By David Murét
There are a couple things we know for certain about operating a company on the front lines of legal cannabis: It isn’t easy, and it isn’t cheap.
As an entrepreneur or executive in this industry, the demands on your finite resources seem endless. When you consider the risks of being under-capitalized in such a volatile market, it seems wise to trim costs wherever you can. For many companies that means turning to one of the countless job boards to search for talent. Why engage the services of a recruiter when a single job posting on Craigslist can yield hundreds of resumes?
It’s been said that time is money and nowhere is that more apparent than in a fast-paced emerging market like the cannabis industry. So the first thing to consider is how valuable your time is. Have you really considered how much time and energy it takes to find the right person to fill a key position within your company using an online job board? If not, here’s what’s generally involved: First, you’ll need to go to the trouble of creating a detailed ad and job description, spelling out all your wants and needs without inadvertently violating fair employment laws (which isn’t as easy as it sounds); second, you’ll need to decide which of the hundreds of job boards to choose from.
Do you use one of the highly-advertised knock-off services claiming to be the “CareerBuilder of Cannabis” or use the actual CareerBuilder? Or would it be better to use one of those cannabis news websites or social networks that recently added a classifieds section that includes job postings? Or perhaps your local paper? No matter which service you choose, you’re still only reaching a tiny fraction of the available talent pool and hardly the cream of the crop.
Why is this? It’s because all the job/resume boards on the Internet combined only make up approximately 10% of the available talent pool at any given time, the so-called “active” job-seekers. Most of these people are currently unemployed because they are the ones most likely to advertise the fact that they’re actively looking for work or motivated enough to frequent the job boards to see your ad.
The other 90% of the available talent pool is made up of the gainfully employed and casual job seekers. These are the individuals that experienced recruiters have spent years of their lives learning how to identify, qualify and attract to businesses looking to maintain a competitive edge. Whether they are casually keeping their options open or minding their own business, the most competitive companies in the world have come to realize that this tends to be a far more desirable pool of candidates than the 10% who are actively searching the job boards. It’s also why the vast majority of desirable positions are never advertised publicly.
Those positions are typically sourced by either an experienced in-house recruiter or an agency the company contracts with to find talent. As you can imagine, the results of these two approaches are radically different — the latter is much easier for a hiring manager than attempting to handle the entire process on their own.
When you add up the opportunity cost of everything that might have been done while you were digging through resumes, double-checking references, conducting background checks and putting each candidate through all the stages of the interview and vetting process, it’s usually cheaper from both a time and money standpoint to leave this chore to a professional. You still maintain the final decision, but are likely to attract superior talent with a lot less fuss and considerably lower turnover.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employee turnover costs employers anywhere from 30% to 200% of an individual’s annual salary. When you look at it that way, engaging the services of a qualified recruiter is typically less tedious, more rewarding and less costly than trying your luck on the job boards.
Don’t assume that this sort of professional support is out of reach for your early-stage small business. You’ll most likely be surprised to learn just how affordable it is. Given the value of your time at this critical stage in your company’s development, you’ll likely find that it’s far more costly to do it yourself.
David Murét is the co-founder and COO of Viridian Staffing. He has a diverse background that includes everything from public policy and law to information technology, finance and business development and, as a veteran of multiple start-ups, appreciates the challenge of assembling the right team.