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How to Ace a Cannabis Job Interview – Updated 2023

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The excellent cannabis resume you’ve written prompted a phone screening and now you have a cannabis job interview scheduled. So, it’s time to prepare yourself for the hot seat as a cannabis candidate. However, keep in mind that the cannabis industry is unlike any other before it. Therefore, you should adjust your preparation to make a lasting impression for any position from budtender to cultivation director. 

To help you in earning the open cannabis position you’re going after, we’ve created a guide on how to ace a cannabis job interview. Although there are tons of cannabis jobs available in the space, these tips will help you win the cannabis employer over for any position. 

Two men shaking hands

Be Authentic

Pleasing your cannabis employer’s expectations, or what you think their expectations are, creates anxiety and robs you of your own preferences. And it demands more effort, as you’re hiding your true self. According to a study by the Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, people who behaved authentically in their interviews are 26% more likely to get the job compared to those who pleased their interviewer’s expectations. By being yourself, you’ll find out if the cannabis company is truly right for you. It may go against the standard approach to cannabis job interviews, but being authentic is beneficial for both the candidate and employer. It allows you to be comfortable in your skin and leads to a better experience and communication. 

Research the Cannabis Company

Take your cannabis company research even further than the website and job description by checking the organization’s social media channels. Analyze the company by looking at what they post on social media to learn about their voice, company culture, and how they handle customer/client interactions. You can also reach out to current or past employees and ask them about the company culture. Additionally, you can go to sites like Glassdoor or Career Bliss and find out what others have said about the cannabis company. Use all your resources to create a complete snapshot of the cannabis company, so you get a real sense of who they are from the perspective of an employee. Additionally, research the products and what’s in them if you’re going for a retail position. Be sure to cover sativa, terpenes, indicas, and so forth if your goal is to work at a marijuana dispensary. 

Practice Common & Behavioral Cannabis Job Interview Questions

To ace a cannabis job interview, you have to practice both common and behavioral interview questions. You have probably run into several common interview questions before but cycle through them a few times anyway. For example, you may have common budtender interview questions that involve being knowledgeable about different strains. Practice answering interview questions of varying difficulty.

Behavioral interview questions, which helps an employer get a glimpse of how you perform or react in certain situations in the work environment, should get the most attention. Use the S.T.A.R Technique, which stands for Situation, Task, Action, and Result. With this method, you’ll explain the scenario, the main goal, the steps you took to complete the task, and the positive results of your action. Remember to focus on your contribution, and don’t forget to give yourself some praise when you showcase your experience. Use our list of common behavioral interview questions and practice them with the help of a friend. For both common and behavioral interview questions, try to create a realistic interview setting and dress the part as well. 

Review Your Backstory

“Tell me about yourself.” Although you are the most informed party about your life and work history, it’s common to fumble your response if you have not practiced it. Therefore, you should prepare for this cannabis job interview opening question. It will have a big influence on how the rest of the interview will go. Create a short outline summarizing your professional life, highlighting positions, skills, or experience that align well with the cannabis job you’re interviewing for. Be sure to include your interest in the industry or passion for the marijuana plant. Then, practice telling a friend or family member your backstory. Tell them to give you honest feedback about whether or not it’s confident, authentic, and friendly. The last thing you want to do is sound like you are reciting a pre-written response.

Demonstrate Your Expertise & its Relation to the Cannabis Job

During the job interview, look for good moments to give examples of your expertise. However, make sure that the examples are relevant to the position. It doesn’t need to be direct. But you do need to make the connection as to how your experience equips you well for the opportunity. Did you make a process more efficient? Have you found a way to save time on a crucial daily task? Did you attend conferences or write on a specific cannabis industry topic? The employer wants to know that you are confident in your skills and how they can benefit their company. Discussing real-life examples is the best way to demonstrate your expertise in a cannabis job interview. If you want to take it a step further, take your example and explain how you can apply it to improve a certain aspect of their company. To go down this route, research the company well.

Get in the Right Mindset

Getting in the right mindset is crucial to ace a cannabis job interview, and it starts with taking care of your primary biological needs. You need to get the proper amount of sleep, eat healthy meals at the right times of the day, and stay hydrated to set yourself up for a comfortable experience. After your primary needs are met, you can enter a positive mindset by reviewing your authentic strengths. Thinking of your strengths will help you get into the right mentality and prime you to talk about them, presenting the best version of yourself during the interview. And if you’re nervous, tell yourself you’re excited instead. Your body responds to nerves and excitement in the same manner, so interpret your nervousness as excitement to stay in a positive mindset. There are plenty of available cannabis jobs out there from dispensary budtender to lab director. But you have to get into the right mindset to land one. 

Find Common Ground with Interviewer

According to the similarity-attraction effect, people tend to like others who share corresponding attitudes or beliefs. So, it’s in your best interest to find common ground with the interviewer to ace a cannabis job interview. However, to stay in line with being authentic, make sure you find a genuine common interest. Bringing up something cannabis-related may spark conversation about similar interests, so start there. If you know who your interviewer is ahead of time, do some research to find out about his/her hobbies and skills, so you can work it into the discussion if you share some of the same interests. You don’t have to connect on only job-related aspects. Ask them questions about what it’s like to be an employee at the dispensary or cannabis business they work for. And you can also find some related interests or hobbies if nothing direct is on the table. Your interviewer will potentially be your future coworker, so keep that in mind. 

Go Off-Script

Listen to the interviewer’s questions and repeat some of the keywords in your response to go off-script. This will help you avoid rote answers and listen to the questions more attentively. You want to be prepared, but you don’t want your answers to sound too rehearsed. A hiring manager will typically go off of a structure for the interview as well. So, if you take them off-script, you can tell them something about yourself that isn’t on your cannabis resume. Perhaps you worked as a personal trainer in your previous job. And, although it’s not on your resume, it helped you build certain skills needed for the position. As an interviewee, try to answer questions without sounding too rehearsed. 

Dress the Part

Although the cannabis industry is more relaxed, you still have to dress the part to ace a cannabis job interview. Yes, even if you’re applying to be a dispensary budtender, dress to impress. Research the company and consider the position to decide whether you’re going for business casual or professional. Stick to solid, dark colors, and make sure your outfit is clean and wrinkle-free. Additionally, you’ll want to make sure that your attire is comfortable, so you’re not distracted during the cannabis job interview. Not only will dressing the part help you make a good first impression, but it will also boost your confidence and help the hiring manager see you as a future employee. 

Check Your Equipment for a Remote Interview

Whether it’s a phone or video interview, check that your technology works. Run a practice interview to ensure your internet connection, camera, and video meeting software functions correctly. You will want to find a clean, quiet place to do the remote job interview. If you cannot find a quiet place in your home, inform your housemates or family members to remain quiet during your interview timeframe. Also, make sure your lighting is fine for a video interview. Use natural light if your video is during the daytime, or get a reliable light source to light your face, like a ring light. And make sure your camera is at eye level.

Prepare Thoughtful Questions

Every job interview is a two-way street. The interviewer gets to evaluate you, but you should also be prepared to evaluate the company. Prepare questions for the cannabis job interview that will help you analyze whether the organization is right for you. Ask about the company culture, the management style, what’s expected in the role, and anything else that will help you paint a comprehensive picture of the cannabis company. Prepare questions that show you’ve done your research and allow you to dig deeper. If you’re in a panel interview, you might consider asking questions about interests and hobbies–once you get the more significant questions out of the way and if there’s time.

Take Notes

When the interviewer is discussing the cannabis job duties and responsibilities, take notes. By taking notes, you are showing the interviewer that you are interested, listening, and, most importantly, that you care. Write down further details about the job not mentioned in the description, workplace culture information, who you will report to, and any information you want to research later. Also, you can take notes after you ask questions. If you are nervous, taking notes can help ease your fidgeting and provide you a moment to contemplate before answering a question. The power of a pen and notepad is underrated. These simple tools can help you shine in your cannabis job interview.

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