Advice & Tips Franchisee Franchising 101 March/April 2021 Resource Articles

5 Things You Should Know When Hiring for Your Franchise

Franchise Canada explores tips and advice to help you hire star employees for your franchise

By Stefanie Ucci

As a franchisee, you’re responsible for the hiring of all staff members in your franchise. These employees will represent your brand and interact with customers every day, so it’s important that you onboard people who are an ideal fit for your team.

While skills and qualifications are the first step to the hiring process, you should look beyond those to consider the candidate’s personality and performance. You should also examine where you want to post your job openings to ensure you attract the right candidates, and keep in mind that you always have your franchisor and fellow franchisees as support. Throughout the hiring process, you should consider how a candidate will work with your existing staff and customers, and you can get the second opinion of a colleague before onboarding a new employee.

Here, Franchise Canada explores five tips that you should know when hiring for your franchise.

1. Brainstorm realistic qualities and skills for your ideal candidate

There are many qualifications that you’ll be looking for when you hire team members. When thinking about who would make the ideal candidate for a position, it’s important to think beyond the job title and responsibilities. You should consider what type of skills, qualifications, and personality traits you’re looking for. But keep in mind that there’s more to a candidate than just the skills and experience written on their résumé, and you’ll find out more about their personality during the first phone call or interview.

For example, for management positions, you may want a motivating leader who’s also a team player that can positively influence and inspire other staff. For customer-facing positions, you could look for a social personality who isn’t afraid to approach customers and strike up a conversation to make a sale. Some positions may require staff to be able to work independently or as part of a team.

You should also think about your skills in reading people from a first impression. Ask yourself whether you’re able to gauge whether a stranger will be a good or bad addition to your team. The first interview will allow your candidates to delve into their personal skills and qualifications, but it also gives you a chance to see how they interact with people, their general demeanour, and if they talk about themselves with passion and can represent your brand well.

2. Diversify your job posting process

Today, most jobs are posted online to a variety of websites, which helps promote postings to a wider range of candidates. However, this may overwhelm you with many applications that can take a while to sort through.

The key is to post your job openings on websites that ensure you receive applications from the most suitable candidates. You should also tailor the description, duties, and qualifications to include the technical and experience-based skills that you’re looking for, to ensure that you’re getting applications from those who are most qualified.

You can also consider participating in job fairs but should keep in mind that you’ll need to do adequate promotion beforehand in order to ensure that your target candidates will show up.

When hiring for your franchise, you can ask friends and family for referrals. They may know young students looking for a part-time job or adults looking for a new management position, and are likely to recommend hard-working and reliable people to help support you in your new endeavour. Once your franchise is up and running, you can then ask your best employees to recommend candidates for open positions. As a star employee, they probably know people similar in personality and work ethic and will know what type of person would help your business thrive.

As for social media, you’ll likely use it for the marketing and advertising of your franchise. It’s also a great place to post job openings to prospective candidates. Since your followers will include some loyal customers, you can reach a network of interested applicants who know your brand.  

3. Don’t be afraid to consult your franchisor and fellow franchisees

As a franchisee, you go into business for yourself, but not by yourself, and consistently have the support of your franchisor behind you. If you’re stumped about what to include in a job description or what skills and qualifications to look for in candidates, consider reaching out to your franchisor for help. After all, they built the brand and know what type of person they want to represent it, plus they’ve likely seen hundreds of employees from various stores and know what work experience and personality works best. Your franchisor may also have job description templates that they can offer to help get you started in the hiring process.

You can also contact fellow franchisees, some of whom have likely hired dozens of people during their franchising careers. They’ve hired for the exact same positions and know what qualities made for the best candidates. They may have also learned from hiring mistakes and can offer advice for you to avoid making the same errors. While you can reach out to any franchisee in the system, you should also meet with owners in nearby territories. They could have recommendations for employees who are looking to move closer to your franchise location, or can offer referrals from their star employees for friends or peers looking for a job in your area.

4. Create a two-step hiring process during interviews

After posting the job and drumming up applications, it’s time to sort through the résumés and narrow it down to a short list of applicants to interview. Your first interview will allow your candidates to shine a spotlight on their skills and experience, while also giving you a feel for their personality and cultural fit with your franchise. During the interview process, you’ll likely narrow down your short list once more to a small group of candidates who you think would thrive in the position.

However, before you decide to pick an individual, you might want to consider a two-step hiring process to get the opinion of another staff member. This will eliminate any biases you may have and allow you to discuss the pros and cons of each candidate together.

During this second interview, you and your teammate can sit down and ask deeper questions to candidates you’re seriously interested in. You can also consider having one person lead the interview while the second person focuses on the candidate’s body language to determine how confident they are in their responses to different questions.

As always, references can also shine a light on candidates and can provide additional information about the person from a former supervisor’s perspective. They can tell you about the person’s work ethic and personality. One of the most important questions you should ask a reference is, “If you had the opportunity to hire this person again, would you?” The answer should always be a resounding “yes!”

5. Examine candidates through the lens of a customer

While the focus during the interview process should be on whether a candidate will be a good fit within your team, you should also consider their skills and personality through the perspective of a customer. After all, the new hire will consistently represent your brand while on the clock, and you need to consider how they will interact with consumers.

Everyone within the franchise system contributes to the customer experience, so it’s important that each person has the skills and knowledge it takes to create a good one. If the candidate seems timid and shy during your interview, it’s possible they will be the same way when approaching and interacting with customers. Someone with a bubbly and outgoing personality during the interview will probably also be that way when greeting and serving customers. Having years of customer service experience doesn’t necessarily mean they have the go-getter skills it takes to close a sale and create satisfied and loyal customers.

Happy customers will share positive feedback with friends, family, and colleagues. However, unhappy customers may share negative feedback with their network or could turn to the internet and social media to express their concerns. 

You should consider what customer experience each candidate seems likely to create and use reference checks to verify their skills. Also keep in mind that some individuals can be trained to develop their skills over time, so a candidate with minimal customer service experience but an ambitious attitude can grow into a star employee for your franchise.