Web3 hiring culture. What can we improve?

22 Jun 2024

Hi Web3 job seekers! Daria Strategy here 🙌🏻

I’m a growth marketing lead, brand strategist, and communications expert working with blockchain and crypto projects. I increase brand awareness and build relations between Web3 projects and users, developers, and VC funds. I’m also a member of various communities, an active participant, and a speaker at Ethereum-related events like ETHWarsaw, ETHBucharest, and others.

I do love the ideology and purpose of the Web3 industry, but its hiring culture sucks and needs to be reinvented.

As a member of this community, I'm well aware of the challenges faced by candidates who want to join blockchain-powered projects. From the teams' perspective, it's the same situation: many of them mention that the candidates' pool is still small despite 300-1000 applications for one role.

In the past, I have experience working as Head of Employer Brand in a bank with 6,000 employees, and I know how the process of hiring people of various specialties can be organized. That's why I see how "raw" recruitment and team development in Web3 is.

This article includes my experience and opinion as well as the thoughts and recommendations from the Web3 recruiter, CMO, and board director of the Cartesi Foundation on improving the hiring culture. So, please make yourself comfortable and let's figure out the employment culture in Web3 together!

Why do so many people want to join Web3 companies?

This screenshot reflects the current state of the job market on Web3. I took it from a recruiter on LinkedIn, which shows the ratio between the number of those seeking and hiring. As you can see, many people want to join the companies that operate in the blockchain and crypto markets.


This one is much closer to blockchain/crypto mass adoption than the previous cycles. This makes the industry attractive to VC funds because they see the growing market and invest in projects that can bring more users and a quick return on investment via tokens or profit.

This young market flooded with VC money. No other industry, except AI, has such quick access to big money.

The main reasons to join Web3 projects as an employee:

🤑 The salary range is higher than in other industries + additional bonuses in tokens and options. For most countries, a salary of $50-60K per year is considered above average or even high. For blockchain companies, this is not much, and the wages of experienced specialists start at $80K and above. In the USA, considering taxes, the salary level is even higher. This motivates people to change professions and build their careers in Web3.

✈️ Distributed teams and full remote mode. You can work from any country and continent, be digital-crypto-nomad and spend more time with your family or hobbies.

🌍 People from developing countries can earn more in technological projects than is possible in their homelands. This gives impetus to the development of the community and entire regions. You can work without connection to the local employment requirements that may not fit your goals.

🧠 Open-minded people full of ideas. You can always learn something new from your teammates and community members. People in web3 often look and act more freely than those in traditional industries. Colored hair, piercings, tattoos, creative clothes, laptop stickers and more - you can see all this at any builders' meetup.

However, my recent pool on LinkedIn shows that a smooth experience during the hiring process in Web3 is pretty rare. Of course, 11 people cannot reflect the whole market picture. Still, my observations and personal communication with people confirm the low level of matches between companies' and candidates' expectations.


Hi, Daria here!

My experience of being a non-tech candidate in Web3

After several years in the crypto and blockchain industry, I did not expect to face the problem of finding a job in Web3. After the position of Brand Marketing Director of one of the well-known British crypto companies, it seemed logical that companies would want to work with an experienced marketing and brand growth manager.

The "bear market" has made life more difficult for many Web3 folks, especially for non-technical professionals.

In my case, I’m a Ukrainian woman who lives abroad and is not ready to work for a low salary or hypothetical tokens in the future because I have 10 years of experience in marketing and a great understanding of the blockchain/crypto market principles.

These are only a few examples of feedback I got from recruiters or hiring managers during my job search:

  • "The team wants people ONLY from the tier 1 companies to join their Web3 startup";

  • "You don't have 20,000 Twitter followers, so you can't be responsible for our marketing" ;

  • "You don't have experience in managing 100 people";

  • “Your test task is excellent; you did a great market analysis and had a creative approach to communication strategy. However, we will not go further with you because we want someone who has already worked in a similar company”.

But often, there is no feedback. This is "hiring ghosting" when company representatives disappear because they can't give feedback or explain the decision-making criteria.

I won't reveal a secret and surprise anyone if I say that "hiring ghosting" and rejections affect self-esteem and increase stress levels for everyone. Impostor syndrome and the search for things that can be improved is exhausting. It took me a while to accept that my case is not unique and that many people go through the same thing.

I made a mistake in devaluating my non-crypto experience, thinking no one was interested in knowing that I worked with global brands for 6 years and created advertising campaigns and videos (from ideas to working with studios, film directors and post-production teams).

That’s true, many may not be really interested in your "samurai path" and past experience, but you should value yourself, your time, and the lessons you have learned over the years.

I've had many interviews, and I can easily understand if there is a match with the company. Now, I don't waste time responding to the non-personalized mailings on LinkedIn. Instead, I prefer personalized communication and asking questions that help me clarify the company's vision for the role and plans for the future.

Below, I have described the main challenges that candidates face when seeking a job in Web3. Some of the points can be relevant to you.

The hiring process in Web3 is challenging. Why?

Most blockchain and crypto projects are created by developers/engineers. These people are great at technologies but often struggle to run a consistent business, scale a team, and hire non-technical people (marketers, designers, recruiters, event managers, etc.) to enhance the product, communications, and internal culture. Some founders even ask friends from other companies, consultants or coaches to help them hire "someone non-technical.”

Reason 1: You must be crypto-native and run fast 🏃

Working in the industry requires deep knowledge of how blockchain works, the features of different networks, an understanding of DeFi, ReFi, SocialFi (and other terms ending with Fi), constant testing of new products, and the ability to combine knowledge from different fields and learn on the fly.

true story

However, in addition to having hard skills and knowledge in the industry, you need to understand the context and culture.

If you don't understand who Vitalik is and what GM and LFG mean, have never visited the GitHub website, or have never heard of Farcaster, think that DYOR is just a misspelled Dior brand name and airdrop is just a data transfer function on your iPhone, it could be difficult to catch everything that is happening.

Being a Web3-native means to be involved in the industry for 100%.

Mastering all these skills and knowledge is challenging for many and requires constant self-development and investment of time, energy, and emotional resources. Some people are not ready for such a high workload, but it depends on the person and their career and life expectations.

When it comes to hiring tech professionals, there are some moments you must pay attention to. I asked Carsten Munk a few questions about his hiring experience. Carsten is a board director at the Cartesi Foundation, and he loves everything related to verified computing.

Carsten Munk

What do you pay attention to when hiring someone for your team?

Carsten: For a tech hire, on a technical basis, what matters to me is how they approach a problem, deal with issues that appear, or locate information to solve a problem—because when you want to have them approach an issue, you want to know how they’ll do it.

I don’t care much about them being able to do leetcode tests or recite every page of a computer science book because coding and this space move too fast for that.

What words or behavior of the candidate during the interview can be a "red flag" for you?

Carsten: If there are inconsistencies in their story about who they are (probably North Korean hackers), they don’t ask for help, aren’t happy to step outside their comfort zone, and are too focused on the payment side or incentives rather than the mission.

How important is it for the tech candidate to have good soft skills?

Carsten: I think it helps to have some kind of soft skills to be part of a team and understand and say when you’re underwater with a problem. You want to have people that you like working with.

Reason 2: “We’re open, but only tier 1 companies alumni are welcome“ 🥇

Often, Web3 founders want to hire "unicorns" who have already worked at their direct competitor's company (which is quite difficult because the market is still small and many projects have existed for over a year) or corporations like Google, Meta, or Coinbase. There is a bias in the market that ONLY those people can understand the startup's idea.

This is an understandable desire if the project is widely known and has a strong employer brand. However, if the company was created recently, few people know about it yet, and there are not many suitable candidates with crypto experience, the situation looks close to absurd. For this reason, many Web3 projects cannot fill some positions for a long time (from 6 to 18 months) because the number of people with experience in the categories of companies described above is limited, and only a few people are ready to switch from the well-known projects to high-risk startups.

The industry is obsessed with logos and big names. This means that many hiring decisions are made based on projects' desire to have an employee from a well-known company on the team. This is explained by getting a unique experience and a specific corporate culture, making raising investments easier. Still, there is also a desire to shift the responsibility for hiring a new team member (albeit indirectly) to the previous employer, recognized by the industry.

Reason 3: The Web3 industry is not experienced in hiring non-tech team members 😰

If you check out job aggregators like Web3 Career, you will find that the same job titles can contain opposite functions. For example, in one project, the Growth Manager has the same function as the Head of Marketing; in another, it can be a Business Development Manager; in the third, it can be a Social Media Manager focusing on Twitter. This happens less often in traditional businesses because they are more mature, and their roles and responsibilities have already been tested over time.

One of the recruiters I discussed the position admitted that he had never hired marketers for a Web3 company, only engineers. So, he apologized in advance for questions that may seem weird or superficial. This is a unique case when someone warns about their little experience hiring non-technical specialists. I thanked him for being honest with me.

However, most recruiters don't say this. As a result, sometimes, they can't answer questions about the requirements and expectations for a candidate for a CMO role, or any other marketing role. This creates a situation where the candidate does not receive enough attention to knowledge and skills because the person on the other side of the screen has experience hiring developers and doesn’t perceive unfamiliar information.

In the picture below, you can see the posts by Ish Verduzco (Head of Social at a16zcrypto) and Elizabeth McFaul (Web3 Product Marketer). They are Web3 marketing and communications professionals who highlight the challenges of hiring non-technical/creative professionals:

Screenshots from X (Twitter)

Reason 4: “You are not my crypto-bro“ 🤦‍♀️

While the previous two challenges applied to all candidates, this one applies exclusively to women. Despite the statements about inclusivity and equality, crypto is still a male-focused industry. Women are often treated with distrust and condescension. A bit of narrow thinking for such an open-minded industry, yeah?

At least there are no queues near the women's restrooms ;)

I was lucky enough not to encounter direct sexism or misogyny. Still, in some interviews, I was asked banal and basic questions to check if I REALLY understand how distributed networks work and how Proof-of-Work differs from Proof-of-Stake. I don’t think, that these questions are addressed to men who have the same experience in the industry as I do.

I asked Alexandra Nicorici about prejudices or snobbery during her hiring process on Web3. Alexandra has worked with early-stage startups for over a decade, taking on roles as CMO, business dev and partnerships. She has helped a marketplace become number one in its industry in less than 12 months and raised $1M in crowdfunding for a tech startup in less than 3 hours. Besides leading the growth of Bybit in Romania, she is now part of Web3 communities of marketers and builders. She drives the Web3 marketing trends conversation through her Out of Ordinary podcast.

Here is what Alexandra answered:

Alexandra: I have been told, “You are the smartest woman I’ve met in Web3,” as if everyone was stupid or not intelligent enough as per their standard. So, it is extremely tough to be a woman in the Web3 space as you see a lot of misogyny both in how people treat you at business meetings and IRL events.

In the hiring process, I’ve been treated as apparently nice, but I’ve always felt that I’m not good enough or treated in a certain way—and I do believe a man would have received more respect than that or the expectations from their skills would have been lower. As a woman, I feel like you are being held to a certain standard of knowledge, which doesn’t apply to everyone in the space.

What should we do to improve the Web3 hiring culture?

The answer to improving the hiring culture in Web3 should be based on the expertise of people with extensive experience in this industry. So, I asked Oleksii Minenko to share his opinion on the Web3 hiring process. Oleksii is a global Web3 recruiter with five years of experience. He is originally from Ukraine but has lived in Lithuania for the past seven years. He works within the Web3 industry by connecting the right people with the right companies.

You should read his recommendations if you're a hiring manager or job seeker in Web3.

Oleksii (Alex) Minenko

Oleksii, can you describe the Web3 hiring culture?

Oleksii: There are tons of details, and it depends on the company, but in general, it’s very similar to the one you can see in startups: with tons of “ideal candidate” requirements, somewhere awesome, somewhere toxic behavior, skipping the candidate’s experience, delays in feedback, but with loads of money, opportunities to make something really decent and valuable in terms of a product and, of course, work with the top edge tech.

It’s not a secret that you need to be that geek or guru for some of the positions, but sometimes employers just need to look deeper than just the years in your resume. While 10 years sounds like a long tenure for some, sometimes, 2-3 years within the challenging environment means more for the position the company wants to fill. So, I would say it’s more startup-like.

What is more important to be hired: your CV or knowing the right people?

Oleksii: This one is the eternal question of the whole recruitment field. You should have both. One is not enough. You could have the best CV but barely pass a pre-screening stage, where the recruiter checks the CV. In contrast, you might have the connections in a company but have less expertise than required. Sometimes, such things lead to nepotism and a toxic culture. Overall, networking is good.

As for the CV - keep it simple. If you can’t do it with white paper and black text, you won’t make it with graphs, figures, or pictures. Make it shorter yet descriptive enough and easy to read. Imagine you need to skim it to understand the experience of a person 🤷‍♂️

What can be fixed in the hiring culture in Web3?

Oleksii: Damn adequacy! The web3 field has been here for several years, and there are strong specialists out there, but it’s not that developed compared to a more traditional non-Web3 market. If we hire the same person who has worked in many similar companies, we will create a closed circle where no “fresh blood” is added.

What can you recommend to candidates who want to join Web3 projects?

Oleksii: For me, it was quite a random transition to Web3 recruitment, but now it works differently, so I guess overall understanding of a field where you want to lend + expertise within your current job. There is no difference compared to other sectors like fintech or cybersecurity. When you get a rejection, silence, or even worse - “no-reply” mail, try to ask for feedback. If none, say “Hasta La Vista!” and move to another company. Even if it takes 1000 attempts, your 1001st can be successful.

Alexandra NicoriciAlexandra Nicorici is convinced that participating in blockchain events and building a quality professional network can increase one's potential for hiring.

What can you recommend to candidates who want to join Web3 projects?

Alex: Network, learn, and build in public. Everyone suggests mostly getting into the company’s DMs, connecting to their current team, and participating in Discord. Build a social media presence if you don’t have one, write about them, and maybe ask for a quote. It can take more time, but I think it shows the strength of knowledge from your side, which can get you a long way. I started my own podcast and brought marketers to talk about what and how they built it, which has certainly opened many doors.

How do you stay resilient during the job search/hiring process?

Alex: Job searching in Web3 can be daunting, especially if you are looking for a non-technical role. The worst part is that impostor syndrome can kick like nobody’s business. My advice? Don’t stop learning and experimenting.

Growing a personal brand and experimenting with all types of tools and ideas on social media can be extremely valuable to your CV. Second best advice? Network as much as possible; X and IRL are probably the best places to do this. Last but not least, build a brand and document your journey. This will make you more confident in your skills and put you in front of people who want to work with you.

What can be fixed in the hiring culture in Web3?

Alex: The biggest issue is not the hiring process but the candidates' expectations. Many companies don’t know exactly what they need or want, and they are looking blindly in the dark. Some want a head of marketing who would take on 10 roles or a Head of marketing who would do content management 90% of their time. This is what needs to be fixed in Web3: understanding your needs and explaining that directly from the get-go so you save everyone’s time and adjust your expectations. You can’t bring someone with lots of web3 experience and be paid a junior salary: if you actually give people a chance, this chance might get you a long way. Secondly, I think we need to make the space nicer and more welcoming for everyone. It is still a very male and ego-dominated space, and we won’t be able to do mass adoption unless you fix our internal kitchen before.


Today’s market has changed and developed significantly compared to turbulent 2017. We see more blockchain networks, projects, and different roles, but the hiring culture needs improvement. The industry is still young and has unclear processes; some things are being done for the first time. This is neither good nor bad; it is an inherent evolution in any field.

Many women are trying to overcome the crypto-bro culture and break the "glass ceiling.” Mature blockchain and crypto companies such as Consensys, Avara, and Coinbase have policies to avoid discrimination based on gender, age, and other characteristics. The percentage of women working in these companies is higher than in others, which makes the work culture more balanced and diverse. However, most startups are still male-oriented.

Only a few in the Web3 field can hire marketers, PR managers, growth managers, copywriters, or designers. It is also surprising to see only engineers among the speakers at blockchain conferences, where UX and user acquisition are discussed. This must be changed if we want to see a thriving industry that attracts more people, both employees and users. This can be solved if everyone is more open to learning and accepting more than a code base on GitHub.

Despite all the challenges, authenticity, freedom (in the broadest sense), privacy, and democracy are valued more in Web3 than in other industries. When talking about your experience, add about your activities outside of work. If you organize local meetups, host a podcast, or volunteer, tell us about it; you will show that you are not just a professional but also an interesting and proactive person who participates in the community's life.

I wish everyone looking for a job or hiring a job to find the perfect match and grow together. Let's make Web3 a more open industry, not only in words but also in actions!

Read my previous articles about making blockchain as popular as AIlaunching a Web3 Project in 2024, and the Problems in the Crypto Market that EigenLayer Airdrop Has Highlighted.

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