Why character counts more than skills in franchise recruitment

Some franchisees lack the right personality profile and disposition to make their franchise a success. And franchisors need to beware franchise buyers who fall into this camp, says Mike Irving of Advanced Business Abilities.

“Franchisors often have the mindset that they are in the business of selling franchises, thinking that the more they sell the better off they are.  However, my observation and the statistics of what’s happening in that industry indicate to me that they would be wise to take a more analytical approach to who they’re selling to; focusing more on the longevity of the enterprise rather than simply the sale of another franchise,” says Irving.

“A successful franchisee is someone who is trustworthy, has high integrity and is keen to support the franchisor – they are intrapreneurial rather than entrepreneurial,” he adds.

“This means they are willing to do work within the system of the business to make it a success, rather than charging off in a new direction for their own gain, which often ends in failure.”

Irving suggests successful franchisees are those who see the opportunity as a way of leveraging the established system of the franchise but who will ultimately take full responsibility for growing the business.

“Unfortunately, some franchisees can be bullish but then blame the franchisor when things don’t go as planned.

“A successful franchise has a track record of success due to the personality and skills of the franchisor, so it would be a mistake to think their success can be replicated by someone who lacks the right kind of personality and attitude.”

A franchisee will have good communications skills; they’ll be willing to reach out for help or with questions, and to collaborate and cooperate with the franchisor.

Who makes a good franchisee?

A franchise buyer is ideally someone who is co-operative, has shared common goals and is keen to interact with others. 

They are someone who will solve problems rather than create problems and will add value to any business and make decisions with a group rather than on their own.

A franchise buyer can face and handle situations with ease and is also good at delegation and creating a supportive environment.

An intrapreneur would make a good franchisee as they are goal orientated and aredriven, but they can apply their skills within the current business rather than look outside.  An intrapreneur will behave with integrity, confidence and humility to achieve tasks and will look for opportunities to benefit the franchise.

How to spot a good franchisee

Anyone can display their best side during an interview, so I suggest you set up several hurdles for the potential franchisee to jump over at the interview stage.

Ask them whether they’ve kept to commitments in the past. You’re trying to establish whether that person says what they are going to do which is important to be a franchisee.

Are they honest? Try to ask questions where you can understand their underlying attitudes.

Think about doing a test which may help you in your decision-making process. The predictor profile test is very accurate and includes 350 questions and looks more at behaviour rather than character of an individual. Behaviour is very important as a franchisee. Someone may have a ‘nice’ personality but be unwilling to have open and honest conversations. They may discuss things behind someone’s back rather than face-to-face.

Signs the prospective franchisee doesn’t fit the bill

During the selection process, agreements and commitments will be made by the potential franchisee. It could be to call at a specific time or attend a meeting or to review documents for a discussion. 

If the potential franchisee shows up late or hasn’t done any research they said they would do, these are what I call ‘red flags’ for a potential franchisee. This person hasn’t done what they said they would do and are therefore unsuitable.

During the interview, be an observer of the potential franchisee. Do their actions line up to the common goal which has been agreed upon? If not, then maybe this isn’t the right opportunity for them.

Mike Irving is a trainer, business owner and leadership performance coach and offers practical insights into communication and recruitment processes.