How to Hire Great Budtenders

What’s the secret to hiring great Budtenders? The short and disappointing answer is that there is no secret. But, there are a few tips and tricks for identifying applicants with budding potential. Read on to learn more about how to find your next amazing Budtender. 

The Job Posting
To ensure you get qualified applicants, your open Budtender position must be posted online. It is most effective when your opening is posted across multiple job search platforms. This may be limited by budget, but I suggest finding job boards that are local to your dispensary’s area. One of the benefits of posting to local platforms is that these postings tend to be free to minimal cost. Start with community-focused organizations like the Chamber of Commerce, local online publications, Craigslist, and LinkedIn with geo-targeting. 
I also encourage you to have a continuously open application on your dispensary’s website. You’ll thank me later when you have a stack of resumes ready to replace a Budtender who decided to quit with no notice. It happens, and it will happen often. High turnover is not always a reflection of your management abilities. It is the nature of retail and service positions. But, you can encourage less turnover at your dispensary by being clear about what your company has to offer from the beginning. 
Your job posting should always have an accurate description of the role you are hiring for. To simplify this process, I suggest breaking the description down into the following sections: 

1. About Us
Be proud of your dispensary and tell the world what it is all about! Include a description of your company’s mission and culture at the beginning of the job post. This could excite or motivate some applicants and deter those who might not be a good fit. 

2. Overview
Include an overview of the position as it functions at your dispensary. Remember that this can be different depending on the service style you have chosen for your dispensary. I find it easiest to write this section as if I were describing the Budtending role in person. You want it to be eye-catching and get applicants excited about the opportunity to work with your company.  

3. Responsibilities & Expectations
In this section, you want to outline all the potential tasks and responsibilities a Budtender will have at your dispensary. You should include a disclaimer that this is not a complete list of all duties or responsibilities associated with the position. Note that tasks and expectations will be adapted as needed to fit the requirements of the Budtending role.  
Examples of responsibilities for a Budtender: 

  • Provide excellent education customer service
  • Provide product recommendations to customers
  • Keep the store clean and product organized in the store
  • Follow operational policies and procedures for opening and closing shifts
  • Accurately handle cash and POS transactions  

4. Qualifications
Having a clear list of qualifications allows the applicant to quickly assess if they are a good fit for the Budtending role. General qualifications could include basic computer skills, POS experience, and cash-handling skills. A standard requirement for applicants in the U.S. is that they must age 21 or older.5. Work Environment
You need to explain the expected work environment, so applicants can assess if they will work well in these conditions. This could include standing for eight or more hours per shift, lifting up to 25 pounds, or using a computer for long periods. This is not meant to deter applicants but should describe the real work environment you have to offer. 6. Preferred Experience
This section allows you to outline any qualifications that will make an applicant stand out above the crowd. This should be a list of preferred work experience, not required experience to meet the minimum job requirements.  
Examples of these types of qualifications could include: 

  • Have a four-year degree or equivalent education
  • Have at least five years of experience in a customer service role
  • Have open, full-time availability 
  • Have a valid Marijuana Handler’s Permit
  • Have at least one year of experience as a Budtender or working in the cannabis industry 

The Interview
After you’ve gathered your top applications, it’s time to hold a slew of interviews. Think of the interview as a conversation between new acquaintances. I suggest referencing a set of around ten questions but not asking the same ones every time. As a Dispensary Manager, you will hold countless interviews with potential Budtenders. Changing the questions can help keep you actively engaged and keep the conversation interesting. 
Example Interview Questions for Budtenders: 

  1. What is your preferred method of consumption if you consume cannabis? 
  2. Tell me about your background with cannabis and/or working in the cannabis industry.
  3. What skills can you contribute to the dispensary team? 
  4. Why do you want to be a Budtender? What motivates you?
  5. Can you memorize and share a wide range of product knowledge with customers?  
  6. How do you typically handle stress or a fast-paced work environment?
  7. Tell me about a time when you provided exceptional customer service. 
  8. What is your dream job in the cannabis industry? 
  9. Where do you see yourself in five years? 
  10. Do you have any questions? 

It is a common misconception that you should hire dispensary employees who consume cannabis. Although interest in cannabis is needed, consumption is not required. If an applicant shows up to the interview stoned, that’s a valid reason to turn them away! Consumption of cannabis at a dispensary is strictly prohibited. You want to find applicants who can follow state laws closely.
Your ultimate goal at the end of the interview is to see if the applicant has the kind of personality your team and customers can connect with. Keep an open mind when interviewing potential Budtenders with varied work histories.  The skills a successful Budtender needs include the ability to follow directions, provide exceptional customer service, and retain vast amounts of product knowledge. Any experience with an emphasis on customer service, retail, or hospitality, will translate well to the Budtender role.

The Background Check
Despite common stereotypes, the cannabis industry takes rules and regulations very seriously. One violation of state regulations could put your entire dispensary out of business. With that in mind, you want to look for applicants who have a history of following the rules. Be sure to always reach out to the applicant’s references and ask questions about their work history. 
Example Questions for Applicants’ References: 

  • Did this employee show up to their shifts consistently on time or early? 
  • What dates were they employed with you? 
  • Did they meet or exceed the standards for the position they were in? 
  • Did they consistently follow directions and rules set in the workplace? 
  • Are they eligible to be rehired by your company? 

It is also standard practice to do a background check on every applicant you are considering. Do not skip this step! You want to know if a potential employee is someone who can be trusted with your precious product and cash. A sure sign that an applicant is trustworthy and serious about working in the cannabis industry is if they already have a state-issued Marijuana Worker Permit. This permit is both a time and money investment and shows that an applicant is ready to work as soon as possible.

The Job Offer
Each applicant is considering the pros and cons of working with you as much as you are considering the potential benefits of hiring them. What attracted me to my first job as a Budtender was a higher than average starting wage, benefits, full-time hours, and promise of more opportunity. This then led me across many departments, diversifying my experience and expanding my industry knowledge in the long run. My beginning as a Budtender made me into a better asset for the company and eventually landed me in a better role for my personal aspirations. 
In order to recruit high-quality applicants, you need to offer a high-quality work environment. Offering full-time, consistent hours can put you ahead of other dispensaries and in the race for qualified applicants. Be sure, to be honest about the hours you have to offer and what shifts need to be covered. You want to give the applicant the opportunity to evaluate if they can make it work.

The Follow-Up
Your job as a Dispensary Manager really begins once you hire a qualified applicant. You need to establish clear company standards, language, and procedures from the beginning. I recommend offering the Budtender position with a 30-day Probationary Period, so you can evaluate how successful the new employee is overtime. These 30 days will allow the employee an opportunity to prove their timeliness, consistency, ability to retain knowledge, and follow directions. Never ignore any red flags that come up during this period and be transparent about how new employees can continue to improve. Products, regulations, and procedures can frequently change in the cannabis industry. So, you’ll want to hire employees who can thrive in a constantly changing environment.
Be sure to use the tools in touCanna to your advantage when hiring a new Budtender. Keep track of a Budtender’s progress, achievements, and assigned tasks. Add an Achievement in the Performance module when a new Budtender has complete the designated certification process. Use the Tasks feature to assign training projects or new duties to the Budtender as they develop. By the end of the 30-day Probationary Period, you will then have an outline of notes to evaluate the progress of each new hire.
Hiring is a constant practice as a Dispensary Manager. I find that a hasty hiring decision will lead to a hasty firing of unqualified applicants. Be sure to take your time with these decisions and think critically when it comes to an applicant’s fit with your current team. Never feel pressured to hire someone for the sake of hiring, as this could lead to hurting your team more than helping it. Remember to broaden your search outside of the industry, check each applicant’s work history, have an honest interview, and begin it all again. Turnover is a necessary evil, but you can manage this by taking the time to make smart hiring decisions for your cannabis business.

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