How to hire in the Cannabis Industry
With medical cannabis now legal in more than half of the U.S. and recreational marijuana use allowed in at-least nine states, cannabis companies nationwide are scrambling to fill a rush of new jobs—an estimated 340,000 of them in the U.S. alone by 2020. In traditional industries, it's fairly simple to search for candidates who have a history of real life experience in your industry...but that just isn't the case in the cannabis industry.
Due to the rapid growth and expansion of the cannabis industry as a whole, there simply aren't enough people who have direct experience due to the newfound legality of medical marijuana. So you have to be willing to bring in people from the outside. Adding to that, as the industry continues to grow, the type of talent that recruiters look for is rapidly changing. In the past, most jobs required people to directly handle or work with the marijuana plant itself. Today, the industry needs people from all areas associated with a traditional business e.g.; HR, marketing, branding experts, financial managers, and more.
Now that you know what you're looking at, here are some methods you can employ to put your best foot forward when it comes to finding the best employee for the job:
Try traditional hiring methods first
Start off by posting current openings to traditional job boards like Indeed, LinkedIn, and SnagAJob because there will be guaranteed traffic to those sites from people with a wide range of relevant backgrounds. Just make sure your listing stands out from the crowd. It's surprising how many job listings we've found with incorrect grammar or blatantly copy/pasted information from other listings (sometimes even including the name of the company they copied from). Make sure you supply as much relevant information as possible such as: Job Responsibilities, Pay Structure, Expected Working Hours, Benefits (if applicable), Your Location(s), and include a personal sentiment about what makes your company a good place to work.
Search Cannabis Industry Specific Websites
There are a number of websites specifically targeting the cannabis industry, two of our favorites being Vangst and THC Staffing Group which have been around since 2015 and 2014 respectively. These sites have a large number of people who are actively seeking employment, many of whom already have relevant experience.
Do Your Research
While every potential employer should do research on industry trends and topics before actively searching, there are a few cannabis specific considerations to keep in mind. While legalization is slowly becoming the norm, the marijuana industry is still heavily regulated which means you need to know what your prospective employee can and cannot do. Let's say you're hiring a marketing manager; you should know exactly what/where you can and cannot advertise to ensure your business stays in compliance with all local and federal laws and regulations. Taking too big of a risk, or going in blind can lead to serious trouble down the road, sometimes as serious as getting your entire company shut down.
Network, Network, Network
Networking is the bread and butter of any successful business venture, especially when it comes down to finding the right talent for you to invest in. With just a few minutes of research, you can find a staggering number of local and regional cannabis specific events happening year-round and nationwide. These events, like The Emerald Cup, can be a great place to not only forge lasting relationships with other companies, but also to find prospective employees in the long run. There are also events such as The Cannabis World Congress & Business Exposition (happening May 2019 in New York and September 2019 in Los Angeles) or MJBizCon (happening June 2019 in New Orleans) which can be crucial to your end game. Can't attend these kinds of events? Not to worry, there are plenty of other "grassroots" ways to build your network, with our favorite being social media. When you follow and interact with brands in the industry, you're bound to build relationships over time...and it's free!
Think Like a Startup
Being part of one of the fastest growing and moving industries in history has its fair share of both benefits and drawbacks, but as long as you're a quick thinker and you know how to adapt, you can thrive. Keep an eye out for potential employees who have experience in a startup business and who are ready to adapt to changes on the fly. As regulation continues to progress, things will continue to change, sometimes with little to no warning. Seek employees who aren't too dependent on structure, as the fast moving pace can sometime throw those kinds of people off.
With all of this information in mind, go out there and get your listing seen by as many eyes as possible. Remember to post clear and concise details about the job responsibilities, pay/benefits, locations, hours, etc. so that people don't have to take a gamble when it comes to applying with you. As an added bonus, many sites like Indeed have features that enable members of those sites to apply with just a few clicks, which means that you'll likely see an uptick in the number of people who are willing to apply.
Keep in mind, direct experience in our industry is very beneficial, but you would be wise to expand your horizons and be willing to explore all your options.
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disclaimer: All studies, sources, links, etc. are the words of their respective authors. We are not endorsing any information contained within these resources and we encourage you to do your own research before forming an option.