Hiring a cannabis retail manager is a critical move that can seriously impact the direction your business takes. A good manager not only frees up your time to focus on ways to grow your business, they can be counted on to make the same smart and swift decisions you would regarding day-to-day operations. Hiring the wrong manager, on the other hand, can cost your business. The team you build under you is crucial to your success, so hiring the right individuals is key.
We covered the 7 Mistakes to Avoid When Hiring Budtenders, and suggested 11 Budtender Interview Questions Dispensaries Should Ask, but even more important than the staff on your sales floor is the person managing them. In this blog we take a look at how you should address management style, conflict resolution, accountability, and taking the initiative during the interview process. We suggest how to size up your potential manager’s experience in and out of the industry, and their plan to impact your bottom line.
Here are 10 questions we suggest you integrate into your interview:
1. Why does a management position appeal to you?
It’s common knowledge that cannabis retail managers can earn great money (40 to 50k in recreational states with medical states reaching 100k), so make sure they want the job for other reasons too. Someone who wants to excel in the industry will give valid reasons aside from the fact that they will earn a great wage. Maybe they're planning to one day open their very own dispensary or want to implement an innovative budtender training program. We also recommend looking for someone with a passion for cannabis. But we think that's a given.
2. How do you handle conflict?
If you’re looking for someone to lead your budtender team, it’s best to find an individual who knows how to resolve issues before they escalate. Imagine that a customer starts to make a scene because you don’t have their favorite strain in stock. How would a manager navigate this type of scenario? Customer service is paramount in the cannabis industry, as the experience you provide directly relates to your success. Hiring a manager that embodies cannabis dispensary customer service best practices can help to throttle your shop to the forefront as an industry leader.
3. What would you do if you found out we were out of compliance?
As we all know, compliance is key in this industry. Regulations are always changing and evolving and can sometimes bring serious consequences if shops are found to be out of compliance. When the ability to literally keep your doors open relies on this area of your business, your management team needs to place a high emphasis on knowing the law and understanding what steps to take if you aren’t in line.
4. How would you describe your management style?
Though it’s a question that applies to nearly any field, it’s important to know if their personality and way of running things will enhance or detract from your operation’s vibe. If you market your shop as the laid-back spot for everyone to chill at, a drill sergeant type of cannabis retail manager won’t quite fit the bill.
5. If you didn’t think we had a good product selection, what would you do about it?
Think of your cannabis retail manager as your right-hand person, one who will work with you to ensure the success of your shop and an individual who keeps the best interests of the business in mind. Their previous industry experience might have exposed them to other products that you could benefit from selling, and if there’s a better way to do business you probably want to know about it. The answer to this question will show the candidate’s ability to think outside of the box with fresh and new ideas while communicating opportunities for improvement in a respectful manner.
6. How do you stay involved and up to date within the cannabis industry?
Managers obviously need to have a go-getter attitude, and one who goes above and beyond to continue their education and create industry contacts is a winner in our book. Discuss with them what organizations they’re involved in - both inside and separate from the cannabis world. Have they attended any industry events? If they’re taking the initiative to learn more about the industry before you even hire them, they’re demonstrating their commitment to personal and professional growth.
7. Tell me about your experience outside of the cannabis industry.
Individuals with retail or hospitality management experience often have the skill set needed to excel in a cannabis retail operation. Whether it’s waiting tables, helping a customer with a clothing return, or ensuring a guest is comfortable during their hotel stay, excellent customer service is a trait that cannabis retail managers must have down to a science. The foundational concepts of creating a fantastic buyer experience remain the same in most industries, so this outside experience can give you a clue into how well they might perform in your shop.
8. What kind of operational experience do you have within a cannabis retail setting?
Working as a cannabis retail manager means wearing a variety of hats, including purchasing, staff scheduling, inventory management, and handling vendor relations. Cannabis retail locations find that using technology to their advantage takes the guesswork out of many of these tasks, but hands-on experience must accompany this tech-savvy mindset. If your cannabis retail operation uses dispensary POS software to help with day to day tasks, your management team needs to be able to use it. If industry experience isn’t a prerequisite at your dispensary, make sure you have a cannabis retail software suite that’s easy for your manager to learn and use.
9. If you suspect fraud among employees, what would you do?
Any applicant who’s had cannabis industry experience or done their homework will know how serious fraud can be in this industry. It’s not just money out of your pocket, it’s potentially a regulatory infraction that could cost you your license and everybody their job. A manager might bring this suspicion to your attention immediately—or gather evidence first to make a clear case first. Either way, having that evidence is key to resolving any suspicions or discrepancies. Your perspective manager should be very curious about the tools and technology at their disposal. Does your dispensary use integrated security solutions that allow easy investigation of transactions? The ability search video footage by transaction time, type or employee makes their job easier and your store more secure.
10. You notice sales have slowed, how do you handle it?
Nobody is going to come out and say, “not my problem.” But struggling to answer this question, or any solution that ends with simply reporting the problem and assigning blame, certainly suggests that attitude. A good manager will not only want to get to the bottom of why, they’ll take the steps to help boost the bottom line. They’ll want to talk to the budtenders on the front-line, look at the sales analytics, and work with you and your marketing team to come up with ideas. They might even check out the competition and seek out benchmark data to see slow sales are a larger trend. They certainly won’t be afraid to ask questions. Great managers are curious. It’s a good sign when they take the opportunity in the interview to ask you some great ones.
Hiring the perfect manager for the job may seem like an intimidating task, but with the right questions, a little research, and due diligence you can find the best person to build and cannabis dispensary a-team and lead your staff to cannabis retail bliss.
To receive sure-fire tips, expert advice, and best practices from Cova, subscribe to our blog today.