Where are the Qualified Employees?
“Where can we find talent in this new industry?” is the most commonly asked question asked by our clients. While I can’t give our recruiting secrets away, I answer “they are out there, you just need to know where to find them!” The real answer is the black market.
Cannabis has been part of the illicit market for many years. Lucky for those of us who believe in this plant’s healing properties, the genie is out of the bottle, and we are on the road to legalization! I have met so many growers in these past few years who sound like doctors when recommending protocols to manage illness. My friends, as I like to call them, know more than I will ever be able to comprehend. And the knowledge goes much further than how to grow a plant: trichomes, terpenes, extraction methods, the Endocannabinoid system, and our Receptors are only the beginning. My friends are already well versed in these areas.
So why can’t we all just hire these black market growers? For one, many states don’t allow felony employees to work with cannabis, and unfortunately, many of these growers have records from unfair laws. Some states allow those with felons to work in recreational facilities but not medicinal ones. Another issue is the culture that comes with the black market. These men and women don’t have the corporate culture nor the managerial experience to immediately fill leadership roles.
What’s a company to do? Ideally, mix the corporate cannabis newbie with the black market skilled labor. One component I have found to be ideal for businesses is to be able to rely on the black market employee while at the same time being able to conform to the Cannabis Culture. The Cannabis Culture is a force. Loyalty and respect are unwritten rules in this business, and companies can capitalize on this code if used correctly. Many who have been in this business for years feel resentment towards big money coming into their wheelhouse. With mutual respect and admiration for what each side brings to create a team, there is no stopping success.
Not all black market candidates will be able to conform to standardized work environments. It’s a struggle for us to even get resumes from some of these people! However, once you find the good ones, you are golden. We at Cannabis Staffing Group vet our candidates before being presented to clients. This entails interviewing for knowledge of the plant in addition to the traditional hiring questions: why someone is on the job market, are they open to relocating, will they take a counteroffer at their current employer, start date, and all the other criteria when hiring. If these responses don’t align with our clients’ goals, then that candidate isn’t presented. If the client’s environment isn’t a fit with the candidate’s skills and preferred work environment, then that candidate isn’t presented. A staffing firm that understands their clients’ culture and is able to match it to the work ethic and skills of an employee is very successful and worth the investment business make.
Experienced black market employees have more to teach than a text book. There are great candidates in all industries, and utilizing a staffing agency allows the good ones to be presented first before a competitor scoops them up!