Networking is hard. Networking in a heavily regulated and scrutinized industry like cannabis is even harder. Networking in cannabis during a pandemic: damn near impossible.
For us recruiters at Vangst, 2020 has been an adventure, to say the least -- namely, our signature in-person career fair events have had to be shelved. However, the cannabis industry is nothing if not resilient, and with companies already ending hiring freezes and ramping up hiring plans heading into next quarter, we’re here to meet that increase in workforce demand.
So this year we’re going digital, get your backdrops ready and remember to wear pants, as we’re putting on the first Vangst Virtual Cannabis Career Fair.
If you’re a job seeker, we’re here to help you get connected, charge ahead, and grow your career alongside a growing marketplace. The fair is free to attend and will offer everything from interview prep and resume building advice to expert insights from a variety of renowned speakers. Whether you have extensive prior experience in cannabis or you’re new to the business and want to gather more information on how to get a job in the cannabis industry, the Career Fair will be a valuable opportunity to network like a professional.
If you’re a job seeker, the fair is free to attend and will offer everything from interview prep and resume building advice to expert insights from a variety of renown speakers.
For employers -- companies of any size that are considering adding headcount, both short-term and long-term -- working with Vangst gives you access to the deepest pool of talent in cannabis. No matter what level of seniority you’re hiring at, Vangst has innovative solutions to get you connected with the right person for the right job. Having a booth at this year’s Career Fair lets you screen and follow up with every candidate who comes your way, showcase your brand, create in-booth conversations, and chat in a virtual networking hub.
Here’s what you need to know to make the most of your career fair experience.
What is the Vangst Virtual Cannabis Career Fair?
The Vangst Virtual Cannabis Career Fair is a curated event for job seekers to digitally connect with the leading businesses hiring in the cannabis industry. By the numbers, expect to see:
- 3,000 job-seeking candidates in attendance
- 100+ interactive booths and panels for attendees to network, learn, and connect
- 50+ industry-leading voices
- 2 days designed to connect the top talent in cannabis
In addition to providing attendees with an opportunity to engage directly with hiring companies, the Career Fair is packed with speaker sessions featuring industry leaders on the Main Stage as well as career building workshops on the Vangst Stage.
“We organized this virtual career fair in the hopes that it will introduce job seekers to the full range of available roles within cannabis,” said Vangst CEO Karson Humiston. “We want to provide exposure to every type of opportunity - from plant-touching to ancillary, cultivation to tech, and everything in between - and give them the tools they need to join this growing industry, no matter what their path is."
New this year: Social Equity Programming
Many states have implemented social equity programs to create opportunity for individuals who’ve been negatively impacted by The War on Drugs. But many questions remain: who is eligible, how do these programs work, and what barriers still exist? The Main Stage agenda kicks off with a special session “How Employees, Entrepreneurs, and Advocates Can Participate in Social Equity Programming” led by cannabis reform nonprofit Last Prisoner Project, aiming to help social equity candidates understand how they can make the most of programs in their state and teach advocates everywhere how they can commit to the cause.
Additionally, the Vangst 2020 Virtual Career Fair will prioritize justice-impacted social equity candidates by using Smart Queue features in the event platform to give wait priority to job-seeking attendees who choose to self-identify as a justice-impacted social equity candidate. Recruiters whose state policies allow them to hire felony applicants will indicate their participation in this program in the "About Us" section of their booth.
Reasons to Attend the Career Fair
For job seekers, this Career Fair is an opportunity to get connected, sharpen your industry knowledge, and, ultimately, get hired. We know that these days, America’s job market is looking a little… well, hazy. Yet, growth in cannabis in 2020 is still slated to outpace last year.
So if you’re looking to break into the business or upgrade your current job, the Vangst Virtual Career Fair will be the hottest cannabis networking event of the year. The event is free to attend and registering will grant you access to:
- Hiring reps from more than 50 top cannabis companies
- Previews of networking and job opportunities on Vangst.com leading up to the event
- Panels on a wide range of topics - from social equity initiatives to branding
- Advice and insights from hiring experts at Vangst
- Interview tips, resume prep, Cannabis 101 and more
Preparing for the Fair
Marijuana job fairs are an excellent way for job seekers to hone in on the right opportunities and submit resumes to dozens of companies looking to hire. Heading into the event, some prep work will go a long way in putting your best foot forward
- Register for the Career Fair
- Create and log into your Brazen account
- Make a candidate profile on Vangst
- Update your resume
- Refresh your interview skills - prepare answers for standard questions and prepare questions of your own to ask
- Browse cannabis news for trends and potential talking points
- Study the companies attending the fair, follow their social posts to get a sense of their company culture and values
- Apply for jobs in advance
- Know the work requirements for your state
- Select which panels and workshops you plan to attend - the Main Stage will host industry leaders giving insights on big picture topics whereas the Vangst Stage will feature talent managers and recruiters offering pragmatic, actionable advice on job-hunting
Finding your Ideal Job Fit
Whether you're hoping to begin your career in a new space or you're an industry veteran seeking new opportunities, there's a place in cannabis for everyone. Need help narrowing down your search? Consider these questions:
What kind of work do you want to do? Roles in cannabis are diverse: there’s cultivation, lab and extraction, manufacturing, retail, and corporate/administration services. You’ll also want to determine if you’re looking to work part-time or full-time and whether you’re a specialist or a generalist.
Would you prefer working with the plant or working on the ancillary side? “Plant-touching” jobs are found with operators that are cultivating, processing, or dispensing cannabis and cannabis products. Positions at “no-touch” and ancillary companies don’t directly involve the plant itself, instead they involve a product or service to the industry such as packaging, real estate, banking solutions, or legal consultation.
Are you planning to stay in-state and are you licensed as needed? Even given the current boom in remote hiring, as one of the many consequences of federal cannabis prohibition, your job prospects will increase if you have access to a state that has a medical and/or recreational (also known as “adult use”) marijuana program. Some states require additional licenses, work requirements, and background checks which can be found on this map of state cannabis requirements
5 Tips for Navigating and Networking
- Be flexible. Every licensed business in the cannabis space is essentially a startup so keep this in mind when setting your expectations. Many companies are growing fast and might not have a traditional onboarding process, or even an HR department established, yet, so be ready to adapt and absorb those imperfections throughout the interview and hiring process.
- Embrace change. Change is constant in the cannabis industry, and companies pivot fast. A single update to state cannabis regulations can force a company to change its product line or alter its entire strategy. If you’re someone who thrives in a fast-paced, constantly changing environment, you’re on the right track.
- Ask questions. It's fair game to ask about the company’s leadership, funding, licensing, and future plans. You’ll also want to learn about where the company operates. Is it based in one state or are they a multi-state operator (MSO)? Does it operate in medical cannabis states only, adult-use only, or both?
- Showcase your unique skill set. Show how your particular skills and experience are relevant to the company you’re interviewing with. Displaying an interest in the cannabis industry itself is a great jumping off point, but companies need people who bring more to the table than just passion. If you're coming in without prior cannabis business experience, be prepared to translate your skills from your work history.
- Prepare to wear a lot of hats. Many cannabis companies have fewer than 50 employees, so all team members are expected to roll up their sleeves and do what it takes to build the company from the ground up. If you thrive in an environment of change and opportunity, this is the place to be.
Helpful Job-seeking Guides from Vangst
Read up on all the latest cannabis industry trends and get career guidance from the subject matter experts themselves (that’s us, btw).
- How to Work in the Cannabis Industry – Requirements by State
- Crossing Over to a Career in Cannabis: What You Need to Know
- The Top 6 Translatable Skills to Add to Your Cannabis Resume
- The Cannabis Job Seeker's Guide to Remote Interviewing
Using Vangst in your Future Job Searches
Stretching beyond this year’s Career Fair, Vangst is a crucial asset to any cannabis-related job hunt as it's the top community to connect with if you're looking to network, any time of the year. Our mission at Vangst is to design - and always improve - solutions to meet the needs of all verticals in the market. These are three easy ways to follow up from the fair:
- Create a candidate profile - upload your resume, answer a few questions, and start seeking out and applying for jobs.
- Subscribe to the Vangst Insider newsletter - it will include updates on virtual events, upcoming webinars, and Hot Jobs.
- Follow Vangst on social - keep up on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Twitter to catch livestream events, latest news, trends, and Vangst offerings
Whether you're a newcomer planning to begin your career in a different space or you're an industry veteran seeking new opportunities, there's a place in cannabis for everyone, Vangst’s mission is to help you find yours.
- Steve DeAngelo, Founder, Last Prisoner Project
- Mary Bailey, Managing Director, Last Prisoner Project
- Emily Paxhia, Managing Director, Poseidon Partners
- Gia Moron,Tri-State Market Leader Director, Women Grow
- Wanda James, CEO, Simply Pure Dispensary
- Jill Ellsworth, Founder & CEO, Willow Industries
- Janet Hoffman, VP of Human Resources, The Green Solution
- Karson Humiston, CEO, Vangst
- Yoni Myers, Partner, Casa Verde Capital
- Chi-Chien Hou, Managing Director, AFI Partners
- Charlie Bachtell, Founder & CEO, Cresco Labs
- Ryan Smith, Founder & CEO, LeafLink
- Kristi Knoblich Palmer, Co-Founder, Kiva Confections
- Lauren Spagnuolo, Director of People Ops, Wurk
- Andrew Belanger, Human Resources Manager, Buddy Boy Brands
- Catherine Gonzalez, Director or HR, Kiva Confections
- Dara Williams, VP of HR, LeafLink
- Stephanie Jenkins, SVP of Sales, Flowhub
- Nick Cruz, Field Sales Manager, Caliva
- Lewis Koski, COO, Metrc
- Ryan Bacchus, President, California Cannabis Coalition
- Weldon Angelos, Founder, The Weldon Project
- Dave Cuesta, Director of Licensing Strategy, Quest Enterprises
- Stacy Hopkins, Product Manager, Flowhub
- Mark Sost, VP of Engineering, LeafLink
- Chris Ostrowski, Chief Technology Officer, Dutchie
- Christine Hodgdon, COO, Vangst
- Dan Banks, Director of Cultivation Strategy, Lightshade
- Julia Jacobson, Co-Founder, Aster Farms
- Beth Kotarba, COO, Native Roots
- Nick Drury, Director of Cultivation Ops, Lightshade
- Coree Schmitz, GM, Stillwater & Ripple Brands
- Suzannah Rubinstein, Director of Marketing, LeafLink
- Peter Barsoom, CEO, 1906
- Joe Hodas, CMO, Wana
- Charlie Wilson, CRO, Greenbits
- Grant Troeger, VP of Retail, New England Alternatives
- Jessica Assaf, Co-Founder & Chief Education Officer, Prima
- Hilary McCain, CEO, Sweet Reason
- Amanda Wise, Founder, House of Wise
- Rosie Mattio, Founder, Mattio Communications
- Jeremy Berke, Senior Reporter, Business Insider
- Jonathan Small, Editor-in-Chief, Green Entrepreneur
Join the Vangst Network
Whether you’re looking for a cannabis industry job or searching for the top cannabis talent to drive your company’s growth, the Vangst hiring platform has all the tools you need to make that game-changing move. Sign up and join our network in minutes.Join Today