Don’t fear the rise of the franchisee recruitment machines

Investing in the right technology can boost your franchisee recruitment, whilst leaving the competition shrinking in your rearview mirror

Don't fear the rise of the franchisee recruitment machines

Finding the right talent can mean the difference between launching a business into the stratosphere or dooming it to the graveyard of forgotten enterprises. And that’s especially important when it comes to franchise recruitment, as franchisees are effectively the face of your business. Given that 7-Eleven recently had to face multi-million dollar charges after some franchise owners were caught underpaying staff, it’s safe to say franchises cannot afford recruitment boo-boos.

Certainly the analogue tools franchises once relied on for recruitment – such as placing ads in newspapers and following up on leads by telephone – weren’t the most effective ways of securing new franchisees. “At least 70% of the time, when I called people back I ended up going straight to voicemail,” says Dugan Aylen, director and founder of Franchise Recruitment Services, the franchise recruitment solutions company. And even when Aylen did manage to get through, the fact someone had responded to a franchise ad didn’t necessarily mean that they were particularly engaged. “Often when they answered, they didn’t want to talk to me and just asked me to send them information,” he says. “I felt like I was cold calling and bothering people.”

Ultimately, any franchise that spends more time than it needs to following up on leads and managing talent risks slowing to a crawl, something it cannot afford in this fast-paced era. “The biggest risk franchisors run by not investing in recruitment technology is wasting time,” says Aylen.

Fortunately, the digital age has provided franchise recruitment professionals with creative ways to boost their ability to source talent. Now 91% of recruiters use some kind of recruitment technology, according to a survey from Software Advice, an online reviewer of recruiting technology. “We are in the midst of a technological revolution,” says Farida Gibbs, CEO and founder of Gibbs S3, the hybrid staffing company. “If we don’t invest in tech we’ll fall behind very quickly.”

For Aylen, the solution to overcoming this hurdle was creating the technology behind Franchise Recruitment Services. Its tools map out exactly how interested a potential franchise owner might be by keeping track of how much time the candidate spends on the franchise’s website and how many emails from the company are opened. “The more active they are, the more likely they are to take the next step forward,” says Aylen.

Promedica 24, a live-in care franchise, uses a similar system to gauge how interested a prospective franchisee is. Given that the company receives over 7,500 texts from prospective franchisees and clients on a daily basis, it’s safe to say the ability to automatically track the activities of candidates saves a lot of time and ensures hot leads don’t grow cold. “Without tech, you risk missing opportunities,” says Dan Archer, franchise director at Promedica 24.

To avoid that from happening, all data goes through Promedica 24’s customer relationship management (CRM) system. But Archer is keen to stress that relying on software to manage the franchise’s leads doesn’t mean it has abandoned the personal element entirely. “Technology augments the interactions we have with people, rather than replacing the old system,” says Archer. When Promedica 24 reaches out to candidates through emails and text messages, every response is crafted by a real person, rather than generated as an automated message. “People know that when they see it,” says Archer. “Don’t use technology to try to replace people but to enhance the relationships you have with candidates.”

And this is good practice for any franchise looking to up the tech it uses in its recruitment. Given candidates still prefer dealing with people rather than machines, if you do end up overusing tech, you risk alienating potential franchisees rather than building the foundation of a strong franchising relationship. “It doesn’t matter how much digital solutions evolve, tech cannot completely replace the human touch,” says Gibbs.

Another way technology can help create a more personal experience is through the use of video, which is why it’s hardly surprising 71% of companies carry out some kind of video interviewing, according to a survey from Korn Ferry Futurestep, the recruitment agency.

However, Promedica 24 has shown there are other ways to use video than just conducting interviews: it sends personalised videos to candidates based on whatever questions they may have posed. And while it may help answer any early-stage questions, this personalised approach also serves another purpose. “Ultimately, it’s going to make them more inclined to speak with us over the telephone and engage with us,” he says.

However, establishing repartee with potential franchisees is only possible if you already have a strong recruitment system to begin with. Technology can only enhance that system, never replace it. That’s why Archer argues against systems that claim to replace the recruiters and he remains sceptical of any supplier peddling catch-all solutions. “There is no silver bullet,” he says. “If you invest all your money in a provider saying they can do all those things for you, then you are going to be disappointed.”

Despite this, the way recruitment technology helps provide greater efficiencies and ensures more engaged candidates means that it’s something no franchise can afford to ignore. So while the rise of the machines may seem daunting, tech can help you find the best people to ensure your franchise thrives in the 21st century.

Eric Johansson
Eric Johansson