Across industries, companies are struggling to find and retain talent. In highly specialized tech companies, that struggle is even more difficult and requires real tenacity. And in highly specialized tech companies in the emerging crypto space, leaders need tenacity, creativity and, possibly, a willingness to reinvent the wheel.

While the “newness” of the crypto space and the technology that fuels it may currently prove an obstacle for crypto companies on the hunt for talent, its potential and vision, and its pioneers’ willingness to challenge traditional boundaries, can be a game-changing asset in attracting those looking to make a difference in a changing world. Here, 16 members of Cointelegraph Innovation Circle share tips to help leaders of crypto and Web3 companies find the bright — and the right —  talent they’re looking for.

Appreciate different perspectives, but protect your company culture

Whether a new team member comes armed with expertise in sports, art, business or tech, tap into their varied strengths to create products that are usable and speak to a range of audiences. But make sure they come in with the right attitude! Web3 might be fast-paced, but team members can certainly take time to build a strong, positive foundation with each other. - Yaoqi Jia, AltLayer

Educate students on blockchain’s opportunities

As the head of a legal-first software company, I’ve seen firsthand the competitiveness of recruiting and retaining talent, particularly when it comes to developers. As a whole, the industry should educate students on the multitude of career opportunities within blockchain while they’re still career-searching. Other avenues to retain talent include providing incentives, such as payment via crypto. - Jae Yang, Tacen

Tap into your team members’ contacts

When it comes to finding the right talent, leaders of crypto and Web3 companies need look no further than their own employees. Take advantage of your team members’ knowledge of the industry and their network of contacts. - Shiv Madan, Moonwalk

Align incentives to talent’s expectations

Crypto offers a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity as an industry that is transforming areas including finance and art and incentivizing communities to participate. The smartest people will always have opportunities, so to attract and retain the best people, seek out talent, align incentives and empower them to act. - Shawn Douglass, Amberdata

Challenge traditional assumptions about work

Corporate culture may start at the top, but people don’t get into Web3 to end up in another 9-to-5 job. Crypto can be as fun as it is ruthless; you’ll win some and lose some. So stay humble, ditch the tie and challenge your assumptions. Acknowledge this shifting balance of power all the way through your company structure. Avoid hierarchy and encourage exploration, cross-contamination and self-actualization. - Audrey Raby, Defiance Games

Develop a strong mission and productivity systems

Have an ironclad vision and mission, as a weak vision will dilute employees’ attention. Once your vision is set, decide on whether to hire generalists, who can cover many bases, or specialists, who minimize downside risk in production. With the industry’s lack of traditional infrastructure (such as CRMs, ERP systems and inventory tracking), Web3 leaders should identify operational issues and have productivity systems in place (such as Agile/Scrum, time-tracking and reviews). - Billy Huang, Insomnia Labs

Screen for personality in a thorough interview process 

Candidates don’t necessarily have to be crypto experts, but a strong belief in blockchain’s transformative potential is key. Personality is also equally, if not more, important than a deep knowledge of blockchain and crypto. Due to the nature of the industry, flexibility is also a must. With this in mind, a thorough interview process is necessary to understand an applicant’s personality. - Sheraz Ahmed, STORM Partners

Bring on an experienced executive for confidence and knowledge-sharing

Hire an experienced blockchain executive who has weathered several halving cycles. This should allow for a much-needed solid foundation and attract new talent to join the company. And facilitate confidence that valuable experience can be transitioned to the whole team. - Irina Litchfield, Rizon Labs

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Take a ‘team of teams’ approach

Bitcoin and crypto are still new to many, and it can be hard to find talent with experience in our industry. At CleanSpark, we use a “team of teams” approach, giving employees the chance to contribute in other departments. However, you can absolutely find well-rounded, talented people — no matter their background — who want to challenge themselves and learn as they go. Just ask them to join you. - Zach Bradford, CleanSpark Inc.

Hire talent from other sectors and provide the needed training

Don’t get hung up on finding the perfect talent with all of the skills you’re looking for. You’re likely to overlook some great candidates who have the potential to reach the same level. For me, the best approach is to hire young talent from other sectors around the industry who already have an interest in crypto or Web3. You are then responsible for educating and training them to the highest level. - Tim Mangnall, Capital Block

Communicate your vision ‘beyond crypto’

The best talent wants to make a difference. In Web3, that means qualified developers, marketers and others will go for projects that are focused on product-building. Communicate that your vision goes beyond crypto — that blockchain is merely the tech behind your value proposition — to attract talent from traditional industries. Let’s face it, that’s where most of the talent is. - Motti Peer, ReBlonde LTD

Go fully remote to access global talent

To find passionate, qualified talent in a competitive job market, employers should consider diversifying and expanding their search. Consider a fully remote approach to attract the best and brightest from around the world — Tacen’s developers live in Wyoming, Japan, New York City and everywhere in between, collectively creating a more diverse, stronger team. - Budd White, Tacen

Upskill devs with traditional backgrounds and search untraditional talent channels

The Web3 and crypto space is still not a mainstream technology space for many developers. One way of fighting the talent crunch is to upskill sharp developers from traditional programming language backgrounds who possess strong logical skills. Developers who are already active in the space are generally very active on less-searched channels like Discord, Reddit or Steam. They can be easily tapped. - Vinita Rathi, Systango

Insist on passion for the project

My advice is to look for people who are passionate about the project, the technology and its potential. Only hire individuals who are excited about being part of an emerging industry and genuinely want to help build something extraordinary! Many talented people have the skills and experience you need, so take your time to find the right fit for your team. The right talent will improve retention and growth. - Carmelia Ray, Kindly

Trust your team and give them autonomy

Team is everything, and high turnover is a thief of innovation and momentum. At Coinbound, we put a lot of effort into making sure our team members feel respected and valued and offer as many perks as possible (with remote work being one of them). If you want to recruit and keep the best people, you need to treat them like the best people by trusting them and giving them autonomy. - Ty Smith, Coinbound

Offer flexibility to receive loyalty

Make flexibility part of your culture, and expect people to push the boundaries every now and again. We retain the best talent by having a flexible environment in which our team members can work anywhere at any time. Sometimes team members will try to take advantage of our good nature, but when a crisis hits, everyone comes back to the fold and works hard as a team to fix it! - Rupert Barksfield, Amulet


This article was published through Cointelegraph Innovation Circle, a vetted organization of senior executives and experts in the blockchain technology industry who are building the future through the power of connections, collaboration and thought leadership. Opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of Cointelegraph.

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