Ask any business owner why they do what they do and most will tell you it’s because they have a passion for it. They have a passion for the industry, the product, or may even be driven by a passion to do something that is entirely theirs. People buy into a franchise network for the same reason, but have the added benefit of established brand recognition, a support network of owners that have experienced exactly what you are going through, and a head start on more necessary (but vital) aspects of the business, like marketing materials, best practices, etc.

But there are very few businesses that just hand you an A-team of talented (and pre-trained) employees so that you can simply “open your doors”. The team you hire to help you run your business will be an integral part of the success of your business, and to hire the best, you need to not only know best practices for hiring franchise employees, but also understand some of the trends in recruiting and hiring that you should be looking for – your best candidates will certainly be looking for some of these in their next company.

Soft Skills could mean the success or failure of your hire.

Soft skills are called that for a reason – they are hard to assess and quantify, but that doesn’t mean they are less valuable. In fact, they are becoming more valuable as a way to determine whether the candidate’s hard skills will be ultimately successful. So, which soft skills should you be looking for? A few soft skills that are increasingly important based on a LinkedIn survey are:

  1. Creativity
  2. Persuasion:
  3. Collaboration
  4. Adaptability
  5. Time Management

Sure, we’d all love to hire people with strong skills in all 5 of the above areas, but how do you asses a candidate’s soft skills during the interview process if it is all more or less subjective? You can start by creating a few non-conventional questions for them to answer pre-interview. Many ATS platforms, including Hyrell, allow you to add in pre-interview questions designed to measure soft skills. Think about asking a question like “If you were on an island and could only bring three things, what would they be?” or “If you wrote a book about your life, what would it be called?”. While these may seem like strange questions to ask, they will tell you a lot about the personality, creativity and the potential for cultural fit, all before meeting them in person.

The candidate experience is key

In today’s tight labor market, good hires are becoming increasingly hard to find. Because high quality candidates have more options, it’s important to make sure that they leave the interview (whether in person or on the phone) feeling good about the company. Truth be told, given two equal opportunities with similar companies, and equal pay, candidates will nearly always choose the company that they feel the best about.

What that means for your brand is that as you are promoting your job openings, and going through the interview process, you will need to put your best foot forward. It’s more common now than ever for candidates to turn down companies that they don’t think are a good fit for them. Talk about what you love about your brand, why you bought a franchise in the first place, and the culture that your franchisor (and subsequently, you) promote. Giving your best candidates a reason to want to come work for you, will ensure that you get the best candidates who will have the desire to make your brand succeed.

Boomerang hires are a good thing.

Boomerang hires are people who have voluntarily left an organization and returned at a later date. Traditionally, companies have been hesitant to look at boomerang hires when filling open positions, but that mindset is changing. So why the recent shift in perspective?

Rehiring former employees can reduce the cost per hire because they require less training and get up to speed faster than an outside hire, because they already know the business. They are also more likely to stay in this role longer, because they have seen that the grass may not always be greener. Consider sending personal letters or emails to employees that you would love to win back, and you may be surprised by how much interest that generates for open positions.

Work flexibility is becoming the new norm

Technology over the last two decades has advanced by leaps and bounds. While this has lead to some feeling like they “always have to be on” to answer emails, text and instant messages, it has also lead to the greater possibility of a work-life balance. Technology allows us to work remotely, and work hours that make sense in their already busy lives. If your business model allows for flexible work schedules, or even the possibility of working remotely every once and awhile, make sure you mention that in your job description. Flexibility has been shown to actually increase productivity and retention in employees and is one of the top benefits candidates seek out when applying for jobs.

Also, consider that the Millennials and Gen Z will soon make up a large portion of the workforce. These two groups have grown up in an age of technology and digital connection. They are more comfortable communicating and working digitally than any other generation before them. Looking a step further, maybe you only need part-time help or help with more administrative tasks rather than tasks that require a person be physically present. Creating a job description that is built around a flexible work schedule and environment will broaden your talent pool, allowing you to choose from qualified candidates that may be restricted by physical disabilities, geography or family obligations.

The list of hiring trends and creative recruiting tactics is nearly endless. Include benefits like continuing education, conferences and seminars or anti-harassment programs and implement recruiting strategies in local college and trade schools while utilizing other assessments like virtual interviews, background checks and personality testing. The most important thing you can do is to figure out what your ideal candidate looks like and build a detailed job description just for them. Make sure to include soft skills questions that you can use to find applicants that will fit in your company culture, tout the out-of-the-box benefits you are offering and don’t be afraid to make them feel like you want them as a part of the team as much as they want to work for you.