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Tips for Hiring in a Hot Industry

By Danielle Porter and Becky DeKeuster
Cannabusiness is one booming standout in an otherwise difficult jobs market. This means that many startups in our space find themselves inundated with applicants for any posted position. Given the costs in time and person-power of onboarding a new hire, these tips will help save you time and energy.

  • Know the laws in your state. Do employees need to be 21 years old to work in your dispensary or cultivation facility? Is a background check required, and are certain prior offenses disqualifying? If so, state these requirements clearly in the job advertisement and on the application. Further, you will want to create a clear, performance-based drug testing policy that does not discriminate against medical cannabis patients.
  • Respect industry experience, but think twice about requiring it. Certainly you want to find a Genetics Manager who knows their way around a cannabis plant, but people with general horticultural knowledge or experience can easily be trained in cannabis-specific cultivation practices. Applicants with no direct cannabis experience, but strong customer service, hospitality, or education backgrounds often fare well in dispensary positions.
  • Consider that where you place a job posting is as important as anything you say in the post. Are you casting a wide net, and ready to capture not only candidates who may not be cannabis gurus yet, but also those who are underrepresented in our industry—minorities, women, people over 40? Your employee pool should represent the population you serve. A Craigslist posting might get a flood of responses, but using a hiring service and reaching into more-traditional pools of potential may save time and effort in the long run.
  • Ask open ended qualifying questions on your application. Something as simple as “Why do you want to work for us?” will help determine if your candidate’s values match the company’s, and whether they have reasonable expectations or ideas about the day-to-day of our industry.
  • Require at least two professional references. This is important for any industry, but particularly one that is emerging from years of “illegality.” Even applicants who have been forced to operate in a grey market should be able to provide two non-friend business references who can attest to their demonstrated professionalism.

Hiring and onboarding new employees is an expensive proposition, in terms of both human and financial capital. Ineffective hiring practices that result in turnover are not only expensive, but damaging to morale. Clarifying your policies and expectations before you start the hiring process is essential to HR success in the cannabis industry.

Rob MeagherRob Meagher

Rob Meagher

Rob Meagher, CBE’s Founder, President and Editor-in-Chief is a 30 year veteran of the media world. His career has spanned from stints representing the Washington Post, USA Weekend, Reader’s Digest, Financial World & Corporate Finance to the technology world where he worked at International Data Group and Ziff Davis where he was part of the launch team for The Web Magazine, Yahoo Internet Life, Smart Business and Expedia Travels before starting his own marketing and Publisher’s Representative Firm. He also ran all print and online media sales and marketing for the Society for Human Resource Management before partnering with Forbes and then Fortune to create Special Sections covering a variety of topics. Rob, who started CBE Press in 2014, can be contacted at [email protected]

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