One of our most popular posts has been about how to secure a job in cannabis. We interviewed recruiters with Viridian Staffing about this very topic a few months ago, and it continues to be a hot subject among both proprietors setting up their canna-businesses and those seeking work in this exciting new field.

As a service to help these business owners get properly set up, Viridian hosted the first of a series of free staffing seminars this week. Held in Seattle, with plans to hopefully expand around the state, the recruiters and an HR specialist walked about 20 or 30 business owners through how to interview and select candidates, and manage their employees once hired. Many of the business owners in the room had just secured their space, or were still looking for real estate, so they hadn’t even started hiring yet, telling us that this is the right time to get into this business if you’re the right kind of candidate.

Here are a few things to keep in mind for the canna-business owner and the prospective candidate:

If you’re looking to work in cannabis…

1. Remember: These are real jobs that require the same level of professionalism any other job would. That means showing up on time, respecting rules and regulations, and the company’s culture. If you have any dreams of working a la Dave Chappelle style in “Half Baked,” ditch them now. You will be working. Hard.

2. Speaking of the company’s culture, the No. 1 thing Viridian HR consultant and presenter Carole Richter said determined your hire? If you fit the company’s culture. Know the companies you apply for and try to find the best match for you. “One company does yoga every day at lunch,” Carole said. “So if you don’t dig yoga, perhaps this wouldn’t be the best fit for you.”

3. Put your cannabis experience on your resume…

4. But keep it professional. You might use cannabis for medical reasons, but there’s no need to go into this in your initial interviews. They just want to talk about your professional experience, skills and what you can potentially bring to their organization, not go through your medical chart. A good rule of thumb: Don’t say anything personal that you wouldn’t disclose in a non-cannabis industry interview.

5. If you’ve thought about learning how to become a grower, now’s the time. Intern, shadow, apprentice with a master grower, but these top spots are sometimes receiving dueling offers from potential employers.

If you’re an employer seeking good candidates…

1. The wrong hire is costly. Not only does turnover cost a lot of money, but the wrong person costs you in production and could possibly impact other empl0yees. Take your time and be sure to find the right fit for the long haul, not the short-term fix.

2. Expect to whittle down your serious candidates to a four-to-one ratio for one hire. That means, you’ll probably be interviewing at least four people in person for each job before you find the right one.

3. Be sure to treat all your candidates with the utmost respect even if you do not hire them. They are potential customers and bad word-of-mouth spreads fast in this burgeoning industry.

4. Plan to do at least two phone interviews before bringing someone in to interview in person. Use Skype or Google hangouts to do the second one.

5. Keep it professional. Check with a professional HR consultant or online to know what you can and can’t ask.

6. Once you have your great candidate hired, remember that retention for them and your existing employees should be a top priority: praise them often for a job well done, offer unique benefits if you can, and make your culture a friendly, positive experience with s0lid performance goals that are realistic and attainable.

7. Be a great communicator. Early, often, always.

Looking for a job or a candidate? You can find them at Viridian Staffing.

I am a writer who enjoys smoking, drinking, semi-tolerable fraternizing and street hockey. My interests include vans, 10 a.m. tallboys, tall boys, making fires, Guns N' Roses (the Slash years), dogs of many sizes and napping. My first joint was most likely at an Aerosmith concert in Omaha. Life has improved considerably since then.

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