Next Gen Headhunting –

Tim Sackett Don't Feed the Vendors, HR Tech, HR Technology, Innovation, Job Market, Making Offers, Recruiting, Tim Sackett

If you haven’t read anything about and you’re in Talent Acquisition, consider yourself to be living under a rock! Check out what others are saying here, here and here. is a third-party type recruiting play that started in San Francisco in 2012 and has involved quickly into one of the hottest recruiting companies in the U.S.  The founders, Matt Mickiewicz (99Designs fame), Douglas Feirstein (, and Allan Grant (Curebit), in 3 years have grown Hired to $3.6 Billion in candidate offers from 1300+ clients.

To say Hired is a disruptor in the recruiting space is an understatement.

Hired’s model works like this: They spend a ton of money marketing to niche tech talent (think Developers, Software Engineers, etc.). As they’ve gotten rolling and have had success, about a third of their candidates come from past referrals. This talent ops is to be marketed to Hired’s clients for just one to two weeks, then they are taken down from the site.  The clients can log on weekly and see those talent profiles and decide if they want to offer the candidate an interview.  To do so, they first have to let the candidate know how much they’ll get paid, benefits, etc.

Not quite an auction, but definitely the beginnings of a marketplace for those talented individuals who make it through Hired’s screening process.

Only about 5% of the candidates who apply to Hired actually make the cut.  Of those, the majority get multiple requests for interviews.  Hired’s time to fill is currently at 19 days. Yes, you read that right—19 days to fill hard-to-fill technical positions.

What’s the catch, Tim?  These guys are still headhunters!

Well, kind of, and not really.  They actually don’t have any recruiters or sourcers on staff, and no one is getting paid commission.  Candidates are vetted through a centralized Curation team out of San Francisco, who analyze the resumes and application data but never have personal contact with those candidates.  It’s data analytics at its finest.  That’s where the initial 5% come from.  From there, the candidates get passed on to a local office (San Fran, Seattle, NYC, Boston, etc.—with plans to open in 12+ cities in the U.S. and international in the next 18 months), to one of their “Talent Advocates.”  The Talent Advocates are like personal candidate coaches. These are the folks who will actually have personal contact with the candidates and have full say in if these people will be moved forward to be marketed to clients.

Talent Advocates are not measured on hires.  They are measured on a Net Promoter Score from the candidates which basically asks, “How likely is it that you would recommend me to a friend?”  A little different from agency recruitment, wouldn’t you say!?  Their sole job is to help the candidate be the best candidate they can be, and at the same time make sure the Curation team didn’t make a mistake in recommending this candidate.

Clients who hire pay in one of two ways:

1. 15% of first year salary, 90 day guarantee. 90% of their clients choose this model.

2. 1% of first year salary for 24 consecutive months. No guarantee, but if the candidate leaves at any time, you stop paying.

Hired pays each candidate that gets hired a $2000 sign-on bonus off their own cut.

Here’s my take on

A definite disruptor in the industry that has found a way to leverage top talent and turn the traditional agency model upside-down.  What Hired has done is given top talent—who have always been extremely marketable but might not really know how to market themselves—a marketplace to do it.  They’re smart for going after markets that have an extreme imbalance of talent to openings.

Does it completely disrupt agency recruiting? Probably not. It’s a big change from what people are comfortable with.  90% of corporate talent acquisition types won’t be willing to change.  Silicon Valley and tech plays are forced to move fast, or lose talent, and are more willing to adjust.  Would a health system in Topeka be willing to do something like this to find nurses?  Probably not until the model matures quite a bit more.  But it’s one of the better plays I’ve seen in my years of recruiting. did not compensate FOT or myself for this post (we don’t feed the vendors!). I just thought it was a cool concept and you guys would like to know more about it!  Thanks to Matt Mickiewivz and Jer Langhans for talking to me about and their processes.  Connect with Jer Langhans he’s a friend of FOT and great recruiting resource to leverage.