News and Best Practices

Hiring the Best Budtenders: What to Look For

January 9, 2017

The right budtenders are indispensable to any cannabis shop. Since they’re on the front lines, budtenders are the most critical employees for the success of your business. It’s important to know how to hire the most qualified.

You should already know which personalities perform best at your dispensary. When hiring a new budtender, what specific qualities should you look for, and which ones should you avoid? Here are only a few of them.

The essential qualities

Informed: Your budtenders should know a lot about cannabis, although they don’t need to know all the little details (these can be taught while on the job). But be sure they’re trained on all products before they meet with customers.

Budtenders must also be familiar with local cannabis laws. They don’t need to be apprentice attorneys, but they need to know how to work within the regulations. Mistakes can cost the business plenty in fines and other penalties.

There are basic but crucial skills to have, as well; for example, how to weigh cannabis by the gram and what the common weights are sold. In states with seed-to-sale tracking, discrepancies in recorded weights can lead to an expensive audit.

Experienced: Anyone with an extensive history working in the industry is an ideal candidate. But also consider that other experience can be valuable. Bartenders, for example, understand how to serve their customers while adhering to strict business regulations. Also, anyone who’s worked behind a cash register or in the food service industry might succeed as a budtender. Just make sure they’ve had a lot of positive interaction with customers at their previous jobs.

Punctual: You need a budtender who always comes to work on time. The easiest way to test this out is to see when they show up at the scheduled interview. Past job experiences may also give hints as to their punctuality, especially when working for an extended period at a department store or in the restaurant industry (often requiring them to work alone or in different shifts).

Discreet: It’s important that your budtenders be trusted with medical information. Those who gossip or share too much information about others during the interview signal an inability to maintain confidentiality.

Friendly: Budtenders need to be both charming and persuasive to convince your patients and customers to not only purchase products at your dispensary, but to also return business in the future. But the job interview may not always be the best way to gauge how personable your potential new hire may actually be. It helps also to observe their other interactions outside of the interview. Did they try to strike up conversation with others while waiting? How did they respond when they were greeted?

Warning signs

On the other hand, there are a few red flags to be aware of when interviewing budtenders.

Thieves: Perhaps no behavior is as destructive as theft. Besides potentially compromising the business by illegally distributing licensed product, theft deprives patients of their medicine. The standard background check may let you know if a potential hire has a history of theft, but not always. But sometimes, word of mouth may tell you more.

Big egos: Having a knowledgeable budtender is a good thing, but having one with a big ego is not. They may or may not actually “know it all,” but they may be confrontational with customers and co-workers about products or business practices. This can diminish morale and create a hostile work environment. Such applicants will usually tip themselves off by their comments during the job interview. Pay attention to those who love to spout cannabis trivia or suggest ways to improve your business (especially when you never asked for their advice).

By Randy Robinson
Dispensary Management Today articles are for informational purposes only and should not be considered legal guidance or advice on dispensary operations. You should contact an attorney or a qualified cannabis consultant for specific compliance and dispensary/retailing advice.
© 2017 CAN Performance Group, LLC. All rights reserved.
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