What I have learned from my mistakes in franchise recruitment: John O’Brien

By Sarah Stowe | 29 Oct 2015 View comments

In my 21 years of franchising at Poolwerx I have learned a lot about the art of recruiting for franchisees but one of the best lessons I received was in the value of personality profiling.

While it is not a foolproof tool, I have learned that profiles can reveal key personality traits that can be the difference between success and failure for a franchise partner.

They help you pose questions and assess the suitability of someone for your system. You can also use it to profile your most successful franchisees and work out some of the best attributes of success to emulate in your group.

We have been using the same system for 15 years and when I reflect on some of the biggest mistakes I have made in franchise selection, they all come down to one thing: ignoring the facts. My franchise partner misadventures have all come from justifying a low score in one of three significant categories.

1. Low emotional restraint

In a service and retail based business like Poolwerx being a ‘hot head’ has no place in our culture, yet I have let a few slip through over the years by overlooking a low score in emotional restraint. Being able to cope under pressure, think and act with a level head and not get easily overwhelmed is imperative not only in our business, but to being a successful small business owner in general. Some of the worst franchisees I have experienced have had a poor score in this area.

2. Not a team player

In franchising the people who want to be part of a team, who want to benefit from a larger collective of ideas and experience are the ones that flourish. When I reflect on this now, it seems absurd I would have ignored this critical factor but I did – on more than one occasion in the past two decades. Sometimes when a candidate seems perfect in every other way and scores highly in all other areas it is easy to be blindsided, especially in the early days of building a franchise network.  Being a team player is critical in this industry and is not something we ever overlook any more. We now distinguish this as a value someone must have rather than a skill that can be taught.

3. Achievement drive

As a franchisor you come across a lot of people that claim to want a successful business but when it comes to the crunch wanting to be a success and being a person with a true entrepreneurial spirit are two very different things.

Our years of profiling have revealed that a high score for achievement drive is necessary for success. Having a moderate drive is not enough, but having said that as long as one person in the franchise partners’ team has that drive they can still be a success. More than 90 percent of our franchisees are a husband and wife team so we now profile both, because as long as one of them has the right level of desire it can carry the whole business through.

Undervaluing this in the past has led to poor selections and ultimately dissatisfied partners.