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These 4 ‘Super Elements’ Are Key to Hiring the Right People


Last week’s IFA Franchise Action Network event in Washington, D.C., put the politics impacting franchising front and center. But mixed in with the various labor law concerns and worry about the joint employer rule was the general sentiment that it’s never been more difficult to find and hire the right person.

Tackling that challenge—and offering some solutions for franchisees to apply in their own businesses—was Adam Robinson’s purpose during his educational session, along with reminding attendees of one thing: “The only thing you have 100 percent control of in your business is who you put on your payroll.”

To stand out in today’s hyper-competitive labor market, “the single most important thing you can do is invest in your employment brand, the promise you’re making to your labor market,” continued Robinson, founder and CEO of hiring and talent management platform Hireology.

When it comes to the hiring process, job experience has the least level of correlation to actual job performance, Robinson noted, but it’s the thing people spend the most time talking about in job interviews. Instead of focusing just on job experience, Robinson said there are four “super elements” employers should look for: attitude, sense of accountability, prior related job success, culture fit.

Here’s some insight from Robinson into how to identify these super elements in potential hires:

• In this context, attitude means a positive disposition toward work. “Not, ‘I like this job,’ but ‘I like to work,” Robinson said. Interviewers should ask, “Tell me about the last time you were so frustrated at your job that you wanted to quit.” People with positive disposition toward work will go out of their way to use positive language to describe a negative situation, he said.

• The extent to which a person believes they have control over their own outcomes indicates a sense of accountability, Robinson explained. Interviewers should ask, “Tell me about the last time you set a goal for yourself that you failed to achieve.” Someone with strong accountability traits will give an answer with lots of “I’s”: I could of done this or that better, I could have asked for this or that, or I simply screwed up and need to do better. These are the people, Robinson said, who own their own results.

• Prior related job success means having met formal goals in past jobs that are similar to the job at hand. The interview question: “At the end of the day, when you go home, how do you know you’ve had a good day? Tell me about a typical day or week.” The right person will answer with some type of metric, such as achieving X percent of food waste.

“In franchise industry, hitting numbers is so important, so that’s how your team needs to work,” Robinson said.

• Culture fit means the degree to which a candidate shares the value system of an organization and “does the work the way you do the work,” Robinson said. “Culture is not just about ping pong table in the break room, it’s ‘can I be successful in the kind of system you’re offering me.’” His advice: Think about your best employee and write down adjectives that describe them—that’s what you value in hiring and that's what you need to look for.

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The latest news, opinions and commentary on what's happening in the franchise arena that could affect your business.

Tom KaiserTom Kaiser is senior editor of Franchise Times. He can be reached at 612.767.3209, or send story ideas to tkaiser@franchisetimes.com.
Beth EwenBeth Ewen is editor-in-chief of Franchise Times. She can be reached at 612.767.3212, or send story ideas to bewen@franchisetimes.com.
Nicholas UptonNicholas Upton is restaurants editor at Franchise Times. He can be reached at 612.767.3226, or send story ideas to nupton@franchisetimes.com.
Laura MichaelsLaura Michaels is managing editor of Franchise Times. She can be reached at 612.767.3210, or send story ideas to lmichaels@franchisetimes.com.
Mary Jo LarsonMary Jo Larson is the publisher of Franchise Times Magazine and the Restaurant Finance Monitor.  You can find her on Twitter at




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