With ten newly legalized states to begin selling in 2021 and 2022 and some experts predicting that the cannabis industry will top $43 billion by 2025, it is no surprise that cannabis-related jobs are also on the rise. For businesses, this means new positions to fill in order to keep up with rapid growth and consumer demand. The challenge for recruiters is sifting through the influx of new talent to find the best candidates to fill these positions. Newcomers to cannabis migrating from other industries will possess a variety of skills and experience, and it is important to identify which of these will translate to the world of cannabis. Finding reliable, ambitious, and qualified employees to grow your cannabis business can be a daunting task, even with a large pool from which to hire. This guide will offer some tips to help cannabis recruiters attract the best prospects and hire suitable candidates that will bring value, commitment, and success to their business.
Guide to Recruiting Outside Talent
The first piece of advice for recruiters looking to find quality candidates for a position is not to rush. Whether replacing an employee, creating a new position, or expanding operations, the tendency is to want to fill a job with someone competent and available as quickly as possible. But in order to find the best person, not only to perform the duties of the job but to enhance your workplace culture and grow and evolve with your business, it takes time. Your hiring strategy must reflect what you are as a business and target precisely the kind of talent that will succeed in the position, the company, and the industry as a whole.
Clearly Define Positions and the Qualities of Ideal Candidates
When posting a job listing, include more than a simple description of the duties to be performed. Instead, clearly define what the job entails, include what qualities a viable candidate should possess, and outline the culture and values of your business that you believe a potential hire should share. This structure will allow candidates to grasp a complete understanding of the job and match their strengths and interests to the description of the ideal candidate, producing a clear understanding for both employer and employee about what is expected and how to excel. The more clearly defined expectations and necessary skill sets are, the better matched up candidates will be to the job available, narrowing the field of potential employees down to truly viable options before the interview process even begins, saving recruiters valuable time.
Recruit Through Multiple Channels
Because so many qualified candidates come from a wide range of other industries, it is vital to cast a wide net when searching for potential applicants. Cannabis-friendly online job boards like ZipRecruiter and Indeed are effective places to get a lot of traffic on your job listings. Utilizing social media like Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn can raise your visibility and reach those already in the job market and those that may be open to changing their career path but are not aware of the opportunities available in the cannabis industry. There are professional cannabis industry recruiters that work on contingency and have cultivated networks of talented candidates looking to connect with businesses searching for quality employees. Networking through cannabis-related events and membership associations can also yield knowledgeable and ambitious candidates for your open positions.
Look at Comparable Industries for Transferable Skills
Cannabis is a heavily regulated industry, which can bring a number of challenges to running a successful business. Business owners and recruiters can benefit from looking at other regulated sectors to find talented employees with a solid knowledge base regarding how to work in a field where regulation requires strict adherence to specific policies and attention to detail. The pharmaceutical, alcohol, tobacco, food and beverage, and gaming industries have been around much longer than cannabis. Recruiting talent from these comparable industry models can provide your business with relatable business perspectives and best practices that can benefit your workplace and complement your staff.
Likewise, fast-paced, customer-oriented industries such as hospitality and traditional retail can produce seasoned professionals that are familiar and comfortable working in those environments and can use those skill sets to thrive at your business. Additionally, both industries have experienced high levels of layoffs in the past two years due to Covid, freeing up talent that could be recruited into the cannabis industry.
Offer Competitive Salaries and Benefits
One of the most essential steps toward hiring and retaining quality employees is offering competitive wages. Ensuring your base pay, bonus structures, and benefits packages are current and comprehensive is critical to attracting talented professionals that can take your business to the next level.
While it can be tempting to try and save money by only offering minimum wage for entry-level positions and less-than-competitive salaries for mid and high-level associates and managers, in the long run, this tactic will backfire. The best way to save money on payroll is to retain employees. The time and money wasted trying to fill positions due to high employee turnover ends up being costlier than paying quality employees a competitive wage and earning their loyalty and commitment.
For a comprehensive look at current salaries in the cannabis industry, check out Cannabiz’s 2022 Cannabis Salary Guide.
Perform Pre-employment Screenings
Lastly, in an industry as highly regulated as cannabis, having stringent pre-employment screenings and background checks is essential to ensuring your business remains compliant with all state laws and restrictions. Hiring unqualified employees can result in fines, penalties, and closures, so it is paramount that your business put procedures in place to screen any potential candidate. Pre-employment screenings should include:
- A criminal and civil records search.
- Restricted party search.
- Professional license investigation.
- A National Sex Offender Registry search.
- A National Record Locator search.
- A review of any previous compliance issues at past cannabis-related businesses.
Finding viable candidates to hire can be challenging. Still, with the right strategy, you can find talented professionals who will bring the energy and expertise to make your business flourish. Cannabis is a new and exciting industry full of potential for a variety of skill sets. If you network effectively, get your cannabis job postings out there for people to see, and offer competitive compensation, talent will come calling. If your cannabis business needs recruiting support or staffing solutions (executive search, direct hire, temporary employees, or consultants), we can help–contact us today!