Review & Discuss: Exec search agency working with DXdao for hiring Marketing Lead

With the successful placement of Nissa Szabo as the Marketing Lead for DXdao, this could potentially be the first time any DAO has utilized an executive search agency. We wanted to take a moment to recap our process here and see where there are opportunities for improvement in working with DXdao. From here, we will then look to share those learnings with other daos.

Process Overview:

Winning the job:
After getting recommended by a key contributor, our team joined DXdao’s weekly DAOtalk to introduce ourselves and our methodology of executive search. We then put forward a work proposal outlining our process and cost in writing to the Forum. Key contributors discussed our proposal and signaled support once we put the plan formally on-chain via xDAI. The process of using Alchemy could certainly be improved, but we were warned about this by the team.

Kick-off:
The KO Call consisted of the DAO’s primary interview team (HR Lead, Comm Lead, and the Contributors) responsible for heading up each of the Collective’s products (Omen, Swapr, etc). During the call, we discussed priorities and a high-level roadmap of the products to be able to share with candidates. We also dove deep into what makes DXdao unique and the origin story of the collective.

Companies sourced:
Not many people have “prior DAO experience” so our target candidates needed to come from somewhere. So we set about examining the present and past teams across the crypto, fintech, and open source spaces.

  • Total companies sourced: 350+ (including 150+ DAO/Defi protocols, 75+ “crypto companies”, and 25 open-source firms.)
    • Note: most of the DAO’s and protocol-based firms did not have marketing personnel identifiable online. This talent market is also uniquely hard to find due to semi-anonymity.

Outreach:
In our outreach, we emphasized DXdao being completely on-chain, the number of contributors (425+) and aspirations of scaling into the thousands, and the fact this is an opportunity to set Marketing Strategy in a greenfield space.

Pipeline

  • Total # of candidates reached out to: 215
  • Engaged: 32
  • Responsive vs unresponsive: R: 92 / U: 122
  • Candidates submitted: 12

Interview process:
The interview process consisted of an initial screen by our team, followed by a write-up on the candidate’s exp and analysis on potential fit. The DXdao team would then review and move forward with candidates they were interested in learning more about. The candidates would move progressively through meeting DXdao’s HR Contributor, Comm Contributor, and each of the Product Leads.

Special note… During this process, they were also encouraged to join community and contributor calls. This step was highly unique to this hiring process. No traditional firm and most crypto companies would not want an outside person attending a weekly standup meeting. This gave each candidate a true sense of what it was like working with the DAO and how each contributor interacted within the community.

As the last step, the finalist was asked to put together a Work Proposal to share with the greater DAO in the Forum. This enabled the entire collective to provide feedback and visibility into the vision of what this hire would bring to the table.

Closing the candidate:
The final stage of the search process was different from our typical searches in that it included a work proposal that was voted on by the community and a trial period. This process would be more typical with hiring a developer or freelancer but is not common in exec hires. Luckily, our candidate was consulting at the time and familiar with the crypto ecosystem so she was comfortable taking these steps. If the candidate had been full-time at a traditional company, this might have been too big of a leap of faith and could present obstacles in future hiring.

Nissa’s Contributor Proposal - on Daotalk

On-Chain: Alchemy | DAOstack

Analysis:
We saw a surprising level of interest in a completely novel type of organization. There has been a lot of press around DOAs and crypto increasing curiosity for the space, which presents a good opening for recruiting new people to the ecosystem.

Ideas around scaling hiring at DAOs:
One observation is the extent to which scaling DAO membership and onboarding is a blend of Employer Branding, Marketing, and Outbound Recruiting. Effectively scaling a DAO seems to consist of a multi-pronged approach. 1.) Utilizing a retained search resource or in-house outbound recruiting for highly specific roles and lead hires. 2.) Optimizing processes around “Employer”/DAO Branding, Referral Programs, and Onboarding/Trial Experience for more high volume and general contributor member additions. Identifying your primary member onramps whether it is Twitter, Discord, personal networks, SEO, etc, allows you to then build out personas and a set of best practices for each to efficiently convert potential member leads.

Areas for improvement:

  1. Trial period - It could be beneficial to eliminate or modifying the trial period for exec hires. Traditional companies will often have a work project that consists of the candidate committing to 2-5 hours of work which is then reviewed by the hiring company, but a month-long trial will present major issues for fully-employed individuals. Trial periods could also cause the candidate to fall out of the process if competing offers are presented without the trial process.

  2. Comp negotiations - DXdao has strict comp bands, which can be common in many larger companies. However, every exec hire has unique challenges in making a deal work. Some candidates care most about base pay while others are more motivated by equity (or tokens). Sometimes, a signing bonus might be needed if the new hire would require paying a penalty for leaving their current company (e.g. relocation bonuses sometimes need to be repaid if the person leaves within a year). Negotiating comp packages for execs will present problems for DAOs but also could be a source of opportunity in creating new types of employment agreements based on the quality of output versus time.

Any and all feedback from the DXdao team is highly encouraged. We enjoyed working with everyone and look forward to watching your success and contributing where possible.

Thanks!
Trey, Chase, and the team at Position

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Thank you for this detailed summary of the executive recruiting process between DXdao and Position. There are many challenges we face as a DAO and recruiting is definitely near the top of that list. We are trying to find more ways to improve our recruiting processes in hopes to tackle this challenge and appreciate your analysis and suggestions. We will find ways to implement these moving forward. Furthermore, we are happy to have @nissa in our DXdao community!

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