Hiring in the Cannabis Industry: 10 Essential Interview Questions


The cannabis industry is growing like a weed (pun intended).

With the explosive growth of this nascent marketplace comes the challenge of attracting and selecting leaders who may not align with the needs and challenges the cannabis industry represents. With decades of experience under our belt, the Y Scouts team knows the value of preparing for and executing a great interview.

The interview is often your first in-depth conversation with the candidate and a solid indicator as to the likelihood of continued conversations. But, how do you make sure you structure the interview in a way that gets to the critical facts as to how the candidate truly feels about a controversial industry like cannabis?

Read below for a handful of interview questions that have helped our clients in the cannabis industry get the heart of what matters, both for the company and the candidate.

1. Tell me what we do in your own words.

This question will allow you to see if your candidate has a true understanding of your business. Maybe you started it for a specific reason, maybe they have a back story to what they feel your company has done. We’ve noticed that the best candidates will usually put a lot of research into your company beforehand and it will show.

2. What are your goals?

We like to hear about people’s goals, especially personal ones. We find that it helps us create a better picture of the candidate, and how they will mesh with other employees. We also feel that people with goals make better, more motivated, employees.

3. Do you understand the policy on cannabis products?

Government policy around cannabis is a complicated beast, and being able to understand it’s intricacies is paramount to a successful employee. We also really love when candidates are already involved with changing government policy. To us, it signifies that they care, and they have a deep understanding of how the industry works.

4. How averse to sudden change are you?

Keeping with question #3, the government policy is complicated, and it can often change very quickly. Anyone who likes to know exactly how things are supposed to be done on any given day and cannot handle policy change is not going to be the right fit for your company.

5. If you could change one thing about how we operate tomorrow, what would it be?

We like this question because it gives you an idea of how much research a candidate has done into your company. It shows how much they care about getting this new job and shows how far into the future they’ve thought about the position. A great candidate will have a well thought out answer to this question.

6. Ask questions that would determine if this candidate would fit into your company culture.

Culture is everything to us at Y Scouts. You spend forty or so hours at your workplace a week, and we firmly believe that the people there should all mesh into your company culture. Someone who won’t fit into your company culture will not stay at your company for the long term, and while they are there they might ruin the culture for everyone else.

7. Do you understand how our business operates?

The cannabis industry can be a bit complicated to people who aren’t already in the thick of things. We like to see that candidates have taken a good look at your structure, and structures of similar companies, to get the best idea of how things function. They won’t know every detail, but having some knowledge is a great thing to note.

8. What is the biggest challenge you think you will face in this position?

From the changing policy to the massive growth the industry is heading towards, working in the cannabis industry can be hard. We like to see candidates who have thought this out and made peace with the fact that this job can be difficult.

9. What specific mental, physical, emotional and/or spiritual activities do you engage in to keep yourself operating at your optimum level?

Jobs that are constantly evolving and throwing new things at you can be very high stress, and jobs in the cannabis industry fall under this umbrella. Candidates that have great coping mechanisms for high-stress situations are always preferred to ones who may not be equipped to roll with the punches.

10. How will your prior experience help us grow as a company?

Hiring in the cannabis industry often means hiring from other fields. Having applicable experience to apply to a company is always preferred.

Do you have any other favorite cannabis interview questions? We’d love to hear them, contact us below!

Y Scouts is a purpose-based, performance-proven leadership search and development firm focused on transforming how people and organizations connect to work that matters. When you’re ready to hire a new leader, Contact Y Scouts. If you are looking for your next leadership role within a purpose-driven, performance-focused organization, please join the Y Scouts Leadership Community.

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