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Franchise Recruiting Advice: What Conversation Are You Having With Your Candidate?

October 13, 2011

The “three-in-one” franchisee recruitment conversation affects results

All franchisee recruitment involves having conversations.

Did you know that in every conversation you have with your franchisee candidates there are three conversations occurring at the same time?

They are:

1. The conversation between the franchise candidate and the recruiter

2. The conversation the franchise candidate is having with himself or herself

3. The conversation the recruiter is having with himself or herself.

(Yes, recruiters talk to themselves!)


Typically, a recruitment conversation goes something like this:

Franchise Recruiter: “How have you been doing – I wanted to check in to see how your validation calls are going.”

Candidate: (To herself) “Should I share my real concerns or just tell him everything is fine?”

Candidate: (To recruiter) “Everything is fine.”

Franchise Recruiter: (To himself) “Sounds like something is wrong. Should I ask if she has concerns or should I assume everything is fine?”

Franchise Recruiter: “Great to hear! The next step in our process is….”

All “go” or “no go” decisions occur in conversation #2, the conversation the candidate is having with themselves. But not all of these conversations make it back to the recruiter.

What average recruiters do

Rather than probing to get to the bottom line of conversation #2, the underperforming franchise recruiter spends too much time either gathering meaningless, surface level information in conversation #1, or plotting what they will say next in conversation #3.

What the best recruiters do

The best-in-class franchisee recruiters know how to bring conversation #2 out in the open. This enables the recruiter and the candidate to have an open and honest dialogue about what’s really going on.

Skills to develop

This requires the average recruiter to acquire expert interviewing skills, highly refined listening skills, and the ability to create safety and trust in the relationship. If the candidate doesn’t feel safe, heard, and understood, then they will withhold critical information as to where they really are in their buying decision, which diminishes or eliminates the recruiter’s ability to impact the final outcome. Bottom line, they keep conversation two to themselves.

How to access conversation number two

Several things have to occur for a candidate to want to share what they are feeling or experiencing:

1. The franchise candidate has to believe they are dealing with a highly trustworthy and credible recruiter who has their best interest at heart. Put another way, high pressure closers need not apply.

2. The candidate sees the recruiter as “safe.” This means they feel that the recruiter won’t convince them they are wrong, pressure them, overcome their objections, or try to play with their emotions. They just want to be heard and understood, and perhaps gather some professional assistance in sorting their issues out, regardless of the direction the sorting takes them.

If this relationship has not been established early in the process, then the candidate will most likely try to create some distance during decision making time by telling the recruiter what they think they want to hear or clamming up rather than what is really going on.

Five simple questions which will immediately bring you into conversation #2:

1. “When you said (whatever it is they said), what did you mean by that?”

2. “Can you give me an example of what you are talking about?”

3. “I hear some hesitation. Can we talk about what gave you pause?”

4. “Since my goal is to understand where you are coming from, what didn’t I ask you that I should have?”

It is our experience that those recruiters who learn how to regularly gain access to conversation #2 will increase their results from 15-100%, translating often into hundreds of thousands dollars in franchise fee revenue and millions of dollars in the lifetime value of royalty fees.

They won’t work harder, need more leads, or put in more hours. They will be far more effective with the same time, money, and energy invested.

Most franchisors are fighting tooth-and-nail to get the attention of qualified franchise candidates. Recruiters can no longer rely on the next lead to hit their objectives. Recruiters will need to produce more with less by being more effective with the leads they have. And gaining consistent access to candidates’ conversation #2 is absolutely the way to go.