If you expect your dispensary or delivery to thrive in your local market, you need a competitive advantage. One way to distinguish yourself and enhance your dispensary loyalty efforts is to focus on your front-line workers. By hiring and training the best budtenders in your region, you will establish a positive reputation in the local cannabis community.
In other articles, we will explore how to effectively train and retain employees, but in this article, we want to provide advice for the very first step: hiring great budtenders. Some dispensaries are getting creative with budtender titles, calling them wellness advisors or experience consultants, but the duties are typically the same. These staff members are the face of your dispensary, interacting with patients and customers and advising them on the best products for their specific needs.
What Should You Look For?
From conversations with our top dispensary clients, it’s clear that cannabis knowledge or industry experience should not be the primary factor you consider when hiring a budtender. Yes, you should ask questions like, “What is the difference between terpenes and cannabinoids?” or “What can you tell me about the various categories of cannabis concentrates?” However, if you hire an eager employee who is willing to learn, she can quickly get up to speed on cannabis knowledge.
Instead, you should hire based on personality attributes and fit into the company culture. In this article, we’ve assembled a list of traits to seek and questions you can use when interviewing potential budtenders. If you take your time to find the right fit, you can find the gems who know how to sell effectively and create a positive, welcoming environment. When you hire the right people to represent your business, you can reduce pricy dispensary marketing expenditures because word-of-mouth marketing will propel your growth.
Personality Traits & Interview Questions
Work ethic - Not taking shortcuts. Great budtenders have the grit it takes to deliver top notch service throughout their entire shift. They do what it takes to ensure customers are satisfied.
When things are slow at work or you’ve finished your tasks, what do you do?
Give an example of when you completed a difficult task that made you work harder than normal.
Positivity – Staying cheery and using positive language. Let’s say a budtender is describing two different edibles to a customer. When comparing the products, the ideal budtender will highlight the positive qualities of each product rather than bringing up the downsides. Ask a question that they could answer negatively to see if the applicant can focus on the positive instead.
Tell me about your 2 most recent employers. Which position was the most difficult?
What is the most challenging type of customer in your opinion?
Problem-solving Mindset – Naturally desire to solve problems. Budtenders with this mindset will approach their daily tasks like a puzzle. They are the ones that solve customer issues as soon as they arise and constantly look around for ways to optimize operations.
Do you have any ideas for how customer experience at dispensaries can be improved?
Can you provide an example of a time you optimized operations at a previous job?
Patience – Taking the time to meet customers where they are. Some populations will need a great deal of handholding to complete a transaction, so you want a budtender who is willing to slow down and figure out exactly what each customer wants or needs.
Occasionally, we get an entitled “Karen” customer who requires a lot of patience to deal with. How would you handle this type of customer?
Intuition – Understanding what customers really mean. An intuitive budtender will understand a customer’s needs based on what they do and do not say. Ask a question to see how perceptive the applicant is about other people or the atmosphere.
Based on what you’ve seen in our store, what are some words you would use to describe the atmosphere or the people who work here?
Love of Learning – Eagerness to stay educated. Cannabis science can change relatively quickly, and dispensary operations (e.g. which POS you use) undergo frequent overhauls. That’s why it’s important to have employees who are willing to learn and stay up to date.
What is something new you’ve recently learned about cannabis that you feel is valuable information?
Can you tell me about one of your hobbies or interests? How do you learn more about the topic?
Theory of Mind – Understanding another person’s perspective. Budtenders must understand that everyone is different. They must be able to adjust their approach based on a customer’s experience with cannabis, age, medical conditions, or lifestyle.
Let’s say a cannabis novice asks you for recommendations on how to start trying edibles. What would you tell them?
Calm Under Pressure – Staying calm and collected during stressful times. Everyone knows that dispensaries have rush hours where it’s important to deliver excellent service while processing customers efficiently. At other times, customers may become rude or problematic, and budtenders must react in a cool, effective manner.
Give me an example of a time in the past year when you had a deadline and found yourself stressed. How did you make it through?
If a customer started acting rudely during a transaction, how would you handle them?
Closing the sale – Skillfully guiding customers to make a purchase. Budtenders must be able to provide superb customer service and advice while still navigating toward a purchase. To do this effectively requires confidence, poise, and conversation skills.
If you noticed that a customer was taking a long time and not committing to a purchase, what would you do?
Persistence – Pushing for their goals. Ideally, you want to work with someone who has drive to achieve whatever they commit to. You can sometimes learn about this attribute by determining how committed they are to pursuing this job position.
Do you have questions for me?