are people satisfied with their current position, who are highly engaged and most importantly, many are high flyers accomplishing great things. They are not actively seeking a new opportunity and do not spend anytime trawling through job boards or reviewing job advertisements in the press.

In contrast, ‘Active’ job seekers are those who are not satisfied with their current situation. Many of these are driven by ‘push’ factors – unhappy and de-motivated, and often average or poor performers. It’s estimated that less than 15% of the population are Active Candidates and it is these who are likely to be identified through traditional advertising.

Because the best candidates often aren’t seeking work, traditional recruiters invest time and resources reaching out to them. Most franchisors however, do not. In fact, the traditional ways of recruiting franchisees through advertising in the trade press, online directories and franchise exhibitions all share a fundamental flaw - they only target people actively pursuing franchise opportunities.

Reaching passive candidates can be quite challenging. The approach a franchisor takes should depend on its unique requirements and the franchise profile. The tools available include:

- Referral Programs – encouraging staff and existing franchisees to identify and refer suitable potential franchisees. These could be friends and family, or weaker ties such as people they have worked with in the past. Referrals can be the number one way to identify potential franchisees as well as establish contact.

- Converting Customers – happy customers are advocates for what you do and tell their friends and family. Best practice franchisors build awareness of their franchise opportunities and convert these to future franchisees.

- Social Media – these channels allow franchisors to build awareness of their brand, increase candidate pull and strengthen relationships with potential franchisees. With sites such as LinkedIn growing by 100,000 users each week if used effectively, these offer franchisors unrivalled opportunities to reach hard to find talent.

- Specialist Talent Finding Partners – franchisors that benefit from specific skills and experience can appoint a search consultant to proactively seek out the best match franchise talent. They should think carefully about this and only work with a partner with a strong understanding of franchising and who they believe can represent their brand appropriately.

For more information, please contact steven.frost@smithhenderson.com. Smith & Henderson are a leading firm of Franchise Recruitment and Development specialists, and British Franchise Association Affiliate Members. They specialize in helping leading franchisors radically improve how they source, select and manage the very best franchise talent.

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