How to Hire the Best Budtenders

Nothing is more important to a company than their team. Without your team, you don’t have a business. The challenge, of course, is finding the right people in a highly competitive recruiting environment. Heck, it’s hard enough finding the “right” people when the economy’s not doing well.

In this article on dispensary hiring, we’re going to focus on the interview process.

Dispensary Hiring: Interview Essentials

Here’s the truth about interviews: Most employers believe the interview process is a reliable and objective process.

Ok, that’s not true.

Whether we like it or not, most of us use the interview process to see if we like the interviewee. Whether we end up liking the candidate or not, no matter the candidate’s performance, we’ll use the interview to justify our biases.

The reality is that most interviewers are no more successful in picking the right candidates than if they were to flip a coin. Further, hundreds of studies have exposed the limitations of the interview process. Time and again, we’re fooled into hiring a candidate who is charming, articulate, good looking, and even manipulative and tall.

Are we saying interviewing is a complete waste of time? Absolutely not. It’s more like a necessary evil. If you do it right, it can be of benefit to both your dispensary and the candidate

The Dispensary Hiring Process

Dispensary hiring team interview
Below you’ll read what your interview process should look like, along with what you should be looking to gain from each phase of the process. (For a handy interview checklist, read this article.

Telephone Pre-Screen Interview

Before bringing someone in, schedule a telephone interview. This can save everyone time later down the line.

A telephone interview will allow you to get a feel for their personality while clarifying any questions you may have about their resume. You should also share more about your dispensary at this time, like what the culture is like, what the compensation range is, what the role will look like, and what their responsibilities will be. This interview is usually on the lower end of the range, between 15 and 30 minutes. Keep to the lower end of the range if possible, as you’ll set the tone that you run an efficient shop.

Direct One-on-One Interview

The in-person interview is the next step in the process. Most companies — including cannabis dispensaries — use a behavioral, competency-based or situational approach to interviewing. During this phase — if you haven’t already done this — you can ask about frequent job gaps or extended lapses in employment.

If they’re young and decided to take a year off to travel Europe, good for them! The time off was well spent, and they’ll have memories to last a lifetime. But if they took the time to just hang out with friends and smoke ganja all day, that’s not a good sign. They may love cannabis, but working for a dispensary may be the worst choice they could make. Moreover, they’re probably not ready yet for a full-time commitment.

What you really want to gain from the in-person interview is a read on how knowledgeable they are about cannabis, whether they’re the type of person who embraces learning, and how passionate they are about cannabis.

Team or Panel Interview

For this phase of the process, you can interview the candidate with other stakeholders in the company concurrently. Or you can have your team meet at varying times, which will allow you to compare notes as things are going along. In the cannabis world, most dispensaries seem to prefer meeting separately with the candidate or with one or two peers. A benefit of this phase is that you can also include newer team members to join the process and play a role in shaping the company’s culture. Ultimately, though, there should be one leader while others play a support role.

Dispensary hiring interview questions

Dispensary Hiring: Closing Advice

Before you conduct an interview, make sure you’re personally prepared. Likewise, make sure you’re crystal clear on what your process is and what your criteria will be to assess the candidate in a manner that is as objective and consistent as possible.

At the end of the day, you want to learn or confirm just five things (broadly speaking that is):

  • Is the candidate…
    • motivated and goal-oriented?
    • coachable?
    • consistently positive and upbeat?
    • empathetic and compassionate?
  • Does the candidate…
    • genuinely share your dispensary’s values?

If they are, and you’ve qualified it, you’re going to make better hiring decisions than most people in the industry. And, you’ll probably make the right decision a higher percentage of time than doing a coin toss.