March 4, 2021

Hiring 101 For Founders with Rocket Ships

After startups raise money, the next hardest thing is hiring. Hiring is the most impactful thing a founder can do.
If you don’t hire well, you will not be successful. All companies are the sum of the teams' talent. You can't build by yourself, and you can't train a subpar hire to do extraordinary work.

How Good Your Hire Is Always Depends on How Well You Hire

As founders, we really struggled with finding and hiring blockchain talent for every project. Through trial and error, we finally figured out how to do it for ourselves. But soon we were applying our framework with all our clients. With our sourcing strategy in place, our clients found the blockchain talent they needed to raise money and launch their product.

In total, our clients raised over $370 million and when people ask how we did it, we always tell them it was the talent. The success or failure always traces back to the quality of hires made. Talent is the defining factor for your startup. It’ll either be the fuel you need for ignition or the gravity that keeps you from getting off the ground. Who you get to hire depends on how well you hire. Want to know what you’re up against? Let’s dive in.

Challenges of Hiring Blockchain Talent

If no one knows your company yet, you'll have trouble attracting top talent. Unless you have a noteworthy background, successful exists, broad network, etc. If you're bootstrapping or haven't raised capital yet, the difficulty is even greater.
This means you'll need a solid strategy and work it hard to find the best-fit candidates. You'll also need to become a master at selling them your company, your vision, and the culture of the existing team. Hiring is a two-way street - you're interviewing them, but they're also interviewing you to see if they want to work at your company, work on impressing them.

✅ To make your hiring processes smooth, use this Remote Hiring Checklist

High Competition For Top Blockchain Talent

The challenge is obvious: competition is fierce. The supply of blockchain engineering talent isn't sufficient to meet the industry demand.
Leveraging the expertise of a recruiting agency that has a full network of “passive” top talent they can tap is critical. Top talent isn't applying on job boards, taking coding quizzes online or joining talent marketplaces, they don't need to do any of that and they know it.
Recruiting talent for the blockchain industry requires a combination of technical knowledge, industry expertise, competitiveness and passion. At Core Hunters we possess those qualities in spades.

Every hire is a high risk/high reward investment

Yes, this thought is scary, but it’s also your advantage. The ability for a single team member to make a massive impact is oftentimes the thing that draws candidates towards startups over larger companies.
Explaining your vision of success—and how it differentiates you from the rest of your market—refocuses the way candidates see your company. Instead of thinking your startup is an underdog going head-to-head with bigger companies, candidates can understand joining your startup would be a one-of-a-kind opportunity.

How To Find Top Blockchain Talent

Craft Your Employer Value Proposition

  • Vision questions you need to answer:
  • What is your vision for the company?
  • What technology or strategy differentiates your startup?

How big is your addressable market—and how are you going to win it?
If you're feeling pressure, focus on crafting a compelling value proposition for future hires. It should be succinct and speak to the employee motivations laid out in the last section:

  • Is this the candidate's chance to be an early employee at a billion-dollar company?
  • Is the candidate going to work on problems that an executive would usually work on?
  • Is the candidate going to be given the freedom to build?

Answer these in a single sentence, you have a pretty compelling case for why someone would want to join your team.
Beyond the social impact of the work they do, candidates also like knowing they will have an opportunity to impact within their company. They want to know they'll be exposed to key problems in the business and have real decision-making power.
Impact questions you need to answer:


  • What decision-making power will the hire have for core areas of the business?
  • How can an individual team member impact your customers?
  • How much can hires participate in high-level business decision processes?

Culture questions you need to answer:

  • How have team members contributed to, and changed your culture?
  • What kind of people find success on your team?
  • What kind of people don't tend to feel at home there?

Talent Sourcing

Sourcing Strategies or Where/How To Find The Hidden Gems

To find good early-stage hires, you'll need to lean on personal referrals and hiring platforms. In your later stages, you'll have a strong company brand that drives huge numbers of inbound candidates, making recruiting a breeze. But right now, you almost do not.

Leverage Your Network

Your personal network and those of your advisors will be a rich source for early referrals. After that, platforms like AngelList will be direct paths to leading candidates.

Create an outbound sourcing strategy

In order to locate, reach out to, and acquire high-caliber candidates, you need to develop a strategy to drive outbound applicants to meet your numbers. To do this, you need to know the answers to three essential questions:

  • Where and how do I find that kind of candidate?
  • How do I reach out to these candidates?
  • How do I engage these candidates and get them to apply?

Define the characteristics of an ideal candidate before searching online

The job description for each open role outlines what you’re looking for in a new hire: it needs to be boiled down to a few key components in order to be useful in online sourcing.

Step 1: Define the search

With the job description in front of you, summarize the following elements of the job in a few short bullets:

  • What companies do the kind of work the person in this role will do?
  • What job titles reflect the kind of work the role will involve?

Example for a Solidity Developer at a blockchain startup:

  • What does this person need to accomplish to be successful?
  • Grow revenue
  • Hire and manage a team
  • What companies do the kind of work the person in this role will do?
  • Coinbase
  • Consensys
  • OnGraph Technologies

What job titles generally encompass the kind of work the role will involve?

  • Smart Contract Developer
  • Solidity Developer
  • DeFi Solidity Engineer
  • Blockchain Lead
  • P2P Network Engineer
  • DeFi Product Manager
  • Front-end UI/UX Developer for Exchanges, Crypto Wallets, landing pages, etc

Step 2: Prepare your search terms

This is the information you’ll use to search online candidate marketplaces. To continue with our example of the blockchain engineer role, you should first search LinkedIn.
Don't just type in “Blockchain engineer, Los Angeles.” Instead, use specific roles and companies of interest like:
“Blockchain Software Engineer” OR “Developer” AND “Ethereum” OR “Solidity” OR “DeFi” OR “Smart Contracts” OR “Crypto”

Focus your search

There are hundreds of online candidate marketplaces. Some are huge while others are more targeted to a specific type of profession.

Step 1: Research candidates working in similar positions for competitors.

Step 2: Select relevant sites from the list below to create a short-list of places to search for the specific role you're trying to fill:

Where To Reach Candidates

Once you have conducted research and crafted a high-quality job description, your next step is to advertise the job on recruitment marketing channels. These channels will be chosen based on preliminary research and can differ based on job category. The three primary recruitment marketing channels are:

  • General Job Boards. Play a key role in inbound traffic and offer simplicity, affordability, and speed. Also, they offer programmatic campaigns that allow machine learning to shift your budget to your best-performing positions. This increases performance and lowers costs.
  • Niche Job Boards. Effective for reaching specific candidates. StackOverflow is the go-to platform for tech talent, for example. For almost any career, there is a corresponding job site. Make sure to review costs and audience metrics to evaluate each platform.
  • Social Media. Reaches billions of users each month. It is an ideal channel to target candidates. Platforms like Facebook offer specific advertising options for employers. It’s key to know exactly where your candidates spend their time: your job posting, available as a hyperlink, can be tweeted and shared on Facebook between interested parties you've targeted.

Evaluating is just as critical. The number-one thing you need to assess in candidates is their eagerness to build something. If working on hard problems and discovering new solutions isn't a primary motivator, they are not going to thrive at an early-stage startup.

Crypto Job Boards

Series A-C startup-specific job boards

  • Startupers
  • AngelList
  • StartUpHire
  • TheMuse

Great sites for IT and developer sourcing

  • Verity Recruiting
  • GitHub Jobs
  • HankerRank
  • StackOverflow
  • Dice

Crypto channels and sources

1. Blockchain and crypto subsections on well-known resources. For example Crypto Jobs on Indeed.

2. Special Crypto Job boards:

3. Crypto sections on Top Freelance Platforms:

Important note for crypto field

You shouldn't give up on LinkedIn searches, but keep in mind that many IT people in the crypto industry prefer anonymity. They more often use Telegram (also, as a tribute to TON, Gram, and Pavel Durov) and encrypted messengers. Your recruiters and sourcers are unlikely to be able to source them super successfully by first and last names. They use symbolic usernames and abstract avatars. However, not always.

Sourcing Passive Candidates

Passive candidates are the key reasons we recommend working with a recruitment industry that specializes in your niche. They know who the top talent that would be compelled to make a move is.
For effective crypto sourcing, you should check every single found record on "{Your specific niche: DeFi / Ethereum / Solidity / etc} developers community"

Sourcing Passive Candidates

  • Check the core recourse related to specific technology or language. For example, for Ethereum and related fields, it's Ethereum Community Forum
  • Check core GitHub Repos. Your recruiter or tech sourcer should know how to get to the talent from these sources. E.g. the big Ethereum repo collection, Solidity GitHub, and so on.
  • Telegram Communities for Crypto Devs
  • Gitter, Slack, and Discord channels for specific groups of engineers. E.g., huge Gitter Ethereum Chat.
  • Go to Coingecko's specific Token page and see section "Source code" for GitHub link and section "Community". E.g. Ethereum on Coingecko
  • Visit crypto Facebook groups, subscribe to key Twitter accounts (your recruiter will find a lot of subscribers there), to subreddits on Reddit.

Why Use a Specialized Recruitment Agency To Find Crypto Talent

An agency partner should be a trusted advisor not a salesperson. They will help you react to the right talent for the right reasons. Your agency partner can give you peace of mind that you are hiring that person at the most competitive rate, taking into account cost of living, market compensation, skill set, and internal equality at your organization.
Specialized agencies are your gateway to over 92% of the candidate target market.

Save on Costs In the Long Run

The top 15% of candidates are motivated to make a career change based on four fundamental factors (other than money). Offering a higher salary doesn't guarantee a stronger candidate.
By mapping the entire candidate market and utilizing various strategies to create authority in the marketplace, you will increase your viability, credibility, and engagement with the top
Once visible, the speed to identify, qualify attract, and hire leadership talent increases.

Get Access To Hard To Reach, Top Talent Candidates

They know the market inside out, deep networks, and pre-vetted candidates in the pipeline
They have relationships with desirable passive candidates and know which angle to approach which candidate with. They don’t start from scratch
They provide the insight you’d never otherwise have during the hiring process to the candidates’ decision-making process and can sell candidates the role and keep them excited throughout the process.

Working With An Agency Speeds Up The Hiring Process 2-3x

Working with an agency means they will do the heavy lifting, handling the entire process including crafting the compelling job description, all you’ll need to do is show up 150% at the interview stage and make those decisions. The recruitment agency will also reduce your risk of hiring the wrong person because they have a guarantee for up to 6 months and free replacements.

Why Core Hunters

Vision is everything, but knowing how to sell that vision to candidates is difficult. We’ve been there. We know how to sell your role to talent, what resonates, and what falls flat. We have talent pools with candidates we’ve already pre-vetted. This enables us to quickly interview 10-20 candidates and provide you with a shortlist of our top five. All the candidates you interview will have the hard and soft skills you need and be an excellent culture fit for your team. Let us handle the sourcing, qualification, and interview scheduling, so you can focus on making the best hire.

✅ Besides, make sure to check out our Product Manager Case Study for the Crypto project

If you’re ready to take your blockchain startup to the next level, give us a call. We’ll help you find matching talent that can deliver on your ambition.

This article was originally posted at It's our Portfolio Project specialized in Blockchain and Crypto Recruitment Industry.
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