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How to get a job at a Coinbase, the crypto giant still paying $424k per head

If you're still bullish on crypto and want a job in the sector, chances are you're looking to join Coinbase. The stalwart exchange has more than doubled its stock price in the last six months, and employees were paid $424k on average last year. With 166 roles open at the fintech right now, is 2024 the perfect time to join?

Coinbase, like most fintechs has cut jobs. Around 20% of staff went over a year ago. It's now hiring again, but is pickier about its recruits. In the last six months, headcount at Coinbase has grown a modest 3%. 

A blog released late last year by chief people officer L.J. Brock has some insights on how Coinbase is changing its hiring processes and what that means for you. Here's a breakdown of what you'll do in a Coinbase interview, and some tips on how to stand out.

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What do you do in a Coinbase interview?

There are a number of different assessment phases you'll face interviewing at Coinbase, some traditional, some new. 

Coinbase has historically used live interviews and work trials, but to accompany them has more recently implemented "structured assessments for cultural alignment and technical skills." It has also begun implementing "cognitive testing".

Brock said a "minimum bar on these assessments will drive consistency in evaluation, reduce bias, and foster a meritocracy."

Failing one of those tests will be a significant setback. On Glassdoor, an interviewee said that, after failing the culture test, they were told they'd have to wait six months before applying again.

You'll need to impress Brian and Emilie

For the near future, Brock said Coinbase's CEO and COO, Brian Armstrong and Emilie Choi, will personally approve all new hires. It's worth doing as much research as you can on them to find out what they like in an employee and embody it.

You likely won't have the chance to demonstrate it to them firsthand, though. Brock said the pair will generally receive a one-paragraph summary from your hiring manager, so make sure you can be concise with your accolades and achievements to make it as easy for them to laud you as possible.

Your flashy banking job won't help you... maybe

Crypto has historically been happy to attract bankers and other traditional finance professionals looking for a flashier new gig. That might be changing in 2024.

"We don’t want to hire individuals who rest on their pedigree or boast association with elite institutions and corporations," said Brock. Coinbase isn't focused on years of experience or proficiency in an irrelevant skill, he added.

It's all about "real-world impact". Brock said, "every candidate at Coinbase must have some evidence of extraordinary ability to be hired."

This doesn't mean the gates have shut for former bank employees, it simply means you need to be in the right team. An engineer working on maintenance or legacy tech at JPMorgan will likely be a lot less valuable to Coinbase than one working on its fintech-style Chase team or its crypto initiative, Onyx.

Interning there first is a massive advantage

This one's for the students. Brock said that Coinbase has previously "under-prioritized emerging, high potential talent," and is fixing that by aiming for 20% of its product, engineering and design teams to be former Coinbase interns. 

This won't be easy, however. Brock said Coinbase's internship program received over 30k applicants last year. The roles will also "predominantly" be in the fintech's New York and Bay Area offices.

According to Levels.fyi, an intern in California can earn a salary of $50 per hour. This makes it the fourth highest paid internship in fintech behind Stripe, Ramp and Uniswap Labs.

Know your score

Executives at Coinbase are going to have to take "talent density" a bit more seriously. The fintech will be "tying a measure of talent density to each executive team member's individual performance rating."

He didn't divulge what this meant exactly, but employee performance metrics are also being changed at ground-level. The company is switching from a singular on/off-track rating to a dual score system, focusing on "output (what) and behavior (how)." 

The second score may be a little harder to quantify, but Coinbase has a type. Brock said the people Coinbase wants to hire are "often quirky and eccentric, have a low ego-to-ability ratio, and run towards solving the gnarliest problems the company is facing." Don't be afraid to ask questions, especially about yourself; Brock said you should "actively seek out critical feedback in service of continuous improvement."

If you want a job at Coinbase, you'll need to indicate that you can exhibit all those qualities, and deliver tangible impact, so that you can provide the highest performance score possible.

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Photo by Erling Løken Andersen on Unsplash

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AUTHORAlex McMurray Editor

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