We’ve been recruiting in the Cannabis space for the past several months and noticed that there is an overwhelming interest to get into the Cannabis industry. “Spending on legal cannabis worldwide is expected to hit $57 billion by 2027” (Thomas Pellechia, Forbes). The impressive industry growth brings new opportunities and plenty of upward mobility potential for job seekers. It’s also no secret that employees who are currently working in full-time jobs are keeping an eye out for other opportunities – SIA reports that: “The number of quits in July edged up to a series high of 3.6 million. The quits rate, part of total separations, was 2.4%” (SIA, September 11, 2019). If you currently work in a Human Resources department or are a decision maker within your company, these numbers should surprise you. You might even take an analytical approach and try to determine why candidates are voluntarily quitting their current positions at a higher rate than almost any other time in history. We’ve found that two of the main factors that lead employees to begin the job search (other than a bad manager, toxic environment or poor pay) is because of curiosity and the search for upward mobility potential. Many candidates are curious what it would be like to work in another industry, with different mindsets and SOPs and are willing to make the jump. Candidates are also looking for long term growth opportunities, where they can find a ‘home’ and contribute for many years. Many of those candidates will do whatever it takes to find those opportunities – and many of those opportunities happen to be in the Cannabis industry.

With all the interest to get into the Cannabis industry, who is actually qualified to make the jump?

High Bluff Group was most recently working on a Senior Sales Manager role with a well-known Cannabis company in the Los Angeles area. This position was posted on several different job boards, including two of the most well-known; LinkedIn and ZipRecruiter. Within 1.5 weeks, our applicant pool on LinkedIn reached 800+ applications. To put those numbers into perspective, for the same position that isn’t in the Cannabis industry, we’d typically see about 50-150 applicants. It’s always a great thing to have an overwhelming interest in a position because the recruiting/HR team has many applicants to choose from. When it comes to the Senior Sales Manager role within the Cannabis industry, the goal is to identify similar industry experience that can easily relate, because not very many candidates are going to have extensive Cannabis experience to begin with. We’ve found that candidates coming from the Consumer Packaging Goods, Pharmaceutical, & Manufacturing industries tend to be the best fit. Candidates that came from these industries were more likely to hit the ground running in the role, as many of the processes, regulations and SOPs are similar.

To give another example, we were recently working on a Sr. Analytical Chemist position with a company in the Glendale, CA area. We received an abundance of applications for the position, and specifically targeted those coming from the fast paced, Pharmaceutical industry. Candidates who came directly from Universities or educational institutions wouldn’t make the cut, due to the intensity and fast paced nature of the Cannabis industry. As a Recruiter, it’s very important to ask the following question during your intake call with the hiring manager: “if we cannot find anybody with extensive industry experience, what other industries are the most relatable for this particular position?”

It’s very important to determine relevant industry experience and target candidates that have the most potential to succeed in the Cannabis industry. With that said, there are many opportunities in many different departments with Cannabis companies and each position requires a particular skillset. Working with your hiring manager to determine relevant industry experience is a vital step to filling the position.


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