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Chooks Fresh & Tasty Founder Steve Hansen On Recruitment

Recognising recruitment flaws

By Michelle Hammond
Wednesday, 05 January 2011

With the aim of being the ‘champion of chicken’, Chooks Fresh & Tasty was founded in 1991 by Steve Hansen.


Having worked as a franchisee for another company, Hansen decided to become a franchisor after identifying a niche in the market: time-poor parents and workers who wanted fresh chicken and chips at a low price.


From its humble beginnings in regional WA to its success as a nationwide fast food chain with stores in three states, the company has remained committed to delicious produce throughout its 20-year history.


In October 2010, the Chooks franchise was acquired by Quick Service Restaurant Holdings, a move which Hansen described as a “major bonus” to Chooks franchisees.


However, like most start-ups, some mistakes were made prior to Chooks’ success. In the early days, Chooks faced its fair share of challenges, namely in the way of recruitment.


“Chooks’ [original] recruitment system was almost like running in the lottery… There was no available handbook or training guide that could simply be read or completed to ensure that area of the businesses was sorted,” Hansen explains.


Due to its untidy processes, the company was never sure it was hiring the right people. By the time it discovered it had made a mistake by taking on a new employee, it was often too late.


Luckily, the situation took a turn for the better when the company was introduced to recruitment specialist firm Performia Australia.


Hansen was advised by Performia chief executive Marten Runow, who provided some valuable information about personnel selection that enabled the company to revamp its recruitment strategy.


So what did Hansen learn from the experience?


“Find out about candidate results; don’t be distracted by qualifications, experience or how the candidate looks as these are not the attributes you are purchasing,” he says.


The company learnt to follow a cohesive set of rules to ensure it recruited the right franchisees, and how to compile job advertisements to attract the right candidates.


As a result, the company learnt from its mistakes and was able to evaluate its existing staff to ensure it didn’t make the same mistakes again in the future.


The company also saw the value in offering these insights to its franchisees to ensure they too recruited the right staff, ultimately enhancing the performance of the company as a whole.

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