What’s the hiring process at your cannabis company? Do you carefully plan out your personnel needs a minimum of 90 days in advance, and execute a rigorous (but fair) multi-step recruitment, interview, and offer process… all while maintaining a consistent bench of diverse and qualified candidates for future positions?

Or is it most of the time it is probably more like this… “We’re BURIED under all these compliance requirements in the cannabis industry. We don’t have time for 15 different interviews… let’s just get someone in here YESTERDAY!”

If your “process” sounds more like the second scenario than the first, don’t feel bad about it all. That is how it is 99% of the time too for your competitors. But after dozens of miss-hires and years of trial and error, you need to nail a framework that works for the cannabis industry that is:

  • Simple to execute
  • Delivers predictable results
  • Balances speed with the process, and…
  • Gets you great people who align with your culture

You want people who are ready, willing, and able to add value starting DAY 1, and we call it the scalable hiring process that’s made for the cannabis industry and to make your life easier…


Purpose-Driven Hiring Process

A great hiring process isn’t just about following all the cannabis industry laws and guidelines (although that is VERY important). It means taking into account your goals, the right hiring process is…

  1. Guided By Core Values: If you have core values (you should), those values should be front and center throughout the process, guiding your hiring, firing, and cannabis industry training decisions.
  2. Pro-Active: Take it from us, a rushed hiring decision only turns out the be the BEST decision through luck! And luck isn’t reliable. To do an honest and thorough search for the best talent out there, you need time. Being proactive and having a plan in place will help give you the time and brain space you need to make the right decision when you’re working in the cannabis industry.
  3. Focused on Bettering the Business: If you’re hiring with a closed-minded, “like us” mentality, you’re going to shut yourself off from growth and diversity and become stagnant in the cannabis industry. So, while company culture is important, you also need to make sure you are hiring people that can challenge old, outdated ideas and lead your business into an even better future!


Before Beginning: “Know the Why” & Make It Stick

It can be tempting to want to jump right in and change up your current processes. But it’s important to remember that for you to implement this hiring process in a way that makes it stick in your cannabis business, you’ll need to make 100% sure you Know the Why.

That’s one of our core values, and we think it applies to any scaling business in the cannabis industry. “Know the Why” means getting clear on the reasons why you are implementing a process or making a decision in the first place.

It’s all about being intentional with what you’re doing in the cannabis industry. If you can’t back up your processes with key reasons why they will help improve your cannabis business, you’ll never be able to communicate the plan in a way that gets everyone on board with the approach you want to take.

And you do need everyone on board to make a process stick. When it came time to build this process, our “Why Statement” centered around answering the most important question in hiring: “Who should we be hiring for our cannabis company, and how can we successfully find those people?”

To answer this question, we ended up ruminating on four (4) essential questions every business should know before they begin hiring. Your answers to these questions will help influence how you model the 13-step process in your own business. If you’re a cannabis industry leader, you likely already have the answers to these questions, but just in case, let’s run through them together quickly.


1) What Does Your Cannabis Business Do? How Does It Do It?

Your new cannabis industry hires and candidates need to know what they are buying into when they sign onto your team. They need to have a clear understanding of what differentiates you from your competition and what they are becoming a part of your team in the exciting cannabis industry.

These questions also help you identify what your selling point is for prospective talent. After all, if you want to entice the best employees, you need to sell the position. So, what’s your elevator pitch?


2) What Do You Value As A Company? What Would Be A Deal-Breaker?

This is where your core values come in handy. When you’re hiring new members, you must be able to identify the values and qualities you look for in potential employees. You’ll want these attributes to have proven to be successful in your company’s environment.

Does your candidate need to be a team player? How important is it that this employee can be self-directing? Here’s a tip: having some “We Believe” statements can help you identify the little things about your business that may not be in your core values, but are still important attitudes an employee needs to be successful at your company and to work with you in the cannabis industry.

Likewise, it’s equally important to know what your deal breakers are. What doesn’t thrive well in your cannabis business? What attitudes or characteristics could create undue hardships or burdens because that person just won’t fit in well with your team members? Take note of those deal-breakers as well, so you can look out for them throughout the scalable hiring process for cannabis jobs.


3) Tell Me About Your Leadership Team…

This is a question that very well might come up in your interview process so you must be able to communicate what your leadership team is like. What attributes lead people to be promoted into leadership positions? What qualities and characteristics have made them successful as a leader?

Ideally, you want to be hiring potential leaders in the cannabis industry, so getting clear on what qualities you want to replicate from your current leaders will help immensely in your search.


4) Tell Me About Your Most Successful Teammates…

Whether it’s individual contributors, mid-level managers, or other employees, what are the characteristics that make them successful? You want to make sure you know exactly what great employees exemplify, so you can look for those traits in your cannabis job candidates.

Gathering Feedback

Once you’ve sat down and answered these questions honestly, it’s time to get feedback. You can do this in one-on-one conversations, spontaneous chats, more formal group meetings, or surveys. You can also gather external feedback from review sites like Glassdoor or Indeed.

However, if you plan on gathering feedback, make sure it comes from all levels of the organization. And don’t forget your HR team! Those pros will have great insight and experience in setting expectations and the cannabis industry training that will be needed as well as defining great employees and what are your immediate deal-breakers.

Get clear on your purpose and IDEAL employees, it’s time to start building out your hiring process.


Cannabis Industry Scalable Hiring Process

The 13-step cannabis industry scalable hiring process can be organized into five (5) buckets: Prep, Post, Potential, Performance, and Proposal when you get everything ready to start.

As you’ll notice, each bucket has a few steps to complete, for a total of 13 steps. That feels like a lot, we know, but we promise it’s worth the effort. If you complete this process, you’ll be able to rest easy knowing you’ve done everything in your power to hire the perfect fit for your cannabis business.


Steps 1 – 4: Preparation

These first four (4) steps are probably the most important when hiring talent in the cannabis industry. It’s here that you will begin to APPLY what you learned from answering those hiring questions.

It’s all about getting your ducks in a row before you let people know you’re hiring. You’ll need to…

  • Alert Human Resources (HR)
  • Create Your Job Description
  • Decide Salary Range
  • Post Job Opportunity


Step 1: Alert HR

Your first step should be to let your Human Resources (HR) team know that you will be needing to hire a new employee since they will play a big part in the process. You also want to alert the other members of that team, as well as the ENTIRE cannabis company about this new opportunity.

This allows them to become ambassadors for your cannabis company and give any referrals or recommendations for potential applicants. It also lets them be more engaged and use their awesome networks to help spread the news about the cannabis job opportunity at your business.


Step 2: Create a Job Description

Next, you’ll want to put together the job description. This document is critical because it helps prevent you from tailoring the position to a person, rather than picking the right person for the position. It can be tricky when you have an amazing applicant show up who’s got everything you’re looking for in a culture fit but is lacking the experience or particular skills needed to do the job.

Having a list of critical elements for each position also helps foster an environment of success where everyone knows who is responsible for what major tasks. This HELPS to provide clarity, cutting down on situations where there’s a miscommunication regarding the roles and responsibilities.

In your job description, you’ll want to include:

  • Critical Position Elements/Tasks
  • What Position Success Looks Like
  • Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)


Step 3: Determine a Salary Range

Deciding on a salary range will help you narrow down your candidate pool, and make sure your candidates expect what you’re WILLING and able to pay. Transparency helps keep you and your candidates on the same page throughout the cannabis job scalable hiring process.

It’s also a good way to keep your budget in mind. A happy CFO means a happy cannabis company!


Step 4: Write a Job Post

This is the most critical step. Your job posting is the front-facing description that every potential cannabis industry applicant will see. It’s the piece that will tell applicants EVERYTHING they need to know about the position. An effective position post will also help people self-filter and determine if the position is right for their skills, desired income, and many other aspects of the cannabis job.

Not to mention, applicants will use it to tailor their applications and cover letters. Essentially, setting up a thorough job posting will set you up for a successful hiring process, and in your cannabis job posting you’ll want to include additional information about the following items:

  • Your business’s goals, culture, and any other helpful information
  • The position responsibilities and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
  • The required cannabis job knowledge and experience level
  • Salary as well as the benefits for the position (if possible)
  • What success looks like in the position and the company as a whole

Again, this is where your essential hiring questions come in handy. The more specific you can get about what you’re looking for in advance, the easier and quicker it will be to find the perfect fit.

Here’s a tip: Chat with your dispensary technicians and managers to make sure the “compliance training” for their position (aka the job description) is specific, engaging, and easy to understand.


Step 5: Publish and Boost

Once you’ve created a KILLER job description for the cannabis industry, it’s time to post the job.

All you need to do is…

  • Get approval for your job description and send it to Human Resources (HR) to publish and boost your post if you have the budget for it in your cannabis company.

Once you get approval from your teams and executives, then it is time to send the job posting to HR so they can get it out! There are a TON of applicant tracking systems out there to help you identify top sources for cannabis industry candidates you’ve hired from in the past for other opportunities.

Use that data to help you determine where you should be posting your jobs, and where it might be worth the money to boost those posts (have your employees share the job openings on those sites).


Steps 6 – 7: Potential

Once the post goes live, it’s time to start looking at the pool of potential hires for the cannabis jobs…

You’ll want to start doing this about 3 – 5 days after the posting goes live and typically run through this filtering in batches, but it DEPENDS on you and your Human Resources (HR) team’s bandwidth. Your focus should be on filtering out undesirable applicants. You’ll want to…

  • Sort, rank, and disqualify applicants who are unqualified for the job
  • Phone screen applicants before you have a face-to-face interview
  • From this point, the process needs to be tailored to your team’s capacity

One of the best ways to scale up your hiring is to build up a cannabis industry team of dedicated hiring managers to help out with the rest of the scalable hiring process you’re undertaking.


Step 6: Sort & Disqualify (DQ)

First, dive deep into your applicant pool. Take note of what you like or potential red flags. Leave sticky notes with follow-up questions. Sort the applications so you know who’s ready to progress, and who you may need more clarity from before they move on or are disqualified.

Once you’ve confirmed with your hiring managers and your team where each applicant lies, it’s time to move onto the phone screening step you need to undertake for the open cannabis job opening.


Step 7: Phone Screening

This is the first touchpoint with the applicant in the cannabis industry, and it is 100% owned by the people and culture team. The first call is usually centered around giving more information about the company culture.

You’ll want to cover:

  • Information about the team
  • Your company’s core values
  • Give information about the hiring process

This is also an opportunity to let people know if they are disqualified from the process and provide reasoning and feedback if they are. You must be following up with everyone, including those you don’t choose. After all, they put in a lot of valuable time applying to your position.

You’ll also want to get information about the applicants themselves. What cannabis industry skills do they have that make them qualified? What new or different perspective can they bring to the position? Have they done their research for this cannabis-related position and our company?

To help you along with your interview process when hiring talent in the cannabis industry, here’s a list of some of the more common interview questions you can ask that are pretty straightforward:

  1. Tell me about your current or past cannabis industry experience with __________.
  2. What do you want to do differently in your next role?
  3. When did you display excellence in your role? What did you do? Why was it excellent?
  4. Why did you decide to apply for this position?
  5. What have I not asked you that I should have?
  6. We are currently offering $XX, XXX. Does this align with the compensation you expect from this role?

After the phone screening, you’re ready to advance with the desired applicants for the cannabis job.


Steps 8 – 12: Performance

Now’s the time to confirm that the candidate can perform the essential tasks and elements of the position and get a variety of perspectives on the candidate. You can do this in a few ways:

  • In-Person Interview
  • Paid Assignment or Assessment (optional)
  • Second In-Person Interview (optional)
  • Panel Interview
  • Leadership Interview (optional)

Every step isn’t required, and you can tailor the process for EACH position. For example, hiring for an executive position should probably include a leadership interview and a few in-person interviews.

On the other hand, hiring for a base-level position may only require a panel interview and an in-person interview with the supervisor for example. Let’s review each potential step…


Step 8: In-Person Interview #1

This first in-person interview should happen regardless of the position you are hiring for. Typically, you’ll want to have the hiring manager and a director or alternative manager run the interview.

Having two (2) other people besides HR run the meeting, help you get a more DIVERSE perspective on the candidate. The hiring manager will also have a better sense of the position requirements, so they will be a better judge of how qualified the person is for the cannabis job.


Step 9: Assessment/Paid Assignment (Optional)

Assessments and assignments are great options for people who are in more creative or technical positions. You will find that you can typically have all your applicants who are designers, writers, software engineers, and ad managers do some form of paid assignment at your company.

This gives potential hires an avenue to put their money where their mouth is and shows they can DELIVER. It also helps you get a sense of their work and reserve this step for top candidates.


Step 10: In-Person Interview #2 (Optional)

If you’re hiring for a high-level manager, director, or executive, you may want them to do a second interview. This interview is usually centered around management and leadership skills, so we like to invite another director, key team member, or manager to run this interview. Again, this is to help get more information and perspectives on if this person is a good fit for the open cannabis position.


Step 11: Panel Interview

Regardless of the level, we highly recommend you put your final 2 – 3 candidates through a panel interview with the hiring manager, director, and 2 – 3 key team members. Panel interviews are a great way to see if a candidate works well with the team dynamic. In this interview, you will usually…

  • talk through the core values and what they mean to the team
  • review the company culture and what it’s like to work at our company
  • dive deep into the position’s requirements and everyday tasks

Once the panel interview is complete, it’s time to start paring down to the final candidate. At this point, you’ll want to loop back in HR to listen to feedback on the 2 – 3 candidates that made it to the panel interview. To help make the decision, we like to talk about the pros and cons of each candidate and discuss any potential red flags that you may uncover during the interview of the hiring process.

Ultimately the hiring manager will make the final decision, but all the different perspectives from the team HELP everyone get buy-in on the final hire that you need to make in your company.


Step 12: Leadership Interview (Optional)

If we are hiring for an executive position, we always like to end with a leadership interview with the executives. An executive hire will have a major effect on the cannabis company as a whole so you must get buy-in on the candidate from the rest of the leadership team.

Finally, after deliberation on all the feedback, you should have no problem deciding on the final candidate. At that point, it’s time to offer them the job at your cannabis company!


Step 13: Proposal

You’ve made it to the final step in the cannabis industry hiring process: Offering the position!

At this point, the hiring manager has put in so much work that we always like to have them call up the candidate and offer the position. In that call, you should cover at least the following:

  • Cover Salary Information
  • Review Benefits
  • Schedule Start Date

After explaining all of that information, you want to ask for confirmation of the cannabis position that is currently available by saying something along the lines of the following…

“Would it be safe to assume that if we offered you the position of __________ today at a salary of $__________ that you’d accept the role?”

Once the candidate accepts, your head of Human Resources (HR) will send out the formal hiring documentation papers to sign. And with that, you have officially finished the hiring process!

So, pull out a piece of paper, and start today by answering those questions about hiring at your cannabis business. In no time, you’ll be attracting and retaining the very best cannabis industry talent.

Let us know what you think.