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“Compassion hurts. When you feel connected to everything, you also feel responsible for everything. And you cannot turn away. Your destiny is bound with the destinies of others. You must either learn to carry the Universe or be crushed by it. You must grow strong enough to love the world, yet empty enough to sit down at the same table with its worst horrors.”

Andrew Boyd, Daily Afflictions: The Agony of Being Connected to Everything in the Universe

In 2019, more than 1/3rd of cannabis CEOs were replaced. This is almost double the CEO turnover rate across all industries. Compliance is always changing in cannabis, and companies need to change too. But the high CEO turnover rate hurts business and the people involved. It’s unproductive for both the company and the hire. 

For your cannabis company to thrive in an industry that’s constantly changing, your executive hires need to be a constant—not constantly changing. A high turnover rate means money lost…

A well-constructed puzzle has pieces that fit together perfectly. And when your company and hires fit together like puzzle pieces, growth materializes.

At Hunter + Esquire, we’ve helped our cannabis clients achieve some industry-leading retention rates on new hires. And that’s because we hire with compassion and empathy. Our compassion and empathy are what distinguishes us from other cannabis recruitment and staffing agencies. It’s the foundation of our business, our decisions, and our lives. 

Compassion and empathy are what makes our process work.

What does it mean to have empathy and compassion in our cannabis recruitment search process?

When I say we recruit with empathy and compassion, we get deep inside your company and potential hires’ lives. We find holes in your company and fill them so there’s no way a new hire can slip through the cracks. We learn what makes you tick, what makes you thrive, and what will make your relationships work.

What makes a company thrive is its people. Two companies could have the same business plan and a similar brand, but what distinguishes them is the people.

Every aspect of the employee-employer relationship must fully align. The end goal is a happy marriage between your company and the new hire. To get there, we dig deep into the strengths and flaws of both sides. And then, we see how you’ll fit together into a prosperous relationship.

Ultimately, being compassionate and empathetic means being connected by understanding and sharing feelings. Having compassion and empathy for both sides provides insight into how your relationship will work. It’s what gives us our industry-leading stick rate.

Alignment of the position with the cannabis company

We vet your company as much as you vet us. Consulting is a critical step to effective recruitment. 

First, we consider the alignment of your open position with your company. Understanding the “why” behind an open position provides insight into the purpose and value of the position.

Having compassion and empathy for a company means being honest and upfront right from the start. We help you understand the root of your problem. We help dig up problems and fix them so there’s a seamless transition when the new hire comes in.

Why is your position open?

Is it a newly-created role or a replacement of someone who exited or you wish to exit? Sometimes there’s a problem with the position itself. Your company must have a clear understanding of your problem, the open position’s profile, and how filling the position will solve your problem. Understand the “why” to prevent unsuccessful hiring.

How does the open position align with the existing and forecasted challenges?

Your company might have several challenges to address. And a new hire is not likely to resolve them all. But it should fix the problem that the open position is causing and then some… So, what are you trying to achieve by filling this role? Will filling this role actually fix the problem(s) you’re expecting it to? Focus on the challenges the new hire will address and how that success will be enabled and measured.

Why did the previous employee leave this position?

Understanding why the previous employee left is critical to understand why the position is open. Did they feel under-compensated? Were they unhappy? Did their qualifications not align with the requirements? Were their expectations not met? Your company may need to adjust the position profile. Or you may need to make a more appealing compensation package.

Why did you create this new role?

Only create a new role if there’s a real business need. It’s a bad idea to create a new executive hiring need simply because your competitor created the same role or an investor suggested it. Define your real needs, tangible challenges to address, and how success for the person in the new role will be measured.

How can this position be improved?

If the position is open because there was a misalignment of the position with your company, then rework and redefine the position before hiring. Change what you want to get out of the new hire. Maybe the position needs to be more hands-on rather than hands-off to support your company’s overall sales growth. What does this role need to help the company’s growth?

We won’t begin the hiring process until the problems within your company are worked out first. Even if that means putting the process on hold. We do everything we can to prevent churn because turnover is fruitless for anyone involved.

We advise, consult, and marry the corporate name all the way to the opportunity that’s filled.

Alignment of the person with the position in cannabis recruitment

Anyone can put a warm butt in a seat and fog a mirror for you. However, that’s a far cry from your new hire coming in hot with the mindset of, “I feel great about joining this team. I feel aligned with my new team’s mission, and culture. I’m excited to go to work and contribute positively every day.”

We have empathy and compassion for every candidate. We care about their happiness and wellbeing. At some point, we’ve all felt stuck doing something we’re not meant for. And we refuse to be responsible for that feeling.

We find the right talent to lead your company. We won’t put a candidate in a position they don’t align with.

What type of candidate are you looking for?

Hire the person with the right skills and previous success to tackle your challenges with you. You’ve had your eye on that “champagne” candidate profile your competitor hired for a certain role, but that does not mean your business has the same profile need. Talent needs and challenges differ across companies. Don’t work in a vacuum of chasing shiny objects. Instead, hire for your organization’s specific needs. Keep in mind your challenges, your culture, and your budget.

How will the candidate’s strengths and weaknesses fit like a puzzle with your company?

We look at what your needs are and your candidate’s needs, your strengths, and your candidate’s strengths. Your needs, strengths, and weaknesses should all balance in harmony.

So we dig deep into a candidate’s personal life. We want to know them from the inside out. We want to know what makes them tick and what makes them thrive. 

Alignment of the position with the family in cannabis executive search

Having compassion for the whole person helps us understand whether the position is a good fit. The responsibilities of the role and its compensation directly affect the new hire’s family. Depending on the family’s situation, a pay raise might be necessary, a pay cut may not be possible, or a cross-country move might tear the family apart. 

So if the position doesn’t align with the family’s values and dynamics, the new hire may turnover quickly… In turn, the effect on the family can directly impact the company if it’s not a good fit.

Does your compensation fit with the family?

We talk right away about money. Many career advisors completely disagree with this. But it’s such a critical piece of the puzzle. People need to get paid! 

Money-talk is especially important in the cannabis industry because hefty pay cuts are the norm… A new hire might be willing to take a few thousand dollar pay cut because she really wants to work for X company. But how will that affect her family? 

Does a pay cut mean fewer streak dinners and Starbucks? Or does a pay cut mean 8-year-old Danny and 11-year-old Susie have to leave their beloved private school and go to public school? Is the family really willing to uproot their children’s lives and support system for a job? Does it mean the family is no-longer a single-income household? Does a spouse or partner have to go back to work for this pay cut? What does a pay cut mean for the entire family? Does the family want this job change too?

We get to know the full picture of the family before the hire so we can help them understand how their lives may change. Having compassion and empathy helps us understand whether the job is a good fit for the family, and how it will affect the family’s happiness.

Compensation is tied to role responsibility and talent. Not knowing the compensation right away is misinformation. The whole process could be a waste of time and money for both sides if money isn’t talked about. You’re paying high recruiter fees. So we don’t want to waste your time by not understanding the full picture. 

Does the move fit with the family?

Does this job require a move from L.A. to Chicago, New York to Florida, or Pennsylvania to Oklahoma? This new job might be a nice pay raise for the new hire. But is the pay raise worth the move?

Fourteen-year-old John just made the state travel soccer team and is the number one scorer. Sandra is only nine-years-old, but she’s the best nine-year-old skier in Colorado… and this new job is in Texas… How is she going to feel living somewhere with no snow? 

Can this family handle a move? What will the overall happiness of this family be if they move?

We take a hard look at every. single. person. this new relationship will affect. It must serve every person involved if it’s going to flourish. 

If it doesn’t work for the family, then it won’t work for the new hire, and it won’t work for the company. 

Intuition in our cannabis executive search firm

Here at Hunter + Esquire, we’re a very intuitive group. We consider the relationship between the company and the new hire holistically. Our five decades of experience have collectively given us the experience to relate to a vast number of individual situations.

We use our previous experience and our gut instincts to know if the relationship will work from all angles.

We become really close with the company and new hires… There are a lot more hugs (albeit more virtual hugs now) than handshakes.

Through empathy and compassion, we help companies survive the long term. We have the luxury of understanding how companies treat their best asset… their people.

Our philosophy is that being direct and upfront is being compassionate and empathetic. Because transparency and emotional intelligence allows us to see the full picture and better understand.

At Hunter + Esquire, our compassion and empathy is our best asset. It’s why companies continue coming to us for recruitment. It’s why new hires feel connected to us. And it’s why our stick rate is so high. We are proud that kindness and personal relationships are what make our business thrive.

Let us in to help you find the best person for your position. Let us in to help you find the perfect job for you and your family.

Let empathy and compassion drive you to a successful future.


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