Ready to hire your FIRST cannabis employee – but not sure where to start? Don’t worry, we have you covered. When it comes to the cannabis industry, we understand your first employee may not fall within the same ‘wants’ or ‘needs’ as a retail clothing employee and have tips to help you succeed. You need to consider age, education, and experience – but maybe more: FIT.
Why is “Fit” So Important?
All the stars might line up for the perfect employee on paper, but if there is no “Fit” you won’t do yourself, the candidate – or your customers – any favors. The person you hire is not just an employee – they will be one of many ‘faces’ of your brand, representing your cannabis business values and products. Fit is essential to ensure the success of everyone.
Visual Exercise – Put yourself in your customer’s shoes – seriously– visualize walking through the front doors of your business. What do your customers see first – what do you want them to see? Do your customers see your product or the person at the counter first?
In most cases, your team should be greeting your customers and offering them help/product knowledge/sales before they zone in on a product of interest. Your team will set the tone of the experience. If the experience is close to amazing, you can assume the sale will be locked down, questions answered, and future purchases will be secured.
So yes, Fit matters.
How Do I find the Right Fit?
To find the right fit you will need to understand what you are looking for – what traits do you and your business want or need? Make a list and consider the following:
- Outgoing vs. laid back
- Informative vs. sales focused
- Organic sales vs. sales driven
- Influencer vs. non-influencer
- Short vs. long term team member
- Cannabis educated vs. curious
- Cannabis experienced vs. cannabis professional
Ideally, the traits you are looking are referenced in your job posting. Be honest and transparent regarding the type of person you are looking for to join your team, and their experience needs. Providing a realistic ‘requirements’ list will allow you to hire the right ‘fit’ of employee.
During the Interview – Fit Off Paper
Now that you have all of your candidates ready to interview – how do you find “Fit” off paper?
To be honest, you will know within the first five minutes of your interview if there is ‘fit’. Fit can be a feeling – it can be their attitude, engagement, and/or body language. There will be a tell-tale sign if they want to work with you, and it will be up to you to understand if you want to work with them (remember – it’s a two-way street).
Standard Interview Questions – Sales/Service:
- Tell me about your sales experience?
- Give me an example of when you were challenged to make a sale.
- How would you handle a situation when a customer is looking to return an item that has been partially consumed or used?
- Do you prefer sales or service support? And why?
- Why are you interested in working on our team?
- What drew your attention to this posting?
- Do you like working on a team or independently?
- Do you want to learn and why?
- What are you hoping to take away from this job opportunity?
What if “Fit” is There but No Cannabis Experience?
If you have found the perfect “Fit,” but experience with cannabis is lacking, it might be time to troubleshoot your job posting. Did you ask for the experience or not? Are you looking for experience in sales or support AND expertise in using or selling cannabis? Are you okay with no experience – you can teach product knowledge…but do you need experience in the use of the product?
Ask yourself these questions before pursuing a candidate that might not have the experience your business needs.
Can you have it all – maybe not?
When looking to hire, you may need to consider your target employee may not have all the experience and skills you’ve requested. However, just because they don’t have one or the other doesn’t necessarily mean they are a terrible candidate. Consider whether this future team member is a good investment. What they don’t know you could teach – but do you have time? Review your list of requirements and revisit whether your expectations align with what your goals are.
Consider the short- and long-term requirements – if they appear to be a good fit, the investment may be worth it. Remember, it is still a two-way street – the person hired also must be willing to put in the work to learn and grow with your business.
Ready to Post for your Position?
In consideration of fit and general requirements, we have pulled together a list to help you hire your first cannabis employee.
Standard Requirements – The Musts:
- Be over the age of 21
- Legally authorized to work in the state of employment.
- Pass a criminal background check.
Service / Sales Requirements – Consider “Fit” with your requirements:
- Experience in sales or customer service, minimum of 1-3 years.
- Rockstar customer service skills, including problem solving and handling customer challenges.
- Consider yourself with a high level of trust, honesty, motivation and desire to be the best you can be.
- Positive attitude and fun to support a high level of customer interaction, sales and positivity.
- Excited about working on a team.
- Interested in learning more about, or passionate, about your cannabis business values.
- Willing to learn and be coached in building up sales and service skills.
- Proven rock star experience in cannabis sales or service.
- Understanding or knowledge cannabis plants, strains, tools and products.
- Certification in cannabis product knowledge.
- Worked in a regulated environment.
Network with Other Cannabis Business Owners
If you are looking to hire your first cannabis business employee, why not network with those that have already been through the process? Register now for a CannaCon conference in your area, and you’ll have opportunities to learn from the best.