‘I Have One Final Question to Ask You …’

Matthew shifted in his seat and leaned in intently as I said, “Matthew, I have one final question to ask you in this interview and it is this: ‘Why would I want my three children to work for you?’” Finding that question surprising, Matthew pressed back in his chair and thoughtfully glanced away. I continued, “Because if I would not want my three children to work for you, why would I expect anyone else to want their children to work for you?” For more than two decades, whenever I conducted final interviews for restaurant franchisees, I pondered that question. My former boss, who had previously lead the franchisee selection process, taught me that answers to this question would indeed be revealing. In an industry predominately staffed with teens and young adults, it is a question worthy of consideration. There are five answers I hoped to hear in response:

  1. You would want your children to work for me because I am a person of integrity. I do what I say I will do when I say I will do it and how I say I will do it. I keep commitments and I do the right thing, even when it’s difficult.
  2. You would want your children to work for me because I not only will manage them, I will teach them important life skills, too. I know that most of my employees will be working in a restaurant “just passing through,” but while they are here, I intend to develop them as people, investing in their future.
  3. You would want your children to work for me because I am a leader. I cast a vision that others want to follow and I help teams to achieve goals and win! People like to be part of a winning team. I will create a fun and challenging environment where goals are accomplished and vision is realized.
  4. You would want your children to work for me because I have a heart for service and will teach them to serve well. I will be a role model for them in the principle of treating others with honor, dignity and respect. Together, we will serve guests and I will help your children develop a servant’s heart to guide them in life.
  5. You would want your children to work for me because I will care for them and their well-being. I not only will coach them to meet expectations at work, but I also will encourage their success in school and extra-curricular activities, in making contributions to their family and in serving their community. The most important role I will play is helping your children identify and pursue their life’s passion.

Fortunately, this Final Question has led to the selection of thousands of franchisees who treat their employees just like they would want their own children or other special people in their life to be treated. In the end, both employees and guests benefit from considering selection through this powerful lens.