by John Serrantino, co-founder and Chief Strategy Officer of EzHire Cannabis
Why it is critical to “Always Be Recruiting” in the cannabis industry and how to do it.
The cannabis industry is primed for unprecedented growth in the coming months. Today posting a job can yield thousands of candidates in a matter of hours. In the post we will discuss why this may not be the blessing it appears and how businesses can adapt to handle the influx of talent coming into the cannabis industry.
It seems like everyone wants to work in cannabis these days. With the retail industry experiencing damage that has accelerated its demise, a more diverse candidate set is flocking to cannabis as the industry continues to grow. At EzHire Cannabis, a talent engagement platform, we have identified three distinct buckets of candidates:
- Retail Refugees – these are candidates with extensive experience in a retail setting, including middle and upper management. This pool of candidates is short on cannabis experience but seasoned when it comes to creating a retail customer experience.
- Silicon Valley meets cannabis – when it comes to the evolving needs of cannabis, technical knowledge is at a premium. IT support is necessary as digital storefronts become vital. Digital marketing & communication, particularly to maintain business-to-business relationships, has become a priority over face-to-face interactions.
- Advancing from within – as new markets open the talent from more established markets is proving willing to relocate. Finding this type of talent isn’t easy but it can be critical when starting a cannabis operation in a new market where industry experience is near impossible to source locally.
Cannabis Talent is Building
The legal cannabis market currently employs nearly 300,000 people with exponential growth expected in the coming years. That means there are a lot of prospective candidates with real experience. Unfortunately, there are three core problems that hinder your hiring efforts:
- Those experienced professionals aren’t always actively looking for jobs
- Experienced candidates aren’t always located in your backyard
- Your competitors may be able to lure these candidates to their business before you
In the 1992 film Glengarry Glen Ross, Blake, an aggressive big city salesman played by Alec Baldwin, introduces a sales team to the “Always Be Closing” mentality to drive business. While this advice hasn’t really aged well for sales, when it comes to staffing your business, it is applicable. Best practice dictates the need to “Always Be Recruiting.” This practice, known more commonly as active recruiting, involves networking with those already in the industry to improve your reach and visibility to those prospective candidates.
Best Practices for Finding Talent
The most common methods of active recruiting involve:
- Attending industry networking events – virtual or otherwise these are a great way to get face time with a mix of industry professionals.
- Leveraging Technology – as the stigma around working in the industry fades, top talent has migrated to LinkedIn. A smart business owner or hiring manager will build a strong network via the platform.
- Monitor industry trends nationwide and share that knowledge – if you’ve built a strong social network, you’ll want to keep them educated. This helps engage the right people for your business.
Balancing Priorities While Getting Results
While it can feel like a lot of work to constantly be recruiting, the benefits far outweigh the time investment in the long run. Take for example the way an experienced hire, be it in retail or lab testing, is able to come in and “get stuff done” with limited onboarding and handholding. Most businesses find those candidates primarily need training on protocols and processes specific to the business rather than a full background in the industry which can be time-consuming and expensive.
Hiring Managers have consistently expressed feeling overwhelmed by the sheer amount of applicants they receive when they post for a position. They simply do not have time to sort through thousands of resumes to find the diamonds – and resumes often do not tell the full story, requiring a phone screen and in-person interviews to really get to know whether the applicant is a fit.
Fortunately, within the industry, there are a number of ways to streamline these motions. In fact, this post offers insight into some of the ways you can work toward securing top talent. Bringing on a new employee is an investment you are making in your business, taking the steps outlined above serves as a great way to make sure you are getting the highest probability of a return on that investment.
John Serrantino is the co-founder and Chief Strategy Officer of EzHire Cannabis. EzHire Cannabis offers technology forward solutions for business owners and hiring managers to enable their growth. Founded in 2017, originally as Fortuna Business Solutions, EzHire represents the first talent engagement platform for the cannabis industry. Prior to joining EzHire, John was an early-stage employee at multiple successful startups including as Director of Sales for Seattle-based CRM, PipelineDeals and Director of Client Services at Philadelphia-based remindermedia. John and his wife Sarah reside in the Tampa Bay area and are active in the animal rescue community.