IIP-118: Priority Hiring Guidelines and directional commitment to the DSM & Airdrop

IIP: 118
title: Priority Hiring Guidelines and directional commitment to the DSM & Airdrop
status: Proposed
author: @Pepperoni_Joe

Simple Summary

This IIP formalizes the V2 Priority Hiring guidelines. This will enable the transition of a number of high impact contributors onto fixed yearly salaries. The Index Council will determine who/which roles will go through the Priority Hiring process.

Given the interdependencies between Priority Hiring, and the broader Compensation and Community Ownership work, it also directionally commits Index Coop to continue work on the following:

  • Support of INDEX Liquidity
  • Formation of a Tokenomics Pod
  • Owl Level redesign
  • Refinement of the Dynamic Staking Model and Airdrop

This will lay the foundation for a future IIP which will confirm the airdrop and DSM as a mechanism for building sustainable community ownership. The specific details of the Airdrop and Dynamic Staking are not explored in this post, and instead, we encourage you to review this proposal for more information.


Simply put, the competition for great people is fierce.

Crypto organizations are well-funded and strategic. The Coop must be able to compete with these organizations.

  • These organizations (DAOs, corporations, startups) are flush with cash and are aggressively hiring.
  • They offer lucrative, full-time packages (salary, equity, benefits) to attract and retain talent.
  • They are strategic about talent acquisition.

Good humans with talent are scarce.

  • There just aren’t that many people that have deep experience and expertise working in crypto (we are lucky that so many of them are contributing to the Coop today).
  • For folks that have important expertise outside of crypto and are looking to break in, there just aren’t that many who want to work for a DAO. It is a novel, evolving way to work that isn’t for everyone.


We propose the following hiring process to enable Index Coop to quickly act to address our hiring needs.

This process relies on two distinct teams with delegated responsibilities:

  • Index Council - Responsible for hiring on behalf of the Coop (prioritization, guiding interview process, determining fair market salary). Should the Index Council not continue past November 28th, we would then form a “Hiring Group” responsible for the same tasks, unless or until a suitable replacement emerges.
  • Interview Team - Responsible for interviewing individual candidates.

Hiring Process

  1. Index Council will drive the conversation on talent needs: They will determine the order of roles to take through the hiring process. This will be done following the principles of openness, transparency, and seeking feedback from key stakeholders.

  2. An interview team will be formed for each specific role.

  3. Interview Team will scope the role and create a hiring scorecard and conduct initial research on a competitive market salary

  4. If there is clearly a suitable candidate internally for the role, the candidate will be invited into the Priority hiring process directly. If there is no suitable individual internally for the role a hiring scorecard will be shared via the Coop forums. This forum post should include an application (Google Form or a dedicated tool like Lever) that applicants will be asked to complete in order to submit their application to the hiring team.

  5. Conduct the interview process: An interview process will be run by the “interview team”. This will remain flexible for v2 - and will be light touch for existing contributors. Depending on the candidate, it may include the following (Great CEO Within 5):

    • Phone screen
    • Topgrading interview
    • Focused interviews
    • Work trial
  6. Salary offers, negotiation & close:

    • The Interview Team conducts the initial salary negotiation
    • The Interview Team then makes a recommendation to the “Index Council” on an “go” / “no-go” on a hire with a proposed salary offering.
    • The “Index Council” will then approve the proposed salary offer and/or counter proposal.
    • Final offer presented to the candidate
    • If the conditions are approved by both parties, the hiring proposal will be confirmed publically. Final salary offers will no longer need to be approved through the IIP process.
    • If the hire is approved, proceed to an onboarding process which may include a clear statement of alliance.
  7. Pass:

    • If at any point in the hiring process it is determined to not be a fit by either side the process will end.
    • Alternatives may be discussed (i.e. Working Group, Treasury Rewards, and other payment programs that may exist in the Coop)


This is a challenging topic to navigate. Letting someone go is a stressful experience for all parties involved, but sometimes it is necessary.

When necessary, here is the proposed process:

  • Clear expectations: The Index Coop aims to be transparent in our expectations and measurement of performance. This is the purpose of the scorecard (step #3) & statement of alliance (step #4).
  • Attempt to resolve: Any failure to meet these measures will first be discussed by the Wise Owls and other relevant parties
  • Decision: The decision to terminate will be discussed by the Index Council and put into effect by the Finance Nest in the event that performance expectations cannot be met. If the Index Council is discontinued, an alternative clearly identified group will fulfil this role.
  • Severance: There will be a severance package of 2 months salary.

Any gross violation of our guiding principles will result in immediate termination without severance.


Salary will be determined based on fair market rates within the industry.

The Interview Team will conduct research on a comparable role the candidate is looking to fill, and base their salary options on this fair market rate.

For example, when recruiting for a head of product, the interview team should research typical salaries offered to a head of product at other web3 organizations.

Further, a note that typically (and in v1) salary and equity are tied together in comp. However, in v2 we are separating these out, and address equity and community ownership through a more holistic approach as defined in the “Dynamic Staking Model”.

Equity and Non Financial Benefits

This proposal assumes once contributors move onto fixed salaries, they will still be eligible to participate in the Dynamic Staking Model and receive the same non-financial benefits offered to all contributors based on Owl Levels.

If this does not come online by Feb 31st, an alternative equity, ownership and non-financial benefits packages will be proposed instead. Indication of what this will look like will be made during the salary offer, negotiation and close phase.

We also reiterate the directional commitment to continue work to implement the equity aspect of compensation through further work on the DSM and airdrop enabled by focusing on:

  • Owl Level redesign
  • Form Tokenomics Pod
  • Complete further work on INDEX liquidity

Salary recalibration

Owl Levels can change and are not tied directly to a salary. Every 6 months, Priority Hires are expected to go through a performance discussion where their salary may be readjusted.

The Wise Owls also have the right to immediately kick off a recalibration of an individual’s salary if their current involvement with Index Coop has changed.

Who decides which roles to prioritize?

The Index Council will be responsible for:

  • Ensuring the v2 hiring process guidelines are maintained for all prospective fixed salary hires
  • Determining which roles to prioritize and articulating why. This will depend on the strategic importance of filling the role.
  • Determining and approving a final salary offer for those going through the fixed salary hiring process.
  • Considering salary recalibration as needed.

Who runs interviews? Interview Team(s)

When interviewing candidates, it is important the composition of the interview team has relevant expertise in the given field.

Thus the responsibility for practically coordinating the interviews and making a recommended salary proposal will lie with an “[role_name] Hiring Team”

This will be comprised of:

  1. Member of the Hiring Team
  2. Subject matter experts
  3. Other relevant individuals

Other members of the Coop may be asked to attend a discussion with the candidate and hiring team, and/or the hiring team.

The interview term will then make a recommendation to the “Hiring & Owl Levels” on an “go” / “no-go” on a fixed salary hire with a proposed salary offering.

The “Hiring & Owl Levels” will then approve the proposed salary offer and/or counter-proposal.


We hope this IIP will enable us to transition a number of high impact core contributors to fixed yearly salaries.

Moreover, passing this IIP would signify the directional commitment needed to further progress with further work on INDEX Tokenomics, INDEX liquidity and Owl Levels as a precursor to the Dynamic Staking Model and Community Airdrop being passed through IIP and implemented in early 2022.


Copyright and related rights waived via CC0


@sixtykeys, @mel.eth

Can I please have an IIP number assigned and this proposal launched on snapshot on Tuesday, December 21st at 6:00pm UTC.

I appreciate this is bypassing the typical minimum 48 hour discussion period on IIP. However, there has been extensive discussion on this proposal here since December 8th and the community has expressed a strong desire to move this to IIP.


Hey @Pepperoni_Joe, an IIP number ‘118’ has been assigned to this proposal, and a snapshot vote has been queued to go live today at 1800 UTC.

Snapshot here :zap:

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Confirming that this IIP has passed with 115k INDEX (100%) voting FOR.
Snapshot here

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