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Hiring a Budtender? Remember to Ask These 8 Questions

November 10, 2017

Dispensary employees are the backbone of your cannabis business and can ultimately determine its success. Hiring a responsible, service oriented budtender can be challenging but there are ways to weed out the good from the bad.

Trust is paramount when looking to bring new staff onboard and taking the time to perform a thorough interview will provide valuable insight into each applicant. Budtending involves so much more than just selling flower. As a dispensary owner you want to listen for specific keywords and practices during the hiring process.

We’ve compiled a list of some key questions to ask potential dispensary staff members in an interview setting. These will help determine their knowledge of the industry, customer service skills, and how they can benefit your cannabis business.

1. Do you have previous budtending experience?

Previous budtending experience means they have a good grasp on the daily operations of a dispensary and at least a basic knowledge of the products. Hopefully this will also imply that less training will be required to get them up to speed, saving business owners time and money.

2. Can you provide previous employer references?

While experience is certainly a prerequisite when hiring a new budtender, be sure to ask about past employer references. Once you’ve decided on a shortlist of qualified applicants, contacting their references will provide a better understanding of why they left or were fired from their previous position. Verifying a potential employee’s work history could save you from hiring someone who could jeopardize your business.

3. How would you describe the differences between Indica and Sativa?

This question is designed to test the interviewee on their knowledge of marijuana. Demonstrating an ability to explain the differences in depth, will be a strong indicator of their cannabis IQ and how well they can articulate product descriptions.

4. What’s the most important thing to remember when serving a customer?

Any number of answers will suffice for this interview question. Whether it’s listening to the customer, practicing patience or an efficient check-out, you’ll learn something about how applicants operate. Gathering a sense of each individual's personality is important when understanding their sales style and if they exude that certain charisma that customers appreciate.

5. How would you handle a rude customer?

Occasionally tense situations do occur on the sales floor of a marijuana dispensary and you’ll want to know how a potential budtender will react. Asking this question will reveal a lot about how they work under pressure and if they can take command of a situation. Handling rude customers requires a delicate balance of diplomacy and restraint. However, if a customer becomes confrontational using a calm but assertive demeanor could prevent a situation from escalating. Knowing when to involve security will determine the outcome of a potentially dangerous situation.

6. Are you familiar with dispensary POS systems?

Any budtender with previous experience should have some level of familiarity with a POS system, if not this should serve as a red flag. Further inquiry into the brand and functionality of the system will reveal how far their marijuana POS knowledge extends. Applicants who demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of a dispensary POS system will save countless hours of training.

7. How would you respond to witnessing theft by a fellow employee?

Assessing someone’s ethical compass might be difficult in an interview however this question should be posed to all applicants. How the potential budtender responds should help owners evaluate who genuinely cares about the success of the business. Cannabis business managers and owners should establish a reporting protocol to encourage witnesses to step forward in the event of product theft.

8. What would you change about this cannabis dispensary?

Holding interviews for a budtender position will attract a large pool of applicants who have previously worked in dispensaries. Asking this question is a chance to possibly learn how your own operation can improve. Candidates who offer solutions rather than criticisms will likely be great problem solvers and outstanding employees.

Unfortunately, many dispensaries suffer a high turnover rate in staff. If you’re able to hire quality budtenders who have a passion for the industry and a way with customers, you business will enjoy sustained success for year to come.