Building a career or building a team in decentralized finance (DeFi) and crypto depends on finding talent, skills and the right attitude anywhere, in anyone. Although this is no different from other industries, what makes us unique are the much needed, specialized skills combined with finding a good culture suitable in an international and distant environment.
Despite recent turbulence in markets, crypto companies continue to build and grow. The increased energy and legitimacy in the industry over the years has many people wanting to switch from Web2 to Web3. This requires recruiters to look through hundreds of candidates each month, but how do you find the right people who are enthusiastic about the ethos of the industry and excited to build effective technology? Here are some recruiting strategies that can help, and some things to avoid.
Hire for an attitude
No matter the industry, the right attitude can go a long way. Work in crypto and DeFi is often international, remote, fast-moving and non-traditional. Its nature is decentralized, so work environments tend to be the same.
We tend to hire people who are kind, team-oriented, self-directed, energetic, innovative and deal with mistakes and challenges in the right way. But how do you identify those habits and the right attitude in someone during employment?
There are a few ways to do this. Ask them what they value. What do they find important about culture, teamwork, and other people’s attitudes?
To drive these answers, it can help to ask the candidate the same question in a few different ways and then measure for sincerity. If they keep coming back to topics or statements that feel authentic, then they probably are. If they didn’t think about what values and cultural elements they were looking for in their next team, that could be a red flag.
It is also useful to explore how candidates plan to succeed in a remote and international environment. (Our team has people in nearly a dozen different countries around the world.) How have they been successful with various time zones? What is their attitude around being flexible for the work / life limits of other teammates? We have learned that successful distance work requires people with attitudes that embrace flexibility and understand how to self-direct through asynchronous communication.
Related: How to get a job in the metaverse and Web3
Keep a deep in-depth interview process
We have been told many times that our interview process is one of the most deliberate and in-depth recruitment processes candidates have experienced. It is common for a candidate to speak to up to four current team members during the interview. It is not meant to be tiring; it aims to be exploratory, transparent and helpful – to both sides.
This process is by design. Several conversations, practice scenarios, exercises, and touchpoints that involve several current team members create more opportunities to get to know each other. The more you talk, the more you can identify strengths, weaknesses, motivations and attitudes. Formal education has not yet reached crypto, so it is challenging to value educational and professional experience as much as you can in some traditional industries. This process should give people an equal opportunity to showcase their skills, cultural aptitude and talent.
Our experience of building a remote global team has proven that employment requires transparency and respect. The process is a two-way street. You choose each other. If the candidate ends up choosing another role because your process is too involved or lengthy, then so be it.
Related: Bear market: Some crypto companies are cutting jobs, while others are aiming for sustainable growth
It is important to keep these intentional, strategic, and thorough processes in place at all times. Hiring the wrong person carries a greater cost than hiring the right person, slowly.
Don’t give in to despair
While the industry feels that it is in constant flow and growth can occur suddenly and rapidly, resist the desire to hire just because of growth. It’s tempting to lower your employment when talent is hard to find, but success comes when you keep expectations high.
As mentioned above, a thorough process of interviewing and recruiting will pay off along the way by securing the right people for the right reasons. Having a job vacant is better than having the wrong person in the job for a short time.
Search for diversity (in all its forms)
Crypto and DeFi are improving from a diversity perspective, but it still has a long way to go, especially in scientific, technological, engineering and mathematical roles. Any visit to a crypto or DeFi event or conference shows that participation is very heavy on whites. This hinders our organizations, communities and industry.
Teams that are more diverse are stronger. Teams with more women, more people of color, more people from diverse geographical or national backgrounds and sexual or sexual orientations will achieve more innovation, understanding, productivity and longevity. A diverse team will cultivate a diverse ecosystem of ideas and achievements.
This requires developing strong cultures and policies that are inclusive, supportive, professional and open and practice zero tolerance against prejudice or discrimination in both organizational and community behavior.
The advantage of having a remote first company is that you can hire anyone, anywhere. So, take advantage of that but be sensitive about how your team and industry can be felt and experienced by others with their own unique experiences.
Related: New industry, new rules: Building the metaverse without bias
To achieve this, start with inviting and inclusive policies and philosophies. Then you have to think outside the box to find various candidates. For example, search women led decentralized autonomous organizations, hackathons or Twitter communities, and be a champion where you can for underrepresented groups in the industry. If you can’t find them, help build them.
Don’t run away from people who don’t know crypto
Crypto and DeFi are obviously very complicated industries that require special skills. But that doesn’t mean organizations have to limit themselves to recruits who already know crypto or are active in it.
There are many very clever Web2 people getting involved in crypto as their hobby. Look for meaningful contributors, freelancers, and those who want to learn. This is what this industry is all about. With the right attitude and atmosphere, blockchain and cryptic knowledge can be learned. Look for accepting things like paired programming, in-house learning sessions, and frequent performance reviews to further develop talent.
During early weeks and months can and will feel overwhelming to non-crypto recruits, people with the right attitude and goals will learn, especially if they are led and guided by a welcoming, understanding and strategic team. Patience is a virtue. (Engaging with non-crypto people will also foster diversity.)
The industry has grown so rapidly over the last five years that the criteria for a talent pool will have to expand, or else we will run out of options, especially in the bear market in which we now find ourselves.
This article does not contain investment advice or recommendations. Every investment and business move involves risk, and readers need to do their own research when making a decision.
The opinions, thoughts and opinions expressed herein are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect or represent the views and opinions of Cointelegraph.
Melissa Quinn is the CEO of Risk Labs, the foundation and team behind Uma, Across and Outcome.Finance. Melissa comes from a background in human resources and switched to the operating side of crypto and DeFi in 2017. Since then, she has helped build and lead teams through various market cycles. Melissa joined Risk Labs in late 2020 and led the team as it tripled in size in a short time without compromising culture, values, diversity and collaboration.