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5 Simple Mistakes Franchise Recruiters Make

We have learned a ton as a business by conducting mystery shops. For years, we have reached out as an interested candidate and documented how the franchise development salesperson (recruiter) handles the process for hundreds of brands. I wanted to share five simple mistakes (and solutions) we see that get in the way of more closings and high-quality franchisees.

Mistake #1: Talk too much. 

At the top of the list is running the mouth motor. We find, too often, unfortunately, the recruiter will dominate the talking and, therefore, not get the information needed. It’s a root cause for many of the shortcomings we see in our industry. Horrible industry averages require 50 to 75 initial conversations to get one signing! It should take 20 at the maximum. Good training and coaching can get that down to 10 per signing.

Solution: Have a list of quality questions ready to ask. After the introduction and a quick icebreaker, you can professionally move into learning about them. A recruiter should be listening 80% of the time on their initial contact with a candidate.

Mistake #2: No follow-up notes. 

This is one that quickly separates professionals from amateurs. When a candidate is sharing with you about why they are calling, their goals, family, finances, timelines, work experience, education, etc., they often cannot recall what they said. When you reply to them with notes of what they said and ask them to review for accuracy, the relationship moves to another level. They feel heard. This is so simple to get right.

Solution: Get good enough at taking notes during the call. After the call, send an email with detailed notes of the discussion, action items, and the next call or Zoom.

Mistake #3: No agenda. 

No session with a candidate should ever happen without some simple agreement on what is going to be covered and what is the objective of the call. “Winging it” is not an agenda.

Solution: Before the session with the candidate starts, email them bullet points of topics needing to be covered and get their agreement.

Mistake #4: Poor-quality information. 

When we mystery shop, we look for how much information the recruiter extracted in five key areas: the candidate’s why (vision), fit, financials, timeline, and decision criteria.

Solution: Ask questions related to the five areas, then get quiet and listen. And take notes! Bettering your skill at asking questions will equal better information.

Mistake #5: Qualifying out vs. qualifying in. 

Franchise recruiters are sometimes so focused on finding reasons the candidate’s file should be closed that they forget to look for the reasons or areas where there is a fit. If we are so focused on “qualifying out,” we will miss some candidates who would have made a good franchisee.

Solution: Stop thinking that you know it all. Stop believing you can tell who is and who isn’t a good fit. Be present and accept the fact that you need to ask questions, listen, and gather quality information. Trust the process. Don’t play God.

Do an honest gut check. How do you rate yourself against these simple but deadly mistakes? Regardless of where you are today with results, the pros know there is always room for improvement. Let’s go to work! 

Art Coley is CEO of CGI Franchise. CGIF was founded in 2015 with a mission to help franchise companies implement and execute repeatable and sustainable recruitment systems using the Recruitment Operating System. His team is based in Temple, Texas, and works with brands worldwide. Contact him at 281-658-9409 or