HR Tech Interview With Josh Brenner, CEO at Hired

Journey into Tech

Please tell us about your role at Hired and how you arrived here. 

I have always enjoyed seeing groundbreaking solutions grow from an idea into reality, which inspired me to go into a product management role when starting out. I spent the majority of my career building and directing the growth of platform-based solutions in various industries, always with a focus on new innovations and technology. 

These experiences motivated me to join the Hired team as Chief Product Officer. At the time, I was new to the recruiting and HR landscape and was excited about the core mission of building and empowering talented and amazing teams. When you hire the right people, you’ll set yourself up for success and stand the best chance at innovating to solve any business problem. Providing companies with the tools to do just that still motivates me to this day. 

Currently, I am excited to continue to drive Hired’s vision to make the hiring experience more equitable, transparent, and efficient, while empowering employers with the data, resources, and tools they need to build diverse and high-performing teams.

What is Hired and what are your unique HR Technology offerings? 

Hired is the largest AI-driven hiring marketplace connecting individually-vetted candidates with companies looking for the best talent. Our proprietary machine learning models track real-time data, monitor trends, and predict hiring behavior to more quickly and accurately match employers to candidates in high-demand, digital-first roles including software engineering, product management, and technology sales. 

By providing a data-driven hiring marketplace that drills into the specific needs of both employers and candidates, we improve the quality of matches, reduce time-to-hire, and ultimately make it as easy as possible for companies to build successful, diverse teams. Hired’s unique technology allows recruiters to cut significant time spent on pre-screen interviews, inbound resume screens of unqualified candidates, and hours spent messaging unresponsive passive candidates – saving hiring teams 45 sourcing hours per hire. Our data also shows processes can be improved and accelerated four-fold – this time instead can go toward meeting and assessing top diverse talent.

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Could you tell us a little bit about the titles and regions you are currently targeting? 

The main regions we are targeting include the U.S., U.K, Ireland, Canada, and remote roles across the globe. We focus on tech and tech sales roles such as software engineers (from backend, frontend, full stack, machine learning, security, mobile, AR/VR, and more), to data analysts, DevOps managers/engineers, account executives and account managers, product designers, QA, and UX/UI researchers/designers.

Hired has over 17,000 employers and over 3 million candidates on its marketplace, with hundreds of new active candidates in tech and sales roles being added each week. Our customers include well-known brands such as Instacart, Dropbox, Wayfair, Zendesk, Postmates, Twitch, Capital One, and Peloton.

How do you see the adoption of AI within the hiring industry boosting your marketing and sales? 

AI adoption allows transactional, manual processes to be turned into digital, personalized experiences. In the past, recruiting has tended to be very transactional between the employer/hiring manager and the candidate. But as people increasingly seek companies that align more with their personal values and professional development goals, there’s a clear need for the hiring process to be more digital and data-driven to enhance the experience for both sides. 

The fact that more companies are embracing AI to accelerate, improve, automate, and streamline all kinds of business processes and tasks has brought AI-driven hiring platforms and solutions, such as Hired, to the forefront and has led to the immense adoption of our platform over the past few years. Particularly for hyper-growth businesses, recruiting and building a team can be overwhelming, especially with limited resources – and we’re able to actively support teams in their hiring efforts and give them back valuable time by driving efficiencies. As the adoption of emerging technologies, such as AI, continues to rise, we expect Hired to continue on its strong growth trajectory.

Data is costly and vulnerable. How do you secure your AI-based hiring offerings from external threat agents, and at the same time, sensitize your internal product development team from these challenges? 

At Hired, we’ve implemented security tools and privacy policies to be fully transparent with candidates and employers about their data, which has allowed us to garner their trust and confidence in our solution. We perform regular audits of our systems and processes to determine any potential gaps so we can effectively and quickly mitigate them. We recently went through SOC 2 compliance certification, which not only ensures strong data security, but provides us with clear documentation we can show to our customers to help instill confidence in our platform. 

Our engineering teams also go through OWASP security training to make sure security is always top of mind as they work on our product and develop features. Additionally, all code is reviewed before it can be promoted. We also enforce best practice security measures across the company – including encryption, antivirus, and MDM tools, as well as employee security training – to minimize any risk to our data or systems.

We also anonymize data our engineering teams work with to minimize any risk of exposing sensitive information.

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What kind of security and compliance infrastructure do you embrace to keep data safe and secured? 

Hired is committed to protecting the security of candidate’s personal information and is SOC 2, GDPR, and PCI compliant. We use a variety of industry-standard security technologies and procedures to help protect candidate data from unauthorized access, use, or disclosure. For example, we incorporate principles of the NIST cybersecurity framework, follow a policy of least privilege, and institute MFA where possible. 

We also thoroughly vet any of our SaaS vendors supporting our infrastructure to ensure we are using the most secure options in the industry.

Hear it from the pro: How do you see technologies such as NLP and Cognitive Intelligence transforming the entire infrastructure associated with HRtech? 

NLP and cognitive intelligence technologies are helping to reduce the cost and time companies need to factor into their HR processes. They also help increase the quality of matches with candidates, making hiring more efficient, streamlined, and objective/unbiased. At Hired, we integrate with HR tools such as applicant tracking systems (Greenhouse, Lever) and equitable hiring technologies (Textio, Criteria Corp) to make it efficient for employers to find and hire top talent – while ensuring equity throughout the hiring process. 

As these technologies continue to evolve, we’ll likely see further improvements and developments in the HR Tech space, with more solutions that allows companies and HR teams to focus on the strategic, high-impact projects that matter most, leaving more manual tasks around screening, vetting, etc. to tools that can drive efficiency and build the best teams.

Tell us more about the Great Resignation phenomenon? Which industries are more likely to get most affected by these trends? 

We’re in the middle of the Great Resignation where employees are quitting their jobs at record-setting rates. During the COVID-19 pandemic, many entered a period of reflection, reevaluating their career paths with newfound perspectives. Some people vowed never to work from an office again, while others sought out better benefits and work life balance. 

This has led to high employee turnover and a spike in demand for top tech talent as companies look to maximize their talent pipelines. In our recent 2021 State of Tech Salaries report, we found that the increased need for tech talent has led to salaries continuing to rise globally, and to significantly shorter hiring cycles – with 30 days to hire in the U.S. and 34 days in the U.K., down 25% on average from a year ago.

As Hired is focused on the tech industry and tech roles in particular, we don’t have data on other industries but have seen tech and sales roles in entertainment, real estate, enterprise, and healthcare industries show increased demand and higher salaries over the past year.


Other than AI for hiring, which other domains can benefit from your offering? 

Hired centers its offerings on its AI-driven hiring solution, but also offers both employers and candidates a dedicated talent success manager, plus hiring data and analytics, to help guide both sides through the hiring process

Beyond Hired’s platform, the company also hosts recruiting events and coding challenges for employers to boost their brand awareness and connect with top talent. Hired is also dedicated to driving DEI in the tech industry and helping leaders at companies of all sizes more efficiently and effectively source and engage underrepresented candidates – as identified by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). We enable this through tools such as our bias reduction features, salary bias alerts, and our latest Diversity Goals feature.

What is the future of AI-based business services? How are you preparing for the future at Al? 

Every industry is seeing more and more opportunities to leverage AI to improve outcomes. AI-driven business services, including hiring solutions such as Hired, will continue to empower companies with real-time, valuable data insights to help companies and teams make better business decisions and increase overall company growth and success. As data on its own is not useful without context and extrapolation, solutions and tools in big data analytics will continue to play an important role and see increased demand. 

At Hired, we are continuing to explore and leverage new technologies and will always look for opportunities to evolve our AI-based solution to help businesses with all aspects of their recruiting and hiring needs. We believe that the future is bright for gathering and understanding more data at scale than ever before and we’re excited for the future of AI-driven hiring in particular – working towards creating a world where hiring is more equitable, efficient, and transparent.

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What kind of skills are you looking at: any advice to young AI ML engineers and data analysts who are interested in HR Tech development? 

Young AI/ML engineers and data analysts should make sure to have a strong grasp on software engineering best practices, including knowing how to manage large amounts of data and a confident working knowledge of Python – the language of choice for most machine learning engineers. We look for ML engineers who are savvy in building complex applications and can work across varied teams. A strong working knowledge of collaborative tools, such as Github, and testing frameworks (knowing how to test APIs and code review skills) is paramount.

Machine learning theory is also evolving rapidly – engineers would benefit from staying on top of algorithms and foundational machine learning theories so one can quickly build and implement models. 

Valuable, qualitative attributes include being a self-starter, a critical thinker, and someone who is curious and communicates with candor, honesty, and respect. Candidates in these fields should excel at fast-paced and collaborative environments and have a passion for building the best products to empower connections between ambitious people and teams.

Thank you, Josh! That was fun and hope to see you back on HR Tech Series soon.

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Josh Brenner is the CEO of Hired, the leading AI-driven hiring marketplace that matches talent with top companies such as Instacart, Wayfair, Zendesk, Capital One, and Peloton. As former founder and CEO of bTreated, a yield management marketplace platform, Josh has an extensive background in developing and growing platform-based solutions and is dedicated to transforming the recruiting and hiring space with more transparent, equitable, and rewarding experiences for candidates and employers.

Hired logo

Hired is the largest AI-driven marketplace that matches tech and sales talent with the world’s most innovative companies. Backed by the world’s leading talent advisory and solutions company, The Adecco Group, Hired combines intelligent job matching with unbiased career counseling to help people find a job they love and reach their full potential. By providing accurate, real-time information, access to equal opportunity, efficiency, and transparency, the Hired platform serves as the backbone for hiring managers, recruiters, and C-level executives to surface the best matching talent and build ambitious, diverse teams. Hired is committed to building equity in the hiring process through a more representative talent pool, using diversity goals, customized assessments, and salary bias alerts to help remove unconscious bias when hiring.