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Jobs in crypto? Top tips from recruiters about what to do

With the rise in digital-asset prices and the expansion of decentralized finance (DeFi) and non-fungible tokens (NFTs), there’s been a boom in companies and organizations — and a need for qualified people to make them function. Crypto firms have been fighting for top talent as job listings soar in an industry that’s so new, someone with just a few years of experience is often considered a veteran.

The changing scene is also bumping up against standard hiring procedures. Everything from the characteristics of the eligible talent pool to compensation metrics often present a misalignment between the way companies have done things in the past and the way the industry is today.

Here are some tips from recruiters about hiring in crypto:

Look Within

Companies may be better off trying to find good talent in their own ranks, rather than seeking someone outside, David Richardson, a partner at executive-search firm Heidrick & Struggles who co-leads the Crypto & Data Assets sector in the Americas, said in an interview.

Rather than overpaying for someone with just six months of experience, invest in training for existing staff who have an interest in crypto, Richardson said. 

“Go and find those people and give them the opportunity to turn a hobby into a profession,” he said. “If you look at early adopter firms, that’s how they got there.”

Be Ready to Train

Since there won’t necessarily be many people with the exact skill sets needed for a particular role, firms may want to hire someone and train them in areas where they’re less knowledgeable, advises Thomas Vick, regional director for global talent solutions firm Robert Half.

Candidates will probably have the technical knowledge that companies want, but they might not have all the specifics, Vick wrote in an email. “Hiring managers should be ready and willing to train on the rest and upskill.” 

Act Fast

Companies with a more deliberative approach to hiring may want to speed up the process, said Michael Shlayen, founder and chief executive officer at crypto executive-search firm Blockchain Headhunter.

“Demand for qualified candidates by far outpaces the availability,” Shlayen said in an email. “Only employers who can act fast, don’t need more than three rounds of interviews, week intervals in between, and can show decisiveness by presenting a fair job offer quickly will end up with the best talent on board.”

It’s still a relatively new market with a limited talent pool, he said. “Halfway decent candidates (mainly across tech, marketing, product functions) with one to two years of experience in the space can have a few job offers lined up within weeks of beginning the job search, sometimes faster.”

Employers need to act quickly, and allay concern about hiring someone who may not appear to be a perfect fit. Shlayen says in his experience “the opportunity cost of not hiring at all/losing the best candidates to more decisive competitors is much higher than that of a wrong hire.”

Look for Passion

It can be hard to take breaks in crypto — trading and activity are at all hours and burnout can set in. Because of this, passion is crucial, said Richardson of Heidrick & Struggles.

“Screening for people who are extremely enthusiastic is absolutely critical because you need them to be all-in,” he said.

Expect Turnover

Employers should be prepared for more churn than might be the case in other areas because the digital-asset space is changing so quickly and top talent is in demand.

“I say to clients, you probably can’t hang on to your team as much as you’d like to — they will have an abundance of opportunity as soon as they develop knowledge,” Richardson said.

To mitigate the chances of that, Robert Half’s Vick suggests trying to make sure compensation is good from the start.

“Once an employer hires someone they should be confident that the candidate is more than fairly compensated if they want to retain these employees,” he said. “Otherwise, they run the risk of companies that are looking to get into this area taking their people.”

This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed.

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