Over my years of recruiting, I’ve worked just about every angle to hire great engineers. I’ve used agencies, internal recruiters, my personal network, my team’s personal network, ads on job boards, social media, meetups, networking events, free job services, cold calls, LinkedIn, and many more approaches to satisfy my company’s need for great engineers. As a result, I’m not only open to new ideas for finding talent, but actively seeking them (confession: I once tried very unsuccessfully to attract candidates through a Facebook ad). So last year when a colleague told me about a new site called DeveloperAuction.com - later renamed to Hired.com - I knew I would be an early adopter.

As the name implies, the company’s mission is to disrupt recruiting by leveraging a transparent auction format for hiring engineers. They launched in the Boston area over the summer, and I took the platform for a short spin a few months back. Below is my review.

What I Like

Let me start with what I like about Hired.com:

  • Content collection - They procure the most useful content required by both the hiring manager and candidate as part of the on-boarding process, and make it easily accessible in the platform. As a hiring manager, you are a click away from a candidate’s GitHub account, blog, and personal write up of their background / experience.
  • Candidate curation - In my limited use of Hired.com, the candidates seemed reasonably curated. Whereas LinkedIn will provide you access to 99% of engineers of all levels of competency, an engineer on Hired.com is more likely to be in the upper 50%. I still found only 1 in 20 profiles on average applicable for my company / roles - which is about the level of an average Boston recruiter.
  • Quick time to value - The platform provides features that allow a hiring manager and candidate to quickly determine if they might be a fit for each other (e.g. Q&A, company profiles, candidate profiles, discerning questions). It’s a nice low cost way to review a lot of candidates / companies with a minimal investment.
  • Transparency - The service makes the hiring process transparent to both hiring managers and candidates. You can see the banter going back and forth between candidates and interested hiring managers, and even see offers from competing companies (not so sure about the value of that one though).

What I Don’t Like

Now for what I don’t like about Hired.com:

  • Optimizes for time over quality - The auction format creates an artificial time urgency for both the hiring manager and candidate. As a hiring manager, I want to find great engineers who want to work at great company - not engineers who want to find the best job they can in two weeks. A well executed job search should IMHO take months, not days. I couldn’t help but think while using the platform: do I really want to find an engineer that wants a job in two weeks?
  • Offer roadblocks discussion - As a hiring manager, you must make an offer for what you think a candidate is worth (e.g. salary, stock options, bonuses, etc…) before engaging in a discussion. I struggled to walk a fine line between not wanting to make an offer that would prevent a candidate from engaging versus making one that that I might not be able to live up to once I dug deeper into their actual experience.
  • It’s a subset of the market - You will find a small subset of both the candidates and companies on Hired.com. This subset will grow over time, but as a candidate or hiring manager, you will still need to cast a wider net if you want to run a successful search. If you choose to only use Hired.com, you likely will miss out on a lot of interesting companies and candidates.
  • It’s only a tool - There is something happens when you commit yourself to finding a great company and job: you meet lots of interesting people and learn an enormous amount about what is happening in the Boston tech scene. As a fellow geek, there is something awesome about the concept of sitting behind a web browser and finding a job. Unfortunately, there is still no replacement in 2014 for the power of old school networking.


Overall I am impressed with the concept of Hired.com, if not its execution. It’s the closest I have found to Stack Overflow’s Candidate Search service, which offers a great experience for the hiring manager (albeit with much less candidate curation and flow). But it’s fatal flaw for me is its adherence to an artificial auction format, which mutes the impact of what could otherwise be a powerful service.

So my advice is: give it a try - but make sure it is just one of several sources you are using in your search.