Franchise Hiring: “How long should I spend interviewing?”

By Adam Robinson,
October 15, 2013

One of the most common questions our franchise customers ask is, how long should I spend interviewing? Although it’s a completely valid question, there just isn’t one right answer. Many factors influence the amount of time an interview takes, and a process that takes one manager 30 minutes can easily take another hiring manager an hour and a half. I know this wasn’t the answer you were looking for, so let’s take a look at what influences the length of an interview.

1. The questions

This probably comes as no surprise that the type of questions you ask will determine how long the interview lasts. If you’re only asking “yes” or “no” questions, chances are the interview will wrap up in ten minutes or less. But if you’re asking strong behavioral-based and achievements-based questions, you can expect the interview to not only last longer, but to have given you a much more clear picture of the candidate and their likelihood for success. 

Behavioral-based questions will help you predict a candidate’s future performance based upon their past behaviors. Many of the questions included in Hireology’s interview guides are behavioral-based, but to give you an idea of how such questions are set-up, let’s look at one of our favorite questions:

What is the biggest misperception people have of you?

This question attempts to help the hiring manager see how the candidate perceives themselves. If they say “well some people think I am a micromanager, but that just isn’t the case,” chances are good they may have some micro-managing tendencies. The hiring manager can then look at this answer and determine whether are willing to bring someone who may be a micromanager onto the team.

Achievements-based interview questions won’t help you to understand how the candidate works and their personality, but rather delves into their skills and abilities which could benefit them in any given role. Once again, let’s look at an example:

Every job is presented a little differently than it actually is. What came as a surprise to you after you started this role?

2. Willingness of candidate to share

The better the questions you ask, the more likely a candidate is to share. This goes back to avoiding “yes” or “no” questions. The purpose of the interview is to learn more about the candidate and evaluate whether they would be a good addition. 

If your candidate doesn’t seem willing or comfortable sharing their background and elaborating on their answers, that should immediately raise red flags. Job seekers know that an interview is the chance to sell themself, so something isn’t right if they’re doing the opposite of that.

3. Follow-up questions

Don’t ask a question without following-up with another question. You want to learn as much as you can about the candidate, and follow-up questions are what will help you achieve that.

Let’s go back to the first example question I discussed. If the candidate told you the biggest misperception people have of them is that they are a micromanager, don’t just leave it at that. Ask why people believe that. You want to try and build a complete picture of the candidate, not just the side of themself they are presenting at the interview. Because think about, people are typically on their very best behavior in an interview setting.  

Of course some questions won’t require a follow-up question, but many will. Use your best judgment, and when in doubt, ask for examples or clarification. 

So, how long will an interview take? 

If you take all of the above points into account, interviews for your franchise location will vary. Don’t feel like you have to make sure it lasts an hour. Make sure you learn all you can about the candidate in an appropriate amount of time, and remember, you can always bring the candidate back for another interview. But as a rule of thumb, an interview for your franchise should last about forty-five minutes. 



Once you wrap up the interview, make sure to check the candidates’ references. Here’s a guide to help you through the process. 


About the Author

Adam co-founded Hireology with the mission to help growing companies make better hiring decisions through data and better technology. Adam is passionate about entrepreneurship, donating time to a number of organizations that support the entrepreneurial cause. Adam completed his undergraduate study at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and received his MBA from DePaul University in Chicago, IL.

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