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Recruiting for Success in the Cannabis Industry

Recreational marijuana is in the forefront of all news media as the number of states across America legalizing the drug continue to climb, as well as the imminent legalization in Canada coming this fall. With legalization comes business opportunity, and it is clear that a hiring frenzy in the cannabis industry is on its way. This is an industry with an immense amount of potential, already offering a vast array of career opportunities.


However, hiring within this business doesn’t come without challenges. How can you find qualified people with the necessary skills in a blossoming industry? Will companies have to step out of their more traditional hiring practices to look for new skills and talent?


This newly legalized industry wants to attract, hire, and retain top talent – just as any other industry does. And with the rapid, exponential growth of this industry, it is critical to do so quickly and effectively. Many of the top candidates within the cannabis space will be incredibly valuable and sought-out. Therefore, it is important to ensure that your company has what it takes to hire and, even more importantly, retain these specialized candidates.


In order to better handle the hiring process within this industry, we have outlined some important skills and tips to consider throughout your hiring process:


1. Industry-specific skills and knowledge

While the cannabis industry does demand a unique set of skills, there are also a large number of candidates with transferable skills that can be considered. For example, the cannabis industry is a production and distribution business. When considering the business in this sense you can imagine that there is no lack of candidates with knowledge and practice within this space. The only modification is the product being produced and distributed. In this scenario, look for talent that has wide-ranging retail experience, manufacturing/distribution knowledge, as well as the overall soft skills your company is looking for. Detailed cannabis industry information can be taught, whereas general skills needed in the field are not. Other industries to consider: Pharma, Food and Beverage.


2. Hire talent with motivation and enthusiasm

There is a lot of top talent that sees prospect in the cannabis industry. Because the industry is so fresh and new, there is a lot of opportunity for both skill development and career advancement. Candidates with objectives will want to develop and transition into a managerial role, take on more responsibility, and have prime involvement in the industries evolution taking place over the course of these next couple years. So when hiring within this industry, look for that talent who wants to flourish with a growing business, constantly gather and learn new information, works hard, challenges themselves, and shows excitement to work for a new, innovative, and evolving industry.


3. Don’t hire cannabis fanatics

As a cannabis business, be careful about hiring candidates who are just simply passionate about the drug. Rather, hire talent that shows reliability, motivation, dependability, and actual skill. Many people are excited about the product because they have used it recreationally and will obviously want the opportunity to make this the job of their dreams. Just because they have a profound knowledge of the product and are passionate about it, does not mean they will make the best addition to the team. That’s like saying “I really like cars, so I will get a job as a mechanic”. Look past their excitement for the product, and hire based on skill and motivation.


4. All about the company culture

Like any industry, every company has its own unique culture and environment. Certain people fit the culture and certainly do not. The interview process is a meeting for both sides, the employee, an employer, to see whether or not their personalities fit, morals and values align, and if they both have a common work ethic. Both sides cannot expect a happy work partnership if they both don’t mesh well in regards to their professionalism. A company doesn’t want someone misrepresenting their company’s ideologies and philosophy, while an employee won’t properly represent a company if they don’t agree with their culture and principles.


5. Hire a recruiter

The cannabis industry is a budding business in its beginning stages (don’t mind the pun). The talent you hire now will greatly influence your company’s future success. Hiring at the beginning stages of a new company is the organization’s opportunity to establish a strong presence, retain the best talent, and can be the ‘make or break’ to their initial success.
Recruitment firms can assist with this process. Sometimes new companies have an idea of the type of culture they want and the staff they want to hire but don’t know how and where to begin looking. Recruiters can listen to your needs and present you with the best talent to kick-start your road to success. Recruiters target those who didn’t even know they were open to something new. That being said, don’t be so quick to write off using a recruitment agency. They may help you find exactly what you’re looking for, and even more importantly, they may know exactly what types of people your business needs to hire before you do.


The cannabis industry is booming and isn’t stopping anytime soon. Companies are rushing to fill positions as their production and distribution are increasing daily. Finding the right fit is paramount in these times of rapid expansion. It is easy to try to simply fill the void but is important to do so strategically and intelligently, or else it can cost you even more down the road. The choices that are made now in the hiring process will directly impact the future success of the company.



Groom Associates

Last modified: August 1, 2018

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Recruiting for Success in the Cannabis Industry

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