It’s no secret that business events are an excellent way to meet many new people who may become your partners, colleagues or employers. However, events are different and bring different benefits depending on the format and visitors.
My name is Daria Volkova. I’m a brand marketing expert for web3, blockchain and crypto products. I also had experience working with an employer brand — helping recruiters find specialists for complex vacancies such as Solidity developers or Product Owners. With this article, I want to encourage recruiters to expand their search areas and pay attention to niche events where you can quickly close web3 technical vacancies.
Depending on the target audience, events can be conditionally divided into two large groups — mass market and niche.
The largest conferences and summits related to the mass market, such as WebSummit, CES, Money20/20, Next Block Expo, and others. Usually, most event visitors are start-up founders, sales and business development managers, marketers and designers. It makes sense for a recruiter to attend such events for self-development and networking, but there are only not so many great chances to find technical specialists.
Niche events are usually held in workshops, hackathons or conferences, where attention is paid to discussing technical aspects and solving product problems. Such events are attended by product managers, cryptographers, mathematicians, Rust or Solidity developers, cyber security engineers, and may also product designers. It is precisely this type of event that I want to dwell on in detail in this article.
How to prepare for participation in a tech-focused event?
Briefly about the main stages:
1. Know about the web3 space, and this is critically important. You must read news, articles, and Telegram channels. It’s best to read the media like Cointelegraph, Decrypt, WSJ Tech, HackerNoon, watch Bankless YouTube vlog, and others. I'm running my Blockchain Marketing Telegram channel, where I talk about the web3 industry and share the main news.
2. Prepare your social networks. Refresh your cover, avatar, description, latest posts. All content must work for your image. LinkedIn and Twitter are the main social networks. Twitter is not very popular in Ukraine, but for many developers of web3 products, it is the main social profile. Also, it will not be superfluous to understand how Discord and Reddit work.
3. Prepare a good intro about your company. The first question that all web3 specialists ask is, “What company/project do you work for?”. If your company is unknown in the blockchain community, the interest in communicating with you will disappear in a second. It’s unpleasant, but it’s true. Therefore, if your company is not Ethereum, NEAR or Polygon, prepare a good intro that keeps you interested.
4. Study the technology stack that will be presented at the event. Of course, you don’t have to know everything at the level of a developer or CTO, but you still need to know the differences between programming languages and main technologies.
5. Plan your time and choose a time convenient for participants to chat. The best way to get to know each other is during breaks between speeches, at special networking sessions or over drinks.
During my career, I attended many business and technology-focused events. I’m sharing with you a great example from my experience when I regretted not being a recruiter and not having a goal to find people for the project.
In September, I visited the zkSummit in Berlin. This is an event for developers of zero-knowledge roll-ups for scaling Ethereum.
It’s me at the zkSummit8 in Berlin
zkSummit is a one-day, invitation-only event consisting of themed presentations and workshops. There were zkSync, Polygon, Web3 Foundation and Polkadot, Nethermind, and other founders or CTOs of projects that create zero-knowledge and L2 solutions and develop Web3.
In the evening before the summit, a closed dinner was held by the event’s sponsors. In a relaxed atmosphere, I met many developers who created solutions for scaling Ethereum. The dinner was very intimate and set everything up for networking. It was effortless and exciting to chat with people from different countries over a cocktail with steak.
Networking dinner by sponsors
The important thing was that it was much easier the next day to start a conversation with the visitors to the event because there was a lot to remember, and everyone talked like old friends.
It's Rotem and me. Rotem is a representative of Polkadot blockchain project. My jacket color matched their brand color.
If I were a recruiter or had the task of finding people for the project, I would have succeeded because many participants actively discussed career opportunities and willingly responded to offers while working on the current project.
Developer Relations can help you to hire
Developing a blockchain product is only possible with building relationships with developers who will implement the technology and make other products based on it. The most popular blockchains are Ethereum, Polygon, BNB Chain, and Solana; many decentralized products are based on these technologies.
The company must establish a warm relationship with developers who create products based on their technology. Developer relations managers come to help the product, marketing and recruiters teams.
Developer Relations (DevRel) ensures that one’s company, products, and developers establish deep, continuous relationships with external developers through mutual communication. To do this, DevRel managers hold meetups and hackathons, educational and entertaining webinars, prepare user-friendly technical documentation, give away merch and much more.
Suppose your company already has a developer relations team (or is planning to create one). In that case, it is critical for you as a recruiter to collaborate with them to interact more closely with developers — understanding their needs and concerns. You can attend tech-oriented events together or organize your own under your company’s brand.
Let’s talk about the ROI of such an activity
A study by the Society for Human Resource Management shows that it costs, on average, $4 129 to hire an employee, and it takes around 42 days to fill a position.
Most recruiting fees run between 15% and 25% of the candidate’s total first-year annual earnings. Let’s do the math: If you’re looking to fill a $40 000/year position, you could reasonably expect to pay a staffing firm around $6 000 to find the perfect candidate.
However, developers, especially in the blockchain industry, earn significantly more. Approximately $70 000–$150 000 annually, depending on the country and position. So, the cost of hiring a technician with a minimum salary is more than $10 000.
Let’s calculate the cost of visiting the event by a recruiter. The average price of a ticket is $200–500, and many events are free but by appointment. We will spend another $1000 on the road and hotel. And pocket expenses, let’s say $500. In total, it comes to about $2000 to attend one event. If you have planned to visit several events in one city, the cost of visiting becomes even lower.
If it’s possible to hire at least one specialist with a salary of $70 000 per year at the event, then you have already saved the company money on hiring.
Also, you can always become a sponsor or organize your technology event. The organization of an exciting event for tech guys will cost several tens of thousands of dollars. Still, you can form the program and conduct recruiting activities in the most convenient format.