Hiring Challenges

Overcoming Hiring Challenges in Cannabis with AI

by | Jun 26, 2024

Hiring Challenges

Written by Kristina Etter

Kristina is a digital content creator and designer. She has a talent for creating engaging and informative content that resonates with our professional audience. Kristina’s passion for the cannabis industry stems from her belief that it has the potential to revolutionize the world in many ways, and has a personal testimony of cannabis success.

In a world of labor scarcity, the struggle for employers to secure suitable talent casts a stark shadow, particularly in states where hiring challenges intersect with legal cannabis markets. 

A recent report from WalletHub reveals a striking revelation: six out of the top ten states grappling most with hiring difficulties are also legal cannabis states—Alaska, Colorado, Delaware, Maryland, Montana, and New Mexico. This confluence of legalized cannabis markets and hiring struggles prompts a deeper inquiry into the underlying dynamics at play.

Are hiring managers still dealing with biases and stigmas surrounding cannabis, even in jurisdictions where it is no longer considered a crime? With six states (or 25% of all legalized states) in the top ten grappling with hiring challenges, we delve into the root causes of these struggles. 

I reached out to several leaders in the cannabis industry who are actively hiring new employees to learn about the challenges they face and to gauge their perspectives on hiring in a gray industry. I also spoke with the leadership team at jobworX.ai, led by Allan Rothstein, to gain insights into how AI technology and machine learning can assist with cannabis employment.

Learn more about the jobworX Hiring Management Dashboard.

The Quest to Find and Keep Talent

Cannabis hiring presents unique challenges and opportunities in a highly competitive market. Strategies to attract and retain talent can significantly influence organizational success both inside and outside the cannabis industry.

Allan Rothstein suggests, “Employers can attract and retain employees by offering competitive compensation, opportunities for growth and development, and a positive workplace culture.” However, in a gray, federally illegal industry, finding top-tier talent comes with a whole new set of challenges. 

Marc Rodriguez of Green Leaf Business Solutions highlighted generational differences, stating, “With director level and above, it’s a different world. There are different concerns at that level. Whereas General Manager and below, there’s not the same concerns.” He added, “The younger demographic (under the age of 26) has grown up with the cannabis industry, so there’s a lot less hesitation.”

Andrew Wells of Sorting Robotics stated, “It’s a lot harder for us to recruit for technical roles because we are typically recruiting from outside the industry. So from that standpoint, trying to find a top-notch aerospace engineer who also happens to love and enjoy cannabis is a difficult task most times.”

Hiring Challenges

Wells emphasized the importance of a positive workplace culture, noting, “We have historically pretty low turnover, I think, compared to the rest of the larger industry because we are focused really heavily on cultural fit.” 

“I think there’s also an element of community and environmentalism that’s really important to all of us here. When it comes to our people, we do our very best to listen and respond to their needs., Jim Chanpong, VP of Talent Acquisition at Kiva Confections, stated.

On the other hand, Jim also, pointed out the challenges of managing a high volume of candidates. He stated, “We look at every resume that comes in. We don’t use keywords or automation to filter out candidates. Every submission gets seen–that’s really important to us.” 

This approach can become troublesome, as illustrated by DaySavers, a cannabis accessory company that recently publicized a role for a content creator and received over 35,000 applicants. Without technology, sorting through that many potential candidates becomes nearly impossible.

Economic Implications of Hiring Challenges

With an unemployment rate below 4% in the United States, finding top-rated talent can be daunting. Hiring processes are a keystone to any business’s success. 

Rothstein noted, “Struggles in filling employment positions, especially in fast-growing sectors like cannabis, can lead to operational inefficiencies, hindered growth, and lost revenue opportunities.” 

For the cannabis industry, which is at a critical juncture of expansion and legitimization, the inability to attract and retain talent could slow down innovation and the adoption of technologies that drive efficiency and compliance.

The economic implications of these hiring challenges extend far beyond individual businesses, affecting broader societal trends. As labor shortages persist and wages rise, businesses must balance meeting operational needs and maintaining financial viability. 

As the industry anticipates the reclassification of cannabis, the tide may be turning. Rodriguez believes rescheduling cannabis will have a profoundly positive impact on hiring in the industry. “I think you’re going to see a flood of capital come into the cannabis industry, and I think that there’s going to be endless opportunity,” he said. 

Already seeing a shift in applicants, Jim at Kiva stated, “With just the changing tide of cannabis, we’re seeing a lot more folks from more conventional industries that are applying and filling our requisitions.”

Andrew at Sorting Robotics mentioned that rescheduling cannabis to Schedule III could help with hiring, as it may attract more investors once the “financial side” of the industry changes, potentially leading to more job opportunities.

Using the Right Tools for the Task

Just as a mechanic needs the right tools to fix a car, hiring managers need certain tools to help them make better hiring decisions. Understanding personality traits and workplace dynamics is paramount to hiring the right people. Leveraging technology and psychology to decipher what traits align best with specific roles can significantly enhance the hiring process.

jobworX.ai, a cutting-edge hiring platform, is poised to revolutionize the hiring process. Harnessing the power of advanced technology and psychological insights, it offers a new approach to talent acquisition. Specifically, jobworX.ai uses AI to numerically score candidates for skills, experience, and retention so that an employer can sort candidates by best match for any particular job.

Rothstein explained, “jobworX.ai leverages predictive analytics and AI to match candidates with cannabis industry roles where they’re most likely to succeed, addressing the challenge of talent acquisition head-on. By analyzing vast amounts of data, jobworX.ai can identify candidates with the right mix of skills, personality, and potential for growth, even if they come from outside the traditional talent pool.”

Hiring Challenges

Unlike conventional hiring methods that rely solely on resumes and interviews, jobworX.ai’s Personality Assessment uncovers nuanced insights into candidates’ workplace personas. By analyzing traits such as teamwork, leadership, creativity, and interpersonal dynamics, the platform provides hiring managers with a comprehensive and visual understanding of each candidate’s suitability for a given role. 

Yet, their platform doesn’t leave traditional methods in the past. Employers can create pre-qualifying questions and view video-recorded interview questions for each candidate to ensure that the data matches the personality. Meanwhile, candidates can share their resumes anywhere with a simple QR code or link – including videos that help them give their best first impression.

Their technology-centered approach helps mitigate the challenges outlined in WalletHub’s report, empowering employers to overcome labor scarcity and foster organizational success by streamlining the hiring process and facilitating more precise candidate matches.

The Time is Now

Although reclassifying cannabis will eventually change the environment for hiring managers in cannabis, the struggle to secure talent in the meantime still casts a stark shadow, particularly in states where hiring challenges loom and in gray industries like cannabis. 

“I’m confident that hiring is going to continue to evolve. We are seeing candidates now coming through our doors that we couldn’t touch a couple of years ago; that’s great. I’m anxious to see more of that window open up as well,” Jim Chanpong elated.

Rothstein predicted, “Given the rapid pace of technological change and the evolving regulatory landscape of the cannabis industry, it’s likely that the imbalance in the labor market will persist through 2024.”

Innovative solutions like jobworX.ai offer a transformative approach to finding and hiring talent. By using cutting-edge technology, jobworX.ai provides a comprehensive understanding of candidates’ suitability for specific roles beyond traditional hiring metrics, facilitating more precise candidate matches and ultimately helping the cannabis industry thrive amidst its hiring challenges.