LinkedIn is a tremendous resource for recruiters. But for companies that want that just-right mix of experience and talent—and want it fast—the sprawling social network for professionals has some serious limitations.
"My biggest frustration as a CEO was finding and attracting great talent," says Matt Mickiewicz, whose new startup, Hired, is out to reinvent the job-placement process. "I got frustrated with a very limited means of finding people."
When building his last startup, 99 Designs, Mickiewicz found himself dismayed by a lack of search options: There were job ads, which were time consuming; personal recommendations, which couldn't provide for a startup looking to scale fast; and, finally, an endless army of headhunters trawling LinkedIn for potential candidates.
"I hate using recruiters," admits Mickiewicz, who says that at one point 99 Designs was tapping 30 different recruitment agencies. "The engineers I talked to didn't like recruiters either. They found them pushy and sales-y."
Enter his new startup, Hired, a "curated, two-sided marketplace" that helps pair job seekers with the right job as fast as possible. Originally conceived as DeveloperAuction.com in 2012, the company announced Wednesday that it was expanding beyond its home base of San Francisco and opening up officially in New York after a limited two-month test run. (Los Angeles and Boston are next.) The job-marketplace startup recently raised $15 million in venture funding, counting Crosslink Capital and Sierra Ventures among the investors. And it was recently named one of Forbes's 10 hottest new startups for 2013.
Hired works by flipping the existing recruitment model on its head. It works like this: Software engineers, product managers, and other technology/media/finance types create a Hired profile. This billboard acts as their resume and portfolio, which clients like OpenTable, Lyft, Gilt, and American Express then look through. After listing their desired salary requirements, they spend the next week interviewing with interested companies, which then "bid" on the candidate they want. The seven-day limit is critical, says Mickiewicz, because it expedites the hiring funnel, and "forces employees to act quickly and make a decision."
Currently employed but looking around? Hired says it has technical safeguards in place to ensure that previous and current employers don't come across your profile. And so far, at least, Hired seems to be delivering on its promise as a job-placement matchmaker: Although the company declined to pin an exact figure, it claims to have placed over 800 users into new positions, 70% of which happened via word-of-mouth marketing.
Meanwhile, New York's tech sector is booming. A recent report from HR&A Advisors [PDF] indicates that the number of jobs within the city's tech ecosystem grew by 18% over the last decade. Technology jobs, specifically, now account for 12.6% of New York City's total workforce; to put that into context, the entire retail industry accounts for 8%.
Indeed, Hired's trial in the Big Apple has gone better than anyone in the organization—especially Mickiewicz—reasonably expected. "In 60 days, we hit numbers that took six months to reach in San Francisco," he adds. "The candidates in New York are equally fed up with recruiters. They're tired of feeding resumes into a black hole. This is a real appealing venue for them."