MIP39c2-SP28: Adding Maker Talent Core Unit (MT-001)

MIP39c2-SP28: Adding Maker Talent Core Unit (MT-001)

Preamble

MIP39c2-SP#: 28
Author(s): @manomad_
Contributors: @synesthesia
Tags: core-unit, cu-mt-001, mandate
Status: RFC
Date Applied: 2021-12-08
Date Ratified: <yyyy-mm-dd>

Sentence Summary

MIP39c2-SP28 adds Core Unit MT-001: Maker Talent.

Paragraph Summary

Maker Talent’s purpose and objective is to recruit best-in-class talent for the Maker Protocol, targeted through innovative social recruiting practices and offering an outstanding candidate experience.

Specification

Motivation

The Problem

As MakerDAO and its Core Units grow, the need to connect with professionals in the blockchain industry is becoming a critical matter and requires both urgent attention and a long-term strategy.

Until now, Core Units have been growing by employing their own resources and personal network to locate the required talent. This strategy, however, is limited as MakerDAO scales up.

Observing the upcoming challenges for Maker in growth and adoption—and the struggle to find talent within such a small niche—, the lack of a recruitment strategy can compromise the success of MakerDAO.

We believe that a long-term solution to this problem is to be found in developing and maintaining an active pool of blockchain professionals who shall be enthusiastic about the Maker spirit and projects, so we may accelerate and facilitate their onboarding process when needed.

Core Unit Name

  • Name: Maker Talent

Core Unit ID

  • ID: MT-001

Core Unit Facilitators

Core Unit Mandate

Mission

Recruit best-in-class talent for the Maker Protocol, targeted through innovative social recruiting practices, and offering an outstanding candidate experience while being a reliable partner for MakerDAO’s hiring needs.

Vision

Build a thriving ecosystem of MakerDAO Core Units and integrated commercial projects, fulfilling their recruitment needs through Maker Talent as a one-stop shop for best talent in the blockchain. Maker Talent sources and recruits for the Maker Community in an efficient and transparent way, while providing state-of-the-art candidate experience.

Our Values

Strategy

Our primary strategy consists of four pillars that break down Maker Talent’s mission into actionable, early-stage roadmaps. To grow as a reliable partner for MakerDAO hiring needs, we need to align and streamline activities across these four pillars. To put it into detail, we must:

  1. Become a reliable hiring partner within MakerDAO.
  2. Utilize Social Recruiting as a main recruitment strategy.
  3. Find the best talent from across the blockchain world.
  4. Provide an outstanding candidate experience.

Let’s dive a bit deeper into the strategies mentioned. Here is how we apply them today, and how we will continue to make them actionable.

Become a Reliable Hiring Partner Within MakerDAO

The hiring market is a double-sided market. Providing a great candidate experience is just one side of the coin. The other side, however, places a requirement on us to be seen by the Core Unit Hiring Managers as the MakerDAO Hiring Agency.

  • Build a network of Subject Matter Experts to help filter and recruit best-in-class talent.
  • Create a central hub for all MakerDAO’s hiring needs, which is to be easily accessible by both hiring managers and candidates.
  • Act as a partner that understands the Core Unit needs and roadmap.
  • Deliver candidates that match requirements within a reasonable timeframe.
  • Provide continuous insights about market status and candidate’s funnel.
  • Create an easy-to-follow and automated registration process to request new hires.

Utilize Social Recruiting as a Main Recruitment Strategy

Blockchain talent experts and developers alike are often prominent within social networks both on and offline. We must be sure to seek them out through both inbound and outbound strategies.

  • Set up easily identifiable branding for Maker Talent that at the same time promotes MakerDAO.
  • Develop recruiting strategies for Twitter, Github and Stack Overflow, among others.
  • Offer crystal-clear and fair referral programs to increase talent pull effect by MakerDAO itself.
  • Deliver workshops and keynotes on a range of hiring and retention topics.
  • Sponsor and attend industry events attracting young yet-undiscovered talents.

Find the Best Talent from across the Blockchain World

  • Invest in apps and tools to reach the best developers within their communities.
  • Attract top candidates by creating a process that is fun, insightful, and enriching.
  • Train recruiters so they can acquire the needed expertise in terms of social recruiting, sourcing, and the MakerDAO business domain.
  • Create a clear and easy process for candidates to apply for future opportunities: backed up by a team focused on nurturing our talent pool, conducting proactive interviews, and attending fairs and blockchain events.

Provide an Outstanding Candidate Experience

As talent is scarce within the crypto sphere, we need to ensure that we provide an experience that is fair, involving, and transparent to the potential candidate. Regardless of the final decision, candidates should regard time spent in the recruitment process as valuable, contributing to their individual growth.

  • Act as a partner to candidates so as to assist them in interview preparation, explaining the process in detail, and aligning expectations at all stages.
  • Train interviewers (hiring managers and recruiters) on interviewing skills.
  • Optimise and promote our software to track candidates (Applicant Tracking System or ATS) as an easy-to-use tool for hiring by training interviewers with insightful and useful videos and workshops.
  • Compensate candidates for carrying out complex technical tests.
  • Prepare a set of communication materials to guarantee that candidates are properly informed about the position and conditions, as well as MakerDAO projects and our roadmap.
  • Continually improve the performance of recruiters, hiring managers, and everyone involved in the process by sharing qualitative feedback and KPIs from candidate surveys.
  • Make sure that effective and personalised feedback is sent to all unsuccessful candidates.
  • Keep in touch and interact with our existing database of professionals to ensure we make the most of it.

Some Challenges We Will Face

Let’s consider a few real-world scenarios which are likely to pose a challenge for our endeavours and, as such, must be quickly mitigated.

Talent Scarcity

Blockchain talent is scarce. In addition to the basic hard skills, candidates need to outperform others in the new decentralised, distributed environment. What can we do to ensure we can reach them, and by what means?

Answer

Blockchain talent is rather rare. Here, you don’t post an offer and soon after have people applying like in other industries. Beyond this, it is—more often than not—difficult to find out the candidate’s real name and efficiently gather their contributions across social media.

It is necessary to connect with them through common interests and promote inbound recruitment. Some examples include events, webinars, sharing common practices, participating in meet-ups, and keeping in touch not only when you need them. The use of our community power is key: we need to transform every Maker stakeholder into a connection to the best talent.

Sub-par Candidate Quality

How do we make sure that we ask the right questions to assess candidates’ competence in an industry where everything changes so fast?

Answer

During interviews, we tend to be overly focused on how candidates respond. We are used to classic questions-vs-answer interviews: here, the outcome ends up being limited. Candidates tend to respond with the same type of answers so as to stay in the safe zone and reduce the risk of confrontation.

We need to create complex but realistic problems that are similar to the scenarios that Maker faces every day. We also need to promote candidate-interviewer interaction by asking more open and insightful questions. During an interview, the process can teach us much more than the final answer.

Giving acurate and immediate feedback, engaging by co-creating new solutions, and inspiring candidates with Maker’s vision and mindset is part of the essential skill set needed to get the most out of interviews and to guarantee a pleasant recruiting experience.

Measuring Performance the Right Way

A usual metric for recruitment agencies in the centralised world is the moment of “hire”. That puts quantity over quality. This simplistic strategy often disregards if and how long a successful hire stays at the position. Funds spent on the hiring process are thus easily wasted by short retention period and both time and resources needed to phase in a new candidate into their new position.

Answer

Creating a scalable and efficient recruitment machine for Maker may sometimes require the employment of recruitment agencies; however, we will try to avoid doing so as much as possible—for cost and quality reasons. Partnering with hiring managers with well-trained internal HR professionals is key in order to achieve this. The more engaged we keep our community with Maker’s vision and projects, the less help we will need from externals.

Coming Soon…

Recruitment is an urgent need at MakerDAO. However, there are other requirements that also deserve an action plan from Maker Talent. Despite my current limitation to recruitment, we will—as soon as we are fully operational—expand Maker Talent Core Unit into other areas impacting onboarding experience, training, contributor experience, retention, perks and benefits, and many others.

We already recruited nine professionals throughout the SES incubation programme and we are now working on another 8-10 openings for 2022 (to see the openings visit Maker Talent Openings Webpage).

Related Documents

6 Likes

I am a bit cautious about this proposal. Many core units have been able to onboard many new members on their own. Considering the proposed yearly budget is at least $1 million, which is a budget large enough to pay for several highly qualified members, I think the community should evaluate this proposal carefully.

2 Likes

No mention of diversity here. Do you value diversity? How will you structure the hiring process such that characteristics that shouldn’t matter do not factor into the hiring decision? To what extent can you blind hiring managers to sex, skin color, hair style, cultural origin, etc?

2 Likes

TBF, from speaking to (as an example) the Oracles team–they were previously having a hard time finding top-tier talent. Like you and I have probably met hundreds of folks looking to work in crypto–but top tier talent–ooff, hard to find. Agree?

And how do we attract the talent currently at the FAANGs of the world if we don’t have a lead?

BTW, they are stating that they have “already recruited nine professionals throughout the SES incubation programme”

3 Likes

I agree that talents are hard to find but I think if you can replicate or outsource for much lower budget. Like for example, why can’t they be a consulting company and get paid incentives on successful hires similar to many head hunters?

Also, I want details regarding 9 professionals hired via SES incubation programme. Are they just via their job posting on website? Or is it the Maker Talent team reaching out? How many they interviewed during this time?

If a majority was simply via website then all the community needs is a job posting website and maybe work with sites like LinkedIn and cryptojobs

2 Likes

Very valid point. I had a friend who was a headhunter and he had to eat glass before his Rolodex got any traction–payout structure was All incentive-based.

Another good interesting point that was brought up by a community member on the Budget post of this proposed CU, was the Travel Budget. @manomad are you guys asking for that amount based on the fact that you’ll be purchasing a recruiting booth? Or, just paying to attend and networking?

2 Likes

thanks for your question @Doo_Nam

It’s true that many CU members formed a team with their own resources, but this is not a scalable solution. We want to connect with professionals on the Blockchain world and let facilitators focus on what they do best. Without a process in place, recruitment can be very time consuming when handled by each CU individually. Also, we need a common database.

When it comes to the budget, if you see MIP 40, you will realise that a significant part of the forecasted budget won’t be used until working at full capacity. We will have a flexible structure that can expand based on demand.

1 Like

Thank you @psychonaut for your question. Yes, we do care a lot about diversity and inclusion. Actually, Diversity is one of the supporting values (along with Work-life balance, learning and fun) that we will use to promote Maker as a nice place to work. We did not include this in the MIP for simplicity reasons, but I agree is very important.

Some projects in the pipeline for Maker Talent will include:

  1. A training for hiring managers on gender biases;
  2. A project to get insights and transform Maker into a more attractive place for women in tech and,
  3. A Global Policy on diversity and inclusion.
1 Like

The agency approach is too much focused on “to do as many placements as possible.”

We had a long discussion about this topic when finding the right business model for the CU, and we all agreed that the agency model is far away from quality recruitment, far away from a great candidate experience and most of all, it is restricted to pure hiring… we believe that Maker Talent should invest in the entire life of Maker Contributor (include retention, carreer plans, do exit interviews and re-think the perks and benefits of the remote worker, among others).

About the placements we did, none of them was done by just posting a job-ad and waiting for CVs, we found them by active search, using the Linkedin Search Engine, Twitter, Git Hub, Stack Overflow and recommendations from contacts in the industry.

1 Like

The idea is to take part in crypto-events and get to know candidates also face to face, take people from maker to keynotes, get to know their followers and also make hackatons every now and then. We are planning a minimum of 3 big events a 3 small events per year.

Believe me, there are huge hiring opportunities in going to events! By dedicating 5 minutes per candidate to do flash interviews you can get loads of leads, light up their interest in Maker projects and offer some insights on how life in a DAO really is.

1 Like

With regards to onboarding top-tier talent—what will be your philosophy—will you recruit based on over-paying above and beyond—or will you look for people who are in it for the tech? Can you please provide a strategic philosophy behind your hiring strategy/process? What are the elements of a successful recruiting strategy?

A budget of 1M annually (around that) means that if the team is onboarding 25 people per year it will cost 40k/onboarding. That’s 25% churn for a 100 people organization (excluding facilitators).

Within RWF I’ve hired 6 for positions. Most of them were organic from this forum. The rest took me a few tweets. The byproduct of a DAO is to have a community, the best cultural fit, the best talent pool is already here. Moreover, the brand of MakerDAO is strong.

If we want to do volume, this CU could be important of course. I have a strong view that facilitators and most contributors should be passionate about MakerDAO, you can easily see their interaction in this forum. Culture over volume.

5 Likes

I agree that in the early days of the DAO many top-notch specialists can be pooled from the ecosystem itself but as a long-term strategy this is not enough. At SES we’re making efforts to progressively onboard potential contributors to expand the pool, but this also takes time and in the long run we need diverse talent from legacy tech to avoid being a hermetic black box. This could also in time contribute to increasing the adoption factor of the ecosystem in the world at large.

1 Like

To second @manomad , I think hiring is a process that can to some point be covered by the CU itself, given there is enough time and resources. However, finding a good fit, a potential perfect match is something that needs a proper funnel and hiring expertise that should not be delegated onto hiring managers. Other than dev skills, team-work and individual productivity factors are what make people deliver value in the end while guaranteeing retention of a new hire. Many filters tthat put these skills to test should be applied before an individual is finally onboarded with the team. These nitty-gritty elements are best understood by entities specialised in hiring.

1 Like

The salary on the screenshoot is not very far from reality. Top tier talent is expensive, plus, Tech/Blockchain talent is a very-very-very small niche. We need combined strategies then. For some key positions, we need people with experience that can start making value immediately. In this cases, the salary is dictated by the market, but at the same time you can’t offer a blank check. This is when Maker Talent can provide market insights and also when assisting the salary negotiation becomes a key factor (an agency, on the contrary, will push for a higher salary as that leads to a higher commission).

To success, we need to be able to have more candidates in the pipeline (so Maker has more options), be realistic to what we demand, asses team capabilities, provide a clear communication on the challenges and also have a clear map of the market (where to find who?), among others.

We will also need be attractive to people from outside the web3/Blockchain world, and also work with young students putting some light in the opportunities we can provide in the near future.

Thanks for your comment @SebVentures

The project that we are bringing to the table is not pure recruitment, also puts the focus on:
-Promote Maker within the ecosystem
-Nurturing our own database of candidates and interact with them
-Use the power of social networks to bring more people to the ecosystem
-Create initiatives to discover young talents
-Do Webinars, Keynotes and make ourselves more visible across events
-Monitor the market so we can offer better conditions and save time to Core Units in their search of help.

A traditional agency will charge around 15-20% on the annual salary of the contributor. Taking your example of 25 people you’d be paying around 1 million in fees. With our team at full capacity we will handle much more than this :slight_smile:

Thanks for the response and glad to hear that the recent hires were done via the team’s active approaches. Also, it makes sense that on the grand scale, the cost won’t be too different from incentive based but quality is likely higher. I personally feel more confident after reading your responses.

2 Likes

Talent Decentralization and General Mission

So this is actually of concern. If you are want to do marketing and “event activation” in addition to recruiting, this proposal lacks the substance that suggests what you are actually going to do and what KPIs we would expect. Part of coming out of SES is the expectation that these proposals have more substance, including a roadmap and clear KPIs (c.f. immunefi, sidestream, etc.) than those coming straight from the community. Everything in here is very vague, has no timeline, and has no explanation of what you will do and the ask is really quite large.

Vision

This vision is problematic because it suggests complete centralization of hiring practices and talent. One-stop shops are not decentralized.

Mandate, Objectives, Strategy, Tactics

The “strategy” section is not necessarily a strategy, but a few objectives “Become a reliable hiring partner within MakerDAO”, * Find the best talent from across the blockchain world, Provide an outstanding candidate experience." and one concrete “strategy”. “Utilize Social Recruiting as a main recruitment strategy.”

If we actually dive into what tactics we are using for this one strategy, they are again vague but a bit better.

Set up easily identifiable branding for Maker Talent that at the same time promotes MakerDAO.

(you are going to create CU branding)

Develop recruiting strategies for Twitter, Github and Stack Overflow, among others.

(you are going to put up job ads on various social media and dev platforms. What does this strategy actually look like? Who has done this before? Who will do it? When will the first ads be live? Have we done this already in SES? If so, what was the spend, what were the results?)

Offer crystal-clear and fair referral programs to increase talent pull effect by MakerDAO itself.

(you will set up a cash referral program. Why is this important? What are the crypto industry comparables? Do we have any evidence this is actually a problem?)

Deliver workshops and keynotes on a range of hiring and retention topics.

(You will travel to many enjoyable events and do workshops and events at a cost to MakerDAO. This is part of visibility, how do you quantify the ROI?)

Sponsor and attend industry events attracting young yet-undiscovered talents.

(You will spend money on many enjoyable events in the hopes of increasing visibility. How are you measuring and quantifying the ROI?)

The question becomes if this is the path Maker really wants to go for recruiting? A hybrid marketing, events, and recruiting CU. Have you met with Growth regarding this proposal? There seems to be either synergies or potential conflicts here.


What I would suggest is that you post here a list of all openings you filled in what roles and what you have accomplished in the SES program as well as the headcount and budget you used to achieve those results. From there, you can concretely suggest what you intend to do in the next quarter. Similar to the advice to Financial Strategy (go to SES), I would suggest you use what you have done in SES as evidence for future capabilities and cut your ask down from 1mm annually to something smaller and set clear benchmarks (under promise and over deliver).

For example, What was the budget and team in SES, what was the annual spend to achieve the results of 9 fills and average cost? Based on the direction decentralized workforce is going, the facilitator will be the one who is ultimately held accountable for CU performance, it is best to make you general roadmap and ask as clear as possible, then when evaluation and voting comes around there are fewer doubts.

1 Like

Thank you for your analysis @MadShills - Your comments will for sure help others understand the project.

Some answers to your questions…

  1. Event Activation…. No, we don’t want to do event activation, we are not marketing. We do recruitment, and the main reason why we go to events is to seek for talent. Promoting MakerDAO as a good place to work, educate people on what a DAO is, and let people know about the projects we are working on is an indirect benefit that, again, has an impact on recruitment, as it will bring more people to the ecosystem… people that, in a few years, can be Maker contributors. For a recruiter, going to an event searching for talent means doing 5 minutes flash interviews one after another, from 8 am to 6 pm non stop. How can you measure the ROI of 50 useful out of 400 not useful conversations that you went through during an event? How can you measure the ROI of having saved your time from doing 100 useless interviews on Skype? Because that can be subjective, the KPIs that have proven success in recruitment are: 1. Time to hire, 2. number of successful placements vs. offers posted, 3. candidate/hiring manager satisfaction, and (optional) 4. Turnover.
  2. The vision is not centralised. The vision is what you dream to be. In our case, we are an internal service Core Unit, which means we are providing services to other Core Units. Governance is not decentralised, Data Insights is not decentralised. In an ideal world we would create a MIP for every single candidate that is about to become a contributor, but that will take ages and we’d be loosing candidates along the funnel. On the other hand, not centralising our candidates database will mean a big GDPR problem and so far we don’t have, as a DAO, the legal basis to cover this issue. The good part of this is that when it comes to Talent and DAOs, everything is yet to be invented, and we can be the ones creating a way of decentralising candidate’s management or even tokenising our talent community. All these are projects, but what MakerDAO needs now is HELP FINDING TALENT.
  3. Utilising social media to connect with talent. The way we use social media is to open conversations with candidates, explain the problems we are trying to solve, and make them feel interested in having an interview with us. The only one thing you can quantify is SPAM and/or number of interviews… or maybe paid job ads. But let me tell you, the world of recruitment is tricky, sometimes you can post an ad, spend 200 euro in cryptojobs.com and find the right person in one week, or you can search for six months and the right candidate never pops up. I can’t apply the same strategy for finding a Lead Smart Contract Engineer to the one I use to find a Marketing role, they are in different places and at a different recruitment cost. So my best answer is, indeed, having a strategy for each position, hence “I partner with Hiring Managers with the best map possible on where I can find specific talent.”
  4. Reduce your budget and overdeliver. Before submitting this MIP, I had an interview with every single facilitator in Maker to help them forecasting their staff needs for next year. Most of them couldn’t predict how many people will leave, and the ones that needed more contributors, couldn’t determine when to start recruiting. One of the reasons of this is that the MIP and budgeting process is still slow, and it impacts on the ability of a Core Unit to respond quickly to an unexpected pick on the demand. The best way of navigating through this is shaping a 100% flexible Core Unit that, based on demand, can grow according to Maker needs. This is what we are trying to achieve in Maker Talent and so far, I couldn’t be happier with the results. :slight_smile:
3 Likes

I think it’s good that MakerDAO is expanding into service CUs and in order to really scale I think they are an important piece. Talent and recruitment seems to be the most immediate needs for the DAO but there are a less pleasant side to it.

As far as I can tell from this proposal this CU doesn’t seem to get involved in off-boarding. Would it be possible to elaborate a little on this?

I envision a future need for the capacity to offer advice on such an event, possibly facilitate, or develop processes for it. Badly handled off-boarding is likely to negatively effect Maker’s reputation and to make the job of attracting talent harder.

2 Likes