Building a strong, competent, and cohesive team is an art. You can’t cobble together a winning team that will take your company to new levels by rushing the process. Adhering to standardized hiring processes is critical, and it is even more crucial if you have a personal history with a candidate.

Stick to the process

Organizations small and large should have standard operating procedures, including for selection and hiring, that begin to be established Day 1 and should be continually reviewed and optimized as needed. Your selection and hiring SOPs will include phone screens, onsite meetings, interview feedback forms, etc. All of this is ideally housed within your HR / Human Capital & Talent Acquisition teams to ensure a cohesive approach to hiring. This process includes phone interviews, onsite interviews, and interview feedback forms. Many startup cannabis companies stumble by not putting this process in place at the beginning, or in even seeing the value in hiring a People Operations &/or People Search leader.

Understanding the role that you’re hiring for is critical. Considering both the hard and soft skills required to succeed are a crucial part of the evaluation process. Often one is weighted higher than the other for a particular position. Understanding these intricate dynamics of the hiring process is critical to hiring successful candidates. The method you establish should be repeatable and will most likely need to be refined and tweaked as the organization grows. As growth can happen quickly at startups, especially in cannabis, we recommend an evaluation of your hiring process once a year.

If you let friends or family members slide through without following the established process, you may wind up hiring people who lack specific hard of soft skills because of your personal relationship. Hopefully, your culture promotes honest feedback, and those involved in the hiring process will bring up any potential issues before you commit to hiring. Ensuring you stick to the process can help avoid any internal problems as well. This way, everyone is on the same playing field.

Hire the right talent for the role

Filling your team with friends and family you feel you can trust can give you a measure of confidence, but it does not necessarily equal a high performing team. This can be especially true of an executive or C-suite position. While you may have trust in a friend or family member, it’s critical to place the right person in a specific job for the health of the organization’s growth. You may be handicapping your company and future hires by putting people in roles they are not qualified or able to execute. This might cause issues in hiring other top tier executives in the future. Cannabis executive jobs are becoming more and more competitive in our fast-moving industry. High-performers will evaluate the potential team they are joining before even considering an interview, let alone taking on the role. If, after thoroughly assessing all candidates, your hiring team decides that the best candidate for the position is someone close to the organization, then by all means, move forward.

Diversity is critical for successful organizations

Healthy friction in a company is good. It is healthy for organizations, especially growing startups, to have to work through differing opinions about company growth, direction, and strategy. Successful organizations need some level of resistance and different points of view to challenge one another and propel the company forward. Plenty of good companies struggle or fail because their hiring process led them to a sea of sameness rather than individuals who bring different perspectives to the challenges of growing businesses.

Consider what an investor would think about the hire

Access to capital is a crucial factor of success in the cannabis space. We’ve seen many companies hire an executive team member who is a friend or family member. This can often lead to board members or potential investors to question the hiring practices. For each hire, it’s critical to consider the impact of the applicant to outsider’s perception. Will this individual add value to the organization, will they be perceived as a hiring misstep or even worse, will they be considered a nepotism hire with lesser value? If you have a lock-tight hiring process, your internal and external partners will be assured that you are hiring the right cannabis executive for the role, regardless of relationship.

Our final advice

If you’re going to do it, do it the right way. Create and follow a thorough process. Continue to update your method as the company grows. Ensure that all team members understand the approach in place and follow the process to ensure quality hires that fit the position perfectly. Thoughtfully evaluate all candidates and come together as a team to make the decision. If you hire based on the hard and soft skills needed to perform the role and cultural fit – you’re setting your organization up for success regardless if the candidate is a personal friend or a stranger.

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