How Companies Identify Talent with Josh Brenner of ettery/Hired & Kage Spatz

HR Strategy Series, Real Human Resources

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HR Strategy Series, Real Human Resources Hiring Strategies

If you are truly passionate about your work, it can profoundly impact your entire life.

As a part of my HR Strategy Series, I’m talking to top experts in the field to teach prospects what hiring managers are actually looking for, while also supporting business leaders in their hiring and retention strategies. Today I had the pleasure of talking with Josh Brenner.

Josh Brenner is the CEO of Vettery/Hired, the leading AI-driven hiring marketplace that matches highly-qualified and individually-vetted candidates with top companies. 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, rewarding experiences for candidates and employers.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! First, please tell us what brought you to this specific career path?

Of course! I have always enjoyed seeing innovative 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 growing platform-based solutions in various industries, always with a focus on new innovations and technology.

These experiences led me to initially join the Vettery team last August as Chief Product Officer. At the time, I was new to the recruiting and HR landscape and 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 are able to innovate and solve any business problem. Providing companies with the tools to do just that still motivates and drives me today.

Can you share the most interesting or funny story that happened to you since you started this career and what lesson you learned from that?

Several years before I joined the Vettery team as Chief Product Officer in August of 2019, I had met the company’s founders. After meeting them, I became intrigued by the hiring space and believed that the marketplace they were building had immense potential. While the timing didn’t work for me to join them initially, we stayed in touch, and I followed their success from the sidelines. When I caught up with them in early 2019, they convinced me to join and help them take the company to the next level, and it has been a life-changing experience and opportunity so far. Something that this experience has made me think about is how valuable it is to be genuinely curious about new industries and business models and how important it is to invest in building relationships.

Wonderful. Now let’s jump into the main focus of our series. Hiring can be very time-consuming and difficult. Can you share 5 techniques that you use to identify the talent that would be best suited for the job you want to fill?

  1. Showcase your company values. The first step is to attract top talent to you by creating a public company profile that clearly demonstrates your business’ core values. Candidates who are looking for a new job or are in their initial rounds of the hiring process will often flock to a company’s website, blog, social media, etc. to learn more about the role. By making sure your mission, core values, and company culture are clearly stated, you’ll increase your chances of attracting those who identify with them and embody the characteristics you want in an employee.
  2. Lead with transparency. From the very beginning of the hiring process, it is crucial to set clear expectations around the responsibilities of a role and what you’re looking for in a candidate. This entails being open about your work policies, internal communication, role requirements, and compensation, among other things. This helps to quickly see when candidates are not in alignment with the role and your business needs and identify those who are the right fit.
  3. Explore opportunities outside of your local candidate pipeline. In the current hiring landscape, limiting yourself to local candidates will only hinder your ability to surface qualified employees who can bring a new set of multifaceted ideas to your organization. As remote work continues for many businesses, now is the best time to extend your hiring efforts to markets with unsurfaced potential.
  4. Hire based on skills, not labels. Hiring employees on the basis of their skills should always take preference over their pedigree. Self-taught candidates not only demonstrate a proactive will to expand upon their skill set but can potentially also be a better fit than one who has a series of degrees behind their name. When evaluating a candidate, be sure not to fall into the pedigree bias and overlook candidates who have clearly demonstrated their skills in favor of a lesser-qualified individual who holds a specific degree.
  5. Leverage digital solutions. Digital tools such as hiring marketplaces offer the ability to tap into a large and highly-qualified candidate pool and are consistently advancing to better identify the best-fit candidates for your business needs. AI-driven tools can be particularly useful in bringing pre-vetted candidates to the forefront, saving recruiting and HR teams time that would otherwise be spent on pre-screening interviews, inbound resume screens of unqualified candidates, and messaging unresponsive, passive candidates.

With so much noise and competition out there, what are your top 3 ways to attract and engage the best talent in an industry when they haven’t already reached out to you?

  1. Deepen your talent pool. In 2020, many employers have discovered that expanding the geographical boundaries of their talent pool helps them source better-suited candidates while also improving diversity on their teams. Our research has shown that by choosing to hire for local and remote roles, companies have been able to increase the number of top applicants by a minimum of 84%, depending on the role.
  2. Your values matter more than ever. Job seekers — especially younger generations — want to work for companies that share their values and whose mission they can identify with. Companies that can clearly articulate what they stand for and who they are will stand out from the crowd and attract the right talent.
  3. Prioritize your existing employees. Word of mouth is still an incredibly powerful tool for any recruiter and your existing employees will always be your most important advocates. If your existing workforce feels proud of where they work and are excited about the opportunities given to them, that sense of fulfillment finds a way of making it to potential candidates as well.

If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?

If I could inspire a movement, it would be helping everyone find their dream job. I believe that having a job you love and are passionate about can truly change your life and overall happiness — that is why I am so excited about leading Hired and Vettery in our next chapter of growth.

We are blessed to have some of the biggest names in Business, VC, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world whom you would love to have a private lunch with, and why?

I would love to have a private lunch with Marc Cuban. I have always been impressed by his drive, thoughtfulness in his approach, and how down-to-earth he seems.

Thank you so much for sharing your insights with us today!

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