Avoiding the “Professional Franchise Candidate”

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Frustrated franchisee selection person

Have you ever wondered how a franchise candidate that seemed so promising during the selection process turned into such a nightmare?

You ask yourself time and time again “How could this franchisee slip past our screening process? They had all the answers. They seemed to know what it would take to be successful.”

Maybe you’re the victim of the dreaded “professional franchise candidate”! They know what you’re looking for so well that they’ll almost always slip past your screening process. How do you protect yourself from these “professional franchise candidates” (PFC)?

Here’s what happened to one of our clients and how they figured out that their candidate was a “PFC”. I first heard about this particular candidate when our client called to see if I could help them figure out why there was a discrepancy between two parts of their selection process.


The first part of the process was the FranchiZe Predictor, our performance predicting tool used for franchisee selection. Here’s what the FranchiZe Predictor results were: The candidate’s answers on items related to having a positive attitude were very low.

In addition, they had low scores on how they’d deal with employees as well as dreadfully low scores on questions directly related to drive and work ethic issues. As a result, the FranchiZe Predictor predicted the candidate would perform in the bottom 25% of franchisees. 

The second part of the selection process was a formal interview with their 2-person selection committee. Both of the people in the selection committee thought that this was a wonderful candidate. Well able to build a location into an asset for the franchise.


During our discussions, it was obvious that there was something missing. Something that had not yet been explored with the candidate. 

I suggested the franchisor ask the candidate a series of questions. Some of them were based on the job-specific situational judgement questions in our “Franchisee Selection Interview Workbook” and others which were more directed to the candidate’s exposure to franchising as a whole and this franchise in particular. 

After a few days I got a call back from the franchisor to let me know what they had learned. It turns out that over the previous year the candidate had applied to 4 different franchisors prior to this. They’d met the minimum requirements, but once each franchisor dug deeply into the candidate’s background they decided not to sell them a franchise. 

As a result, my client was the 5th franchise to be graced by this candidate’s interest. Naturally, after having been interviewed by 4 different franchisors, the candidate had learned what a franchisor wanted to hear. They knew what slant to put on their story to put them in the most favorable light.


But what was really telling that the candidate had bought into the concept that to get anywhere, they had to buy a franchise…. any franchise, was the fact the they had NEVER EVEN SET A FOOT IN ONE OF THE FRANCHISOR’S STORES! 

Yes, they lived 100 miles away from the nearest store, but if you’re looking to invest your life’s savings, wouldn’t it make sense to at least research the franchise you’re buying?

  • What would happen when the location under-performed?
  • How much support could you need to give the franchisee?
  • And would it take away support time and focus from franchisees that were doing well or had the potential to do well? 
  • Who would the franchisee blame when they inevitably failed? 

Themselves? Not likely! Any bets on whether or not they would sue the franchisor?

And let’s not even get into how much money you’d waste in support, lawsuits and lost opportunity! 

Needless to say, our client passed on this candidate as well. So what’s the moral of this story? Don’t ever use just one selection tool to make a decision about to whom you’ll sell a franchise.

We can all be fooled by a good interviewee, but just adding one inexpensive additional step like the FranchiZe Predictor, the franchisor saved themselves a ton of money and aggravation.

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