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The ultimate guide to hiring for franchisees

As a franchisee, you’re ultimately responsible for your business’s success or failure. 

The franchisor provides you with the brand and materials to start your business. As the franchisee, you’re solely responsible for hiring, firing, and engaging employees—and those employees can make or break your business success. 

Bad hires can fail to grasp job objectives, perform poorly, conflict with the company culture, lack critical skills, or just have a personality that clashes with others. They can also be the single highest contributor to inconsistency—a vital trait for franchises, which rely on consistency for maintaining quality and franchisor compliance. 

It’s clear that making the right hire is key, but how do you make the right hire? 

So often, hiring managers go based on “gut feeling” or personality. And while some of these hires might work out, many don’t. Gut feelings aren’t always a reliable source of information. They’re also not scalable, so if you’re hiring quickly for your franchise, you increase the likelihood of making a bad hire by relying on subjective measures.

5 steps to make great hires:

1. Take advice from your franchisor.

At the beginning of a franchise relationship, franchisors spell out the conditions of franchising in the Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD). These conditions affect most areas of the franchisee’s business, but one area that can lack clarity is with regard to hiring and employment decisions. There are good reasons why franchisors typically avoid directly providing hiring guidelines to franchisees—the primary reason being to avoid being considered a joint-employer to franchisees. Savvy franchisors can avoid joint-employer implications—while still delivering value—by offering optional resources to franchisees. 

A little help—such as job descriptions and interview guides—from the franchisor can go a long way in ensuring that franchisees are hiring effectively within their network. It’s easy to see how good hires can empower a franchisee to grow and produce more revenue. If your franchisor doesn’t have any hiring resources, consult other franchise owners. Take advantage of the collective wisdom of fellow franchisees who’ve built a successful franchise business.

2. Define the role looking to be filled.

When you purchase a franchised business, you’re handed an established business system. This means you likely have a good idea exactly what roles need to be filled and the responsibilities of each role. 

But don’t stop there! Consider visiting a nearby location in your franchise network to see how that role operates day to day. Determine if there are any areas you can improve, and adjust the description accordingly. Also consider the behavioral traits required for success in the role. Is this a customer-facing role that requires a degree of extraversion? Does this individual need to do the same types of tasks day in and day out? Use this information to set a Job Target for your ideal candidate and craft a compelling job posting.

3. Source and interview the candidates.

When sourcing candidates, use different mediums to cast a wider net. Job applicants often search for franchise jobs on career platforms such as Indeed, ZipRecruiter, CareerBuilder, etc.  Depending on the type of franchise, there are also niche sites that target specific industries, like Culinary Agents

The franchise brand is a valuable asset for franchisees—especially when it comes to hiring. In addition to posting your own job ad, talk to your franchisor about placing an ad for job seekers on their careers website page. Franchisors who provide a branded, central careers portal for their franchisees are capitalizing on this brand power and setting their franchisees up to attract quality candidates.

4. Evaluate and rank candidates.

Create a consistent framework for evaluating the traits that predict success in a given role, including attitude, sense of accountability, critical job skills, and culture fit. (Check out PI’s hiring framework here.) Once you have that determined, make sure to share that with each individual who will be evaluating the candidates throughout the process. Consider ranking each trait through a points system to gather consistent data, then compare at the end.

It’s also important to educate yourself on Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) Laws. In 2018, the EEOC received over 76,000 charges of employer discrimination. Many of these involved franchises. For example, a Kentucky Fried Chicken franchisee was fined $30,000 for discrimination. Discrimination can come in many forms, but the most common types include race, sex, national origin, religion, etc. Lean the laws yourself, hen make sure hiring teams understand and agree to follow them. Include them in your employee handbook and use e-signature for verification.

5. Select and verify your candidate.

Choosing the right person can be difficult. To make a decision, reflect on what you learned about your candidates’ skills, personality, and experience from their resumes, interviews, and references. Forget gut instincts—you can’t wing it when it comes to hiring. Use the clearly defined and structured process you’ve created for yourself and your hiring team to fairly evaluate the candidates that have made it to the final round. 

Checking references with previous managers is a great way to gain additional insights as well as verify skills and past work experience. Depending on the job requirements, consider performing a background check and drug screening. When you’ve finally selected your top candidate, extend the offer to begin job negotiations.

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