As more states legalize medicinal and recreational use of marijuana, we continue to see a surge in hiring for jobs in cannabis. This comes at no surprise, but how do you hire tens if not hundreds of employees in a crunch in the competitive and extremely difficult to hire job market? Sure, you can host on-site hiring expos with on the spot interviews and job offers to follow, but your candidate pool will quickly dry up and attrition with those types of hires can be detrimental to onboarding and HR teams. Job boards are a great way to attract candidates but looking through hundreds of resumes to email and cold call candidates takes an enormous effort, not to mention the logistics of scheduling interviews and actually conducting interviews to finally make a hire. It’s exhausting, but you’re not alone.

Using a staffing partner to aide you in your hiring projects is a great way to alleviate growing pains but can come at a high cost. Traditionally, staffing agencies charge a percentage of the candidate’s salary as a fee for their service, or a markup on top of the employee wages if hiring on as contractors. Although these methods have their benefits, fees add up quickly and can be costly if you begin experiencing turnover.

Insert: recruitment process outsourced (RPO). RPO services can be a way to find the happy medium between alleviating the growing pains without breaking the bank. RPO solutions are designed unique to each hiring project and have a customized workflow specific to your operations. The RPO allows you to outsources the recruitment lifecycle of candidate sourcing, screening, job offers, negotiations, interview logistics, compliance, and other duties outline in the project scope. There are several models and we’ll break down three options we find most cost effective.

  • Flat fee model: The flat fee RPO is best for companies looking to hire in high volume over a set duration of time. The staffing partner dedicates a recruiter or team of recruiters to fill all of your positions for a flat monthly fee. This is efficient when you’re hiring for multiple skill sets, geographical locations and multiple skill levels across your organization. The lower level positions are filled in scale and the higher-level openings get the same attention a traditional search would get at a fixed cost.


  • Success fee model: The success fee RPO is great for companies looking to hire high volume of a specific skill set or specific skill level. For example, if you need to hire 100 retail associates to staff new dispensary locations, a flat fee can be charged for each candidate upon successful hire. These success fees are typically significantly lower than a traditional percentage fee basis, and you can control costs by considering the number of hires. This model also allows flexibility to turn the RPO on and off with the demands of your business without acquiring unnecessary fixed costs.


  • Hybrid RPO: A hybrid RPO is ideal for companies that are expecting to hire in scale across a determined period of time and are expecting to have turnover or a steady flow of openings after the explosive push to hire. The fee model is by nature of the name, a hybrid of both the flat fee and success fee model. Typically, the flat fee will be less significant than a flat fee RPO, because there will also be a success fee on each hire made. These engagements are great for those company who are hiring numerous employees of a similar skill set (the flat fee approach) and expecting more technical or niche hires along the way (success fee). The flat fee is set to cover the staffing partner’s costs of the recruiter(s) and the success fees kick into effect for requisitions outside the flat fee hiring scope.


As you prepare for your next hiring push, keep in mind the time and expenses required to handle the task internally and compare those costs to an RPO quote from a trusted staffing partner. It’s great to outsource large projects to professionals and you may end up being the hero for pitching the idea to your boss.



Tyler Cook, Business Partner at High Bluff Group 

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