Top 10 Questions To Ask During A Budtender Interview

Top 10 Questions To Ask During A Budtender Interview

Published on 1/2/21

As states across the nation legalize recreational weed and establish policies to give those over the age of 21 access to cannabis and cannabis products, the demand for quality employees to staff the growing number of dispensaries has dramatically increased. Dispensary owners and hiring managers must find ways to separate people who might just think it would be cool to spend their days hanging around their favorite plant from those who are reliable salespeople with extensive cannabis knowledge and a commitment to the job.

The sad reality is that this can be a difficult task. Most dispensaries suffer a high turnover rate of staff, so finding and retaining loyal employees who can combine excellent customer service with a true passion for the industry is challenging. Budtenders must be friendly and welcoming, but also understand strict protocols and maintain knowledge of cannabis strains and products that are constantly in flux. An employee who knows how to ensure compliance while deftly interacting with everyone from the giddy customer who just turned 21 to the growing number of baby boomers looking for a THC-enhanced experience will go a long way toward boosting the chances of long-term success for your dispensary. The best way to find those key individuals is to establish a robust interview plan composed of key questions to lock in the top candidates who can seamlessly integrate into the operations of your dispensary.

1. Do you have any budtending experience?

A simple glance at the candidate's resume will answer this question, but asking it anyway can allow you to dig deeper and might provide information that will assist with the rest of the interview. If the candidate has previous budtending experience, there is a higher probability that they already understand how a dispensary works and the basic differences between the various products that a retail cannabis business normally sells. This will result in the need for less training and an easier onboarding process for the new employee.

2. Why do you want to work in the marijuana industry?

The answer to this question should help cull top candidates from a flooded field that contains plenty of people who expect that working as a budtender will be a walk in the park. For a dispensary to thrive it needs employees who are professional and understand the rigors that come with working within strict guidelines.

3. What prompted you to apply at this particular cannabis dispensary?

This question will provide insight into the candidate's knowledge and interest in your business and also offer the opportunity to understand aspects of your operation that might be improved. As with other jobs, a candidate who can give constructive criticism and make suggestions demonstrates an intelligence and desire that will put them above most other applicants and indicate that they will probably quickly evolve into a valued and loyal employee. 

4. What is compliance and why does it matter?

Cannabis is a strictly regulated industry. It is essential that budtenders understand regulatory issues that deal with topics like package labeling, customer information, privacy, security and purchasing limits. Any potential hire should have a comprehensive knowledge of state laws and a keen eye for the detail that is necessary for the dispensary to be compliant. Budtenders who are on top of regulatory issues are also more likely to be trustworthy and treat the dispensary and their job with the respect that it deserves.

5. What do you expect to be the most difficult part about being a budtender?

A candidate's personality will be on display here. Answers might range from worries over compliance to fears about customer service. Look for people who are honest and willing to share their concerns; this shows character and the ability to self-analyze.

6. What are the general characteristics of indicas and sativas?

Weed 101, right? A budtender should not only know this answer off the bat, but they should also be able to show a deeper understanding of the history of the different types of cannabis, how hybrids have come to dominate the market and why a strain designated "sativa" or "indica" might not necessarily provide the type of high that the customer is seeking. Responses to this question will also help you get an idea of how well the budtender will be able to guide clients to a strain that will be right for them.

7. What is your current favorite strain and why?

Quality customer service is based on building relationships fast. This relatively general query will allow you to find out how the candidate will describe a type of cannabis, how they can articulate the reason it is their favorite and if they are able to add a fun note about enjoying the strain. This should be an intro into how they will interact with your clients and ideally create lasting relationships that turn first-time visitors into regulars.

8. What do you know about the different types of cannabis concentrates?

It's time to test the product knowledge of your candidate. There are so many types of concentrates flooding the market that it can be difficult to keep up with the latest technological developments. Rosin, resin, wax and shatter are commonly sold by dispensaries and a good budtender should be able to clearly explain their differences. It is a lot to expect candidates to know everything about concentrates, but they should be able to impart some basic knowledge.

9. How would you guide customers when choosing edibles?

Budtenders should be familiar with the different strengths of products like chocolates, gummies and THC-infused beverages. They should also have a grasp of how consumables that use Nanotechnology and Thermodynamic Individual Molecular Encapsulation are broken down and processed differently than traditional edibles. A customer who overindulges based on a poor recommendation from a budtender will not be likely to return to your dispensary.

10. What is most important to you when serving a customer?

At the end of the day, budtenders are in the service industry and are there to keep customers happy. The ability to listen to customer concerns, be patient with undecided or confused clients and understand each person's personality and needs are important components of being a good budtender. Look for answers that show that the candidate can be empathetic and compassionate when working with dispensary customers. 

What questions do you think are most important to ask a potential budtender candidate? Let us know in the comments below!

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