Culture

HempStaff Connecting Work to Workers in the Cannabis Industry

Nicholas Demski
Written by Nicholas Demski

How one company is bringing fresh talent into an industry that’s expanding at massive levels.

Don’t you love that first day of spring? Not according to the calendar; the real first day of spring. The one where the buds pop open on the trees and green begins to decorate the blue skyline.

The first day of spring has passed in cannabis. Canada has legalized, California the same, and Europe is on the move. This is just the beginning, the spring of the legalized cannabis industry around the world.

That’s why the folks at HempStaff decided to help businesses recruit talent to the industry. However, they not only recruit new talent, they also train people for these cannabis jobs that so desperately need a well-prepared staffing base.

We had a chance to speak with James Yagielo, the CEO of HempStaff. Here’s what he had to say about how his company is recruiting, training, and improving the staffing situation in the cannabis industry.

T&T: Why did you start the HempStaff program?

James: I had been in recruiting for 15 years, and had been a cannabis advocate for even longer than that, since I was in college. I really wanted to get into the cannabis industry. So I just thought: why not do what I already know and just switch industries? I started going to and talking to people at different cannabis conventions, and I found out there was a need for recruitment and staffing in the industry. And in April of 2014, five years ago next month, HempStaff was formed.

T&T: What would you say to people who would advise against cannabis as a career choice?

James: There certainly are some risks, because it is federally illegal. However, the industry has gotten so big.We do believe at this point, especially the medical industry, that it is not going anywhere. The federal government doesn’t like to take medicine away from people. So while we do understand the risks, we don’t think the federal government is going to be doing anything about the cannabis industry.

T&T: Where do you see cannabis jobs going in 10 years?

James: The last numbers I saw, we were over 200,000 jobs in the cannabis industry. It’s well predicted to be over 1,000,000 jobs once every state is medical, and even more than that once every state’s recreational. And that’s not even counting the ancillary businesses.

T&T: In light of it becoming more of a mainstream industry, what do you view as the key aspect of the training program you’ve created?

James: Our key aspect is knowledge. So, in the class, we teach you about the cannabinoids, the terpenes, the regulation, how they interact with patients and everything that you should know on your first day working in a dispensary and helping medical cannabis patients.

T&T: What would you recommend to someone who’s just found a new cannabis job on the internet?

James: First, I would do some research on that company. Unfortunately, it is still an industry thathas some unlicensed businesses out there, especially depending on what state you’re in. We see that a lot in states like California and Michigan.  We get calls constantly from people saying, “Hey, I saw this job on Indeed.com and something just doesn’t look right, and now they want me to pay them $250 to get my card to work there before I start.” If they are going to take money, it’s going to come out of your paycheck. They aren’t going to ask you to pay that money [up front].

T&T: What impact do you think it would have on the job market if cannabis was suddenly federally legalized?

James: That would have a huge impact because there are still a lot of people out there that are too skeptical to switch careers. So, there’s a lot of talented employees that the industry isn’t tapped into yet because it’s federally illegal.

T&T: You have an affiliate program, what’s that about?

James: Our affiliate program basically helps other ancillary cannabis businesses out there. Basically, the business refers a potential employee to us, and for every management position we place, we pay them $1000. For every non-manager position, we pay them $500 as a finder’s fee. So, we give [ancillary cannabis businesses]an option to have a reliable partner to refer them to, that they know will take care of them and it would be a good referral, and to make a little extra cash.

T&T: Are there any other pitfalls that you would advise potential job candidates of when entering this field?

James: In this industry, there are long hours. So, if you’re looking for just a quick 40-hour a week job, the cannabis industry probably isn’t for you. There’s a lot of ebbs and flows in the cannabis industry. So, you may be working 40 hours a week in August when it’s kind of slow. But when you’re ramping up in April or the holiday season, or whatever, you could definitely be expected to work 50 to 60 hours a week. So, that’s the one thing I think that some people don’t expect when they get into this industry. It’s not just a 40-hour workweek.

Question: If someone can overlook that, and is willing to work those long hours during those times, how would they get a hold of you?

James: Yeah, absolutely. They can go to our website. They can register on our website and upload their resume. That puts it in front of our recruiters. We search our database first when we get an open job. You can also find us on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

Let’s hope, for the sake of the industry and of ourselves, that HempStaff’s work becomes more necessary. Their success will likely mean a flourishing industry around them from which we can all benefit.

If you’re interested in working in the cannabis industry, be a part of the rising tide and contact HempStaff today.

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Nicholas Demski

Nicholas Demski

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