Never underestimate the benefit of an external audit for licensee recruitment

I recently completed an audit on their licensee recruitment process for a client.

They were concerned that the pipeline of applicants was blocked as they weren’t getting the quantity – or quality – of applicants that they expected, especially for some particularly attractive pub business opportunities.

For a few years, the licensee recruitment process I managed had been subject to a similar audit as part of an initiative to improve standards across regional brewers. It was great to go back to basics, learn best practice from each other and recognise some of the small things that can make a pub group stand out, particularly important when competition to recruit the best licensees is crucial to long-term sustainability.

Fast forward to carrying out an anonymous enquiry of my own and it reminded me just how important it is to get an impartial assessment of different business areas from an external adviser. As a mystery caller looking for details of an appealing licensee vacancy, I found many gaps in the process that explained that the pipeline of applicants wasn’t, in fact, blocked but was leaking. The shortcomings and poor management were significant contributory factors to the delays in placing licensees in appropriate pubs.

I provided a comprehensive report for my client with some clear recommendations for improvement – from how vacancies are advertised and presented to how calls are handled and followed up – with proposals ranging from urgent action to advisory modifications.

You would have been surprised at some of the basic mistakes that I identified, so maybe this is a good time to check that similar oversights haven’t crept into your processes without you realising.

Happy to share the benefit of my experience if you feel that an external perspective would be as helpful as it was for this client.