Preparing for a job interview is always an intense and somewhat-intimidating task, and when that job happens to be in the cannabis industry, you may feel even more at a loss when it comes to feeling ready to take on the experience with gusto.
Whether you’re going for an entry-level position in the industry or are an executive-level professional looking to transfer your hard-earned skills into cannabis, prepping for an interview in an industry that has been illegal for decades can feel strange and surreal, so it’s important to feel as confident in yourself, your skills, and your knowledge of the industry as possible.
Of course, you can’t go wrong with the STAR interview method (a structured approach to interview response that involves describing the situation, task, action, and result in each of your answers), but there are a few other more industry-specific things to keep in mind when getting ready for a cannabis industry job interview.
Cannabis Interview Questions
For any job interview you’re going on, it’s essential to be prepared for the basics at the bare minimum. Most interviewers will begin the process with general questions about you, your education or work experience, and why you’re interested in the role.
And for cannabis, these questions will probably be a bit more tailored to the plant and its unique world. Here are a few questions that may come your way as a cannabis industry job applicant:
Do you have any cannabis education, training, or certifications?
This sort of industry background won’t always be required, especially depending on what role you’re going for, but in general, it helps to have at least a basic education on cannabis under your belt.
Online courses and certifications are available for this purpose, and you may want to familiarize yourself in this manner to stand out amongst other applicants.
Can you tell me about your relationship with cannabis?
Recruiters won’t directly ask if you consume cannabis, and while that’s not a requirement to find a job, sharing your experience with or interest in the plant is always important.
Cannabis is a young industry filled with passionate people, and joining the industry typically requires you to demonstrate how you share the same passion.
Why do you want to work at a cannabis dispensary (or another role)?
This is a question that every interviewee has been asked at some point, no matter the industry or position. But for cannabis specifically, don’t be afraid to dig deep. Are you passionate about legalization? Has someone close to you been a victim of the War on Drugs? Are you interested in helping medical patients, or just learning more about the plant for your own benefit? Figure out what it is that drew you to cannabis in the first place, and be open about that.
How do you recommend edible dosing to someone who’s new to cannabis?
This is a more specific question about cannabis, and while you may not be asked this exact one, your interviewer might throw something that requires a basic plant education into the mix to see how you respond. For this reason, it’s a great idea to educate yourself on the plant before diving into the interview process.
As you delve deeper into the interview, your interviewer will begin to ask more specific questions to figure out what type of person and employee you might be.
One such category they might broach is behavioral: a.k.a., questions that are usually non-technical and instead focus entirely on you and what kind of person you are.
Here are a couple of questions that might come your way:
Describe a time when you did not meet the customer’s expectations, how did you attempt to resolve the issue?
No one is perfect, and your interviewer knows that. These questions can feel like a trick at first, but it’s okay to admit that you’ve made a mistake in the past. It’s how you overcame it that matters, so try to have an example of a work mishap ready and, more importantly, be able to highlight what you did to resolve the issue, move past it, and prevent it from happening again in the future.
Can you tell me about a time when your employer or team underwent a lot of change, and how did you deal with it?
Change is constant in the cannabis industry, so it’s important to show that you’re a resilient, flexible, and adaptable person in the workplace. Otherwise, cannabis probably isn’t the industry for you.
Communication interview questions work to explore just that: how you communicate. With your superiors, your fellow coworkers, and most importantly, yourself.
Here are a couple of questions your interviewer might ask in this arena:
How would your coworkers describe your personality?
Now’s your time to shine – a.k.a., subtly brag about what a pleasure you are to work with, from communication style and communication frequency to troubleshooting and networking.
Have you ever had difficulty working with a manager?
Again, this can feel like a trick question, but it’s perfectly fine to be honest about the fact that you haven’t gotten along with a manager in the past (if that’s the case). If so, it’s important to highlight what the issues were, how you worked to resolve them, and what you’re hoping to avoid in the future.
Opinion interview questions are typically focused on situations, helping your possible future employer understand how you react, what your preferred work style is, and if you’re going to fit in with the company’s ethos and environment.
What’s been your biggest professional success?
This question is less about what your biggest success is and more about how you discuss it. Your answer will help your interviewer determine what your bar for success looks like, how you talk about yourself and your fellow coworkers, whether or not you’re a team player, and much more.
Where do you see the industry in 10 years?
This will require some of that basic knowledge of the industry, but your answer will also help your interviewer determine how you look at the future: what sort of foresight you have, what your analytical skills are like, and even a good level of insight into your bar for creativity and innovation.
Performance-based interview questions will require you to take the interviewer on a journey, sharing specific situations where you had to utilize your communication, behavioral, and opinion skills in the workplace.
You might be asked something similar to the following:
How do you handle being assigned multiple tasks at the same time?
Are you a multi-tasker, or do you prefer to focus entirely on one task at a time? The “right” answer here will vary depending on what role you’re applying for, but in general, it’s important to just be honest. If you love to wear many hats at once and are applying to a role that leaves no room for that, you might end up miserable down the line, and being honest in this portion of the interview can save you from being placed into the wrong role for your skills.
How would you go about voicing an uncomfortable situation with a supervisor?
The answer to this question will reveal a lot about both your communication and behavioral styles. What do you consider an “uncomfortable situation,” and what is your communication style like when handling it?
Finally, brainteaser questions are utilized to figure out how applicants think and solve problems – even the most ridiculous and unrealistic of circumstances. They might have absolutely nothing to do with the industry or role you’re applying for, but will nonetheless be thrown your way to see how you react.
Here are a couple of brainteasers you may be asked to consider in an interview:
Can you explain a concept to someone who will find it difficult to understand?
Some examples of this include: “Describe this song to a deaf person,” “Explain the metaverse to someone who time-traveled from 1962,” or “Can you explain your role in the weed industry to your intolerant grandmother?”
How would you handle the unthinkable?
How would you handle a bear attack? How would you test out a brand-new flying car? How would you prevent humans from lying?
Preparing for a cannabis industry interview is a little more complicated than interviews within other industries, but as long as you have a good knowledge of the plant and a good sense of yourself as an employee and how you might contribute to the industry, you’ll knock it out of the park.