1. Be prepared to hire the best grower you can afford. Anticipate paying these salary ranges:
· Entry-level: $40-60k
· Intermediate $75-$150k
· Expert $200k plus
2. Be careful about production-based incentives. Even world-class growers can only increase production by so much. A plant has a finite production capacity, and it would be unfair only to propose bonuses tied to production increases. Instead, offer incentives based on improvements that are within the grower's control. Instead of quantity, look at quality. Bonuses based on lowering production costs, minimizing labor, and improving crop quality have more extended staying power than production incentives alone.
3. Don't limit yourself to growers with cannabis experience only. Commercial flower and vegetable growers are trained to learn new crops quickly, and they can quickly be brought up to speed on cannabis-specific knowledge with the help of a cultivation consultant.
4. Hire slow and fire fast. Don't accept the first candidate that answers your job ad. Like any top management position in any industry, anticipate spending 3 or 4 months searching and interviewing candidates. Do background checks and speak to references. If you hire a grower and they don't turn out to be the right fit, let them go.
5. Widen your search to give yourself the best chance of finding the right candidate for you.
The easiest way to acquire a new grower is to poach them from an existing successful operation. Posting vacancies on cannabis job websites can generate mass interest but be prepared to comb through plenty of unqualified candidates. Networking at cannabis conferences is a great way to meet potential candidates.
6. Look for candidates with the right characteristics.
In addition to cultivation experience, the best candidates should possess people management and conflict resolution skills. Sometimes, growing plants is only half of the job. The ability to communicate effectively and intelligently with board members, media, investors, and visitors is a plus. Time management skills are also critical for growers, as they balance office demands with time on the production floor.