From placing attention-grabbing job ads to screening thousands of potential candidates for various positions, web3 recruitment agencies significantly contribute to the growth of the web3 job market. , the founder of Owen Healy Blockchain Talent and a leading pioneer in blockchain recruitment, recently sat down with Olayimika Oyebanji for a discussion about web3 recruitment and its challenges. Owen Healy Owen, what were you doing before you ventured into Web 3? Before working in blockchain recruitment, I worked in HR for several years. Through that, I gained a lot of experience building teams ‘in-house’ e.g. getting budgets approved, scanning resumes, conducting interviews, reference checking etc. It was one aspect of HR that I really enjoyed, but I never once thought of becoming an agency recruiter. To be honest, at the time, I found agency recruiters repulsive. I avoided them as much as possible, both as a candidate and hiring manager. However, during the pandemic, I found myself unemployed with few options at my disposal and that was what kickstarted my career in blockchain recruitment. I was fascinated by the underlying tech and how Bitcoin could radically improve the lives of billions across the globe. I remember stumbling across Bitcoin when randomly googling ‘internet money’ and within minutes, I was hooked. Ever since, I’ve always had a ‘fix the money, fix the world’ mindset. The problem was that I did not really know how I could join the industry full-time. Similarly, as I was not a developer or a marketer; I didn’t really know how I could make an impact. Then, during the pandemic when I had more time on my hands, I started to connect with people on LinkedIn who I believed could help me. Things sort of took off from there. I joined the space at the beginning of 2021 just as the VC money started flowing into the space. One of the toughest challenges for people making a career transition is getting started. What would you say to anyone looking to join the space? Yes, I understand. It can be daunting at first. I was in the same situation a few years ago. The market is slowly picking up, but on the whole, the past year has been grim for web3 jobseekers. There are fewer roles and it’s very much an employer-driven market. A lot of people with exceptional ‘web3’ experience are unemployed through no fault of their own, struggling to find a new opportunity. Trust me, if you are in a ‘web2’ role that you enjoy and are getting well paid, there are a lot of ‘web3 rockstars’ envious of your position. Therefore, to those looking to commit full-time to web3, I would say explore it first,educate yourself, join a DAO, network with people in the industry, help bootstrapped entrepreneurs pro-bono etc. Most importantly, dip your toe in the water and decide whether or not this space is for you. For anyone exploring the space with a view to working in it full-time, I would say find an ecosystem that particularly interests you, network with people deeply involved in that ecosystem and showcase your talent by assisting one or two early-stage projects within that ecosystem pro-bono. It may only be for an hour or two each week. In doing so, you will quickly build credibility within that ecosystem and from there opportunities will arise. Most roles in the space are filled via word of mouth so the saying ‘your network is your net worth’ couldn’t be more valid. From an educational perspective, I would advise anyone that is crypto-curious to complete the University of Nicosia’s Digital Currency course. It's a free 12-week program perfect for newbies. By completing that, you’re highlighting a genuine proof of interest to prospective employers. I understand the next intake is sometime next month,what I would recommend people do is embrace the power of LinkedIn. It is a wonderful networking and personal branding tool. If you use it correctly, you will find that it will open a lot of doors for you. Another recommendation I would share is to attend any web3 meet-ups or hackathons in your area. You can’t beat meeting people IRL especially if you’re a so-called ‘hidden gem’. Is it more difficult to get a job in Web 3 than in Web 2? That's true to an extent. What we refer to as ‘web3’ is just getting started. In fact, there are more developers working at some corporations than there are monthly active web3 developers. In the grand scheme of things, the blockchain scene is still relatively small. If you are a cryptographer or rust developer you will have no problem switching from web2 to web3, but for most professionals, it’s significantly more difficult. There is a learning curve too. Whether you are an experienced web2 marketer or developer, the playbook in web3 is often completely different. That said, I do feel that some web3 projects can be very narrow-minded when hiring. Some fail to appreciate how skills gained in web2 can be applied in web3. Of course, the bear market is not helping things either. The past 8-9 months have been brutal. There have been numerous high-profile layoffs. Competition for jobs is fierce, especially across non-technical disciplines and salaries in areas such as marketing and design have taken a significant hit. What is different about hiring in web3? I would say that roles are generally filled quicker. Additionally, most teams operate on a fully remote basis so employers generally don’t mind where one is located so long as there is no significant disparity in timezone. I guess, from a personal perspective, I would say that having a good grasp of the underlying technology is imperative. Developers, in particular, seem to appreciate you the more if you are able to ask decent follow-up questions. Moreover, a lot of these senior blockchain developers are already ETH rich so many of them are not in a rush. In order to arouse their interest, you really need to know a lot about your client’s product offering and roadmap when speaking to them. What is the biggest challenge in web3 hiring? Where do I start?! All in all, you need to have a good BS detector. You meet a lot of spoofers. For example, I recently spoke to someone looking for a DeFi Engineer. There was no website so when I asked for details about the project, they weren’t prepared to share any information about what they were building nor were they willing to comment on who was funding them so I politely said ‘I can’t help you’. Similarly, you also need to know how professional your client is about hiring. You don't want to be working with a project that sends dozens of candidates through 7/8 rounds of interviews. It leaves a bad taste in the mouth of candidates and naturally, they will be reluctant to work with you on other roles. As I said, your network is your net worth and you can’t jeopardize the trust of that network. Web3 is a tight-knit industry and I have found that integrity goes a long way. I guess from a recruitment perspective, I stopped using Telegram and Discord some time ago. Both platforms are littered with Lazarus Group developers. And lastly, you need to be extremely passionate about what you do. I’m loving it so far and have been lucky enough to hire 77 people from 31 different countries, but it’s not been easy. I’m constantly working and I’m realistic enough to appreciate that it's not sustainable long-term. I plan on bulking up my team over the coming months so hopefully, once they are settled in I’ll be able to find some more ‘me time’. How is blockchain going to transform the world? How long do you have?! Let’s just say, we’re in for an interesting couple of years.