June 5, 2023

In 1926 Henry Ford progressed the idea of a 40-hour workweek. The 9 to 5 day was designed particularly for assembly line workers at the Ford Motor Company and rolled out across every manufacturing plant in the world. Eventually, it became the norm and anything outside of the norm is considered rebellious. 

If Web3 applications are to advance the use of cutting-edge technology leading towards a more decentralised future, then the skillsets that are attracted to the industry are a major component of its success.

Recruitment is a little different in the world of Web3. Both employers and candidates enter into this industry often with a view of disrupting the norm. So how can companies attract the right talent and skillsets if they are not rewriting the recruitment process?

The steep learning curve can be overwhelming for new entrants into the industry. Therefore, education is a key area of growth for all new candidates exploring new Web3 careers. In addition, the fast-paced development of technology can leave many employers scrambling to understand the experience levels required.

I sat down with Paul Owen, Co-Founder of Recruit Block to discuss the challenges of recruiting in Web3. As founder of a leading Web3 blockchain-specific talent management company, he works alongside clients and candidates looking for new opportunities for the last five years.

Transitioning from Web2 to Web3

What is the role of recruit block in the world of blockchain?

Our business is really focused on starting going into business. As companies move into the world of crypto, Web3 and Blockchain we’re really here to help those companies scale. We are working with lots of startups and there is a huge demand for the right talent now.

“There are lots of people looking to transition from Web2 to Web3. It is our role to guide them towards careers that have the right amount of innovation and give them developmental opportunities that they may no longer see for themselves in Web2 industries.”

As candidates seek out the open roles within the world of Web3 I asked Owen how they should start with this transition phase.

“I think fundamentally candidates should do some reading, do some research and that’s the starting point. Everybody takes the first step into this space at some point in time, some people did that four or five years ago and are making great careers for themselves in the space,” says Owen.

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“It’s a growing space and we’re still really at the beginning of our journey. To fully take advantage of this emerging industry, one would need to get an understanding of the space and understand the fundamentals of the technology too. You don’t have to be an expert on DLT, or blockchain technology, but have a core understanding of the technology, and understand the impact of that technology,” he continues.

Using Web2 Skills in an emerging industry

As the teams working on Web3 products and services grow so too do the requirements for a wide range of skill sets, including some of the softer skills that are immediately transferable from the world of Web2 where the vast majority of experienced candidates still reside. Is there potential for sales, marketers, product managers, client services and customer care roles?

Interestingly, Owen mentions that candidates should consider whether it’s a space that they can become an advocate for. As the industry is new and only beginning to reach out to the wider public an important attribute for many projects in the hiring process is whether new employees will actively advocate for the benefits of getting involved in Web3.

Now let’s look at recruitment from the other side. What are Web3 companies looking for most in the candidates they seek to employ for Web3 projects?

Keeping an open mind

“Aside from the technical skills, they’re looking for people with open minds. People who are happy to step into different areas of expertise.” 

This is especially true in startups or businesses that are starting to scale. Owen explains that an individual may have one area of expertise but not working in a siloed manner is important. “Being happy to work outside of the core area of expertise is something that a candidate coming into work in Web3 should be prepared for.”

Owen also believes that embracing uncertainty is a quality that many future candidates may need. As blockchain and crypto is an emerging space there isn’t the same level of stability you could find in Web2. Market fluctuations can have a knock-on impact on a project’s roadmap.

Challenging traditional ways of work

The people, teams and projects developing in Web3 are proof that times have changed dramatically. In 2022, technology enables us to connect with colleagues anywhere at any time, remote or hybrid work is the new norm, companies are thinking outside the box to attract top candidates. However, this is still the Web2 way of recruitment.

When considering the great resignation of experienced candidates, how can blockchain companies entice them to join the world of Web3? Is Web3 providing a space for people to transform their careers? Blockchain projects could be the key to unlocking new, unique ways of work that challenge the standard 9 to 5 roles and existing processes. 

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