5 Common Pitfalls of Hiring in the Cannabis Industry

Interviewing to fill medical cannabis job roles can be tough, especially since we are creating industry standards and processes as we operate. We are “building a plane while flying it” as we create this industry together.

A thorough selection process can weed in or out the right talent and help companies to avoid common hiring pitfalls. The most talented recruiters and hiring managers know that strong screening processes can lead to better new hire outcomes, including productivity and retention, saving a company thousands each year. Those who do not develop a hiring process often end up treading on thin ice with hires that don’t pan out, aren’t productive and don’t retain. Some hiring managers even unwittingly put the company in jeopardy by not taking the time to simply prepare and understand some of the basics prior to interviewing applicants.

Here are 5 things to watch out for with some solutions for improvement!

#1 Asking or requiring that applicants have a medical cannabis card (patient card) to work

Asking an applicant if they “have their medical cannabis card” or if they are “in the program” is unfortunately, a very common practice in the medical cannabis industry and is illegal per the Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA)(1). According to the ADA, it is unlawful for an employer to discriminate against a qualified applicant or employee with a disability or to ask them to produce medical records, which in this case, asking for an applicant’s medical cannabis card is another way of asking for a medical record or qualifying condition status update. Side note, The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) enforces the employment provisions of the ADA.

We at Cannabis NM Staffing believe that this has been done due to the lack of training available in the field for managers and entry level employees. Hiring managers seem to be grasping at straws to hire trained, educated people with the skill sets necessary for their jobs so they’ve turned to asking people for their card as a requirement, and have actually created a very risky way to hire new talent!

Compliance trained talent!

If trained and qualified employees is what you are after, Cannabis NM Staffing teaches a series on the New Mexico Medical Cannabis Program, including Lynn and Erin Compassionate Use Act in Detail compliance, Ethics, Safety and Security, HIPAA, Food Handler’s Safety, and Research and developments for those companies wishing to offer standard compliance training to their employees and new hires.

#2 Hiring family or friends… aka nepotism

Another common pitfall and outdated practice is that of hiring relatives for major company or even entry level roles. Many small businesses get into a rut of hiring the “easy way” or “hiring trusted people” by hiring spouses, a brother’s kid, or a neighbor. Hiring by “nepotism” is more often than not a tragedy for most companies with the lines between appropriate and inappropriate are often blurred. Once a company starts to hire outside-of-the-family-applicants, and the dynamics begin to shift, things can start to get pretty hairy for all involved, causing a shift of focus from best patient outcomes to in house family drama clean-up. In smaller communities, patient customers and valuable staff members are eventually the ones to suffer such desperate hiring tactics.

#3 Hiring someone to fill a stereotype at the company

How do you fill a position to make sure that a demographic, market or company culture is spoken to?

At Cannabis NM Staffing we have ways to categorize our applicants from the moment they apply so that we can easily find and contact them to help with any job. It all starts with the job application and resume; from there we filter out the details that define each person’s search.

The data at a company taking in applicants or customer information can be managed so that when a need to fill a role comes up, the hiring manager can simply go to the Applicant tracking system (ATS), or Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tool and select professionals who’ve applied based on territory, education, skill-set, experience, availability, and credentials. Searching for people to fill specific roles and markets becomes more streamlined with systems in place, yielding the talent that we wish to consider to fit the company culture and role.

#4 Not knowing how much it costs the company to hire

With so much going on, we forget to look at how much in time and money it is costing us to hire new talent. Businesses with high turnover suffer the most, as each time we hire someone new a large cost is associated with that process and effort. So, how much does it cost to hire a new employee? According to the National American Standard for Human Resource Management (2), organizations can measure the economic value of the effort taken to fill an open position by using this simple Cost per hire (CPH) formula:

CPH = ∑ (External Costs) + ∑ (Internal Costs)


Total Number of Hires in a Time Period

The Cost per Hire Standard is a metric designed to measure the costs associated with the sourcing, recruiting and staffing activities borne by an employer to fill an open position in the organization. CPH is a ratio of the total dollars expended (in both external and internal costs) to the total number of hires in a specified time period.

The most successful hiring managers are aware of the cost of hiring a new staff member and have scheduled check-in points to track the new hires ability to fulfill the job and retain on behalf of the company.

#5 Not having a clearly defined selection process

One of the biggest downfalls of an organization can be to not have a clear cut selection process. The selection process refers to the steps taken to qualify someone for a new role or to be hired. It is the outline of the tasks, meetings and follow- up that the hiring managers or recruiters will accomplish with each candidate they meet. It takes years to build and develop the right hiring system for a company. Here is a basic outline of a selection process:

  • Criteria and Requirements Overview

  • Marketing Campaign & Listing

  • Pipeline Management

  • Interviewing

  • Selecting and Redirecting Candidates

  • Making an Offer

  • Prescreening and On-boarding

The hiring process can be challenging! With the rules and regulations constantly changing in the Medical and Recreational Cannabis marketplace, creating systems, gaining more knowledge and becoming more organized around hiring practices can prove to not only save time and money but to help a small start-up move the needle to greatness through human resources! To be efficient, understanding the laws and outlines of practical hiring is key. At Cannabis NM Staffing we have an established methodology for verifying and credentialing candidates for the industry through a 5-star selection process. When we combine these 5-star candidates with our ability to audit a company's requirements and cultural needs, we proudly find a higher rate of long-term, invested employees for businesses looking to hire.

If you’d like to learn more about the cost of your hiring process or have any other staffing questions, please reach out! We’d love to help.

#newmexicocannabis #hiringpractices #recruiting #hiringforcannabis #bestpracticesformedicalcannabisstaffing

86 views2 comments