The right role can be life changing. The right team can change the world.

Too often, professionals stay in the wrong roles because of time-consuming job searches that lack transparency. Meanwhile, hiring remains the primary bottleneck to growth for most venture-backed companies. Why? Hiring is broken.

We're Candidate Labs.

The Search Firm Built as a Technology Company

We’re reimagining what’s possible in the recruiting space

Candidate Labs is creating a radically better experience for candidates and employers by reinventing the hiring process from start to finish. We utilize technology for scale and repeatability alongside a team of seasoned search professionals who join Candidate Labs for better enablement, economics, and growth.

Our Mission

For Candidates
Help every candidate find their dream job and support them in achieving their career ambitions.
For Recruiters
Amplify the impact of great recruiters, enabling them to spend more time with people and less time in a myriad of tools.
For Employers
Enable technology companies to scale more effectively through more consistent delivery of the right hire at the right time.

Our Last 100 Placements

88%
of candidates we put forward were interviewed by hiring managers
3 weeks
is the time it took for a client to meet the candidate they hired
90%
of clients are referrals
33%
of candidates were women or BIPOC
25%
of candidates were managers, directors, or executives
34%
of candidates were placed at a company backed by A16z, Kleiner, Sequoia, or Accel

Our People

Jonathan Downey

Chief Executive Officer

Jonathan Downey is an experienced technology entrepreneur, CEO, and investor, having founded two companies and invested in more than 50 startups, including 3 worth more than $1B.

A YC-Combinator alum, Jonathan was named USA Today's "Small-Business Innovator of the Year" and MIT Tech Review's "35 Innovators Under 35”. He has built out high-performing teams across hardware and software engineering, cloud services, recruiting, machine learning, and enterprise sales.

Over his career he has raised over $100M from Tier-1 investors, including A16Z, KPCB, Signalfire, and First Round Capital, and has secured six and seven-figure enterprise engagements with Fortune 500 enterprises including State Farm and Caterpillar.

He is an instrument-rated commercial multi-engine pilot and worked at Boeing as an engineer contributing to the development and flight testing of the A160T Hummingbird, a 6,500 lb fully-autonomous helicopter, which broke the world record for longest helicopter flight.

Jonathan remains an avid pilot and recently flew a small plane across the United States, visiting 14 cities in 14 days. He lives in San Mateo with his wife and goldendoodle puppy named Mochi.

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Jonathan Downey
Chief Executive Officer
CEO

Michael Zhang

Chief Operations Officer

Michael Zhang is a second-time founder and experienced startup operator with a background in highly-operationalized, technology-enabled business.

Michael started his career in the startup world as an early employee of Recyclebank, a KPCB-backed cleantech startup building a gamified rewards platform for environmentally friendly actions.

In 2011, he co-founded Trumaker, a technology-enabled menswear brand focused on built-to-fit clothing. Over the course of eight years, Michael helped Trumaker hire over 4,000 sales reps as stylists, operationalizing numerous systems along the way and introducing technology leverage into a highly-manual legacy industry. Trumaker scaled from a seed-stage company to Series B and was then acquired in 2018.

In his free time, Michael is learning the art of being a new dad to his son Milo and loves to explore his hometown of New York City.

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Michael Zhang
Chief Operations Officer
COO

Ryan Stevens

Chief Technical Officer

Ryan has over a decade of experience building high-caliber engineering teams and establishing team cultures oriented around personal growth. As the CTO of Candidate Labs, he is responsible for scaling the engineering team and building the technology to supercharge recruiters.

Ryan moved to San Francisco in 2011 with the life-long dream of working at a venture-backed startup. He started as the technical lead at BandPage, a music tech company that powered artists' presence on social media. Ryan was promoted to Director of Engineering responsible for the frontend and backend engineering and built the application serving 32 million monthly active users.

Ryan carved out a speciality in Node.js where he found his way to NodeSource, the industry’s premiere Node.js company. As a principal consultant, Ryan gave architectural evaluations and high-performance training to Fortune 500 companies aiming to level up their adoption and best practices of the technology. Just prior to co-founding Candidate Labs, Ryan led an engineering organization that implemented the first experimentation platform, raised loan origination, and ultimately ushered in a quant-driven software development process.

Ryan enjoys spending time with his family where most recently he and his daughter have been getting more serious at playing chess.

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Ryan Stevens
Chief Technical Officer
CTO

Jim Patterson

Chief Product Officer

Jim has decades of experience building and leading product, design, engineering, and operations teams at multi-sided marketplace and network/ecosystems businesses. He has helped scale and operate digital-native organizations across all company stages, from early, seed-funded ventures like Candidate Labs to large, public companies like Google/YouTube. His products and teams have been acquired by Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo!

Jim enjoys teaching and mentoring founders and product leaders. Outside of work, he is an avid trekker and alpine mountaineer who has scaled many of the largest peaks in the world. In his spare time, he maintains a hardcore meditation practice.

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Jim Patterson
Chief Product Officer
CPO

Kendra Morales

VP of Client Services

Kendra Morales has completed over 400 executive searches for venture-backed technology companies in her 23 years of executive search experience. At Candidate Labs, she oversees our client services organization.

Kendra launched her career at Hobson Associates in 1999 where she was Rookie of the Year and the youngest person ever promoted to Partner and then Senior Partner. She later joined The Millard Group where she was promoted to Associate Partner 15 months after joining and broke her own record six times for the largest fee closed in company history.

Most recently, Kendra came to Candidate Labs from Betts Recruiting, where she was hired to build out continuous training and development programs, create segment playbooks, and facilitating the overall Betts go-to-market strategy.

Kendra actively serves her community and, in 2013, founded a 501(c)3 non-profit organization For Goodness Sake which is a furniture bank in Central CT that has helped over 2,500 families coming out of homelessness/crisis get back on their feet. She also teaches yoga and meditation at a local prison.

Kendra graduated from Kent State University in 1999.

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Kendra Morales
VP of Client Services

Tony Glorioso

VP of Design

Tony Glorioso has spent the past 20 years leading design teams on high-profile product initiatives for today's top lifestyle brands, including Samsung, Apple, Google, BMW, Herman Miller, Sephora, Tesla, Dolby, and Marriott. At Candidate Labs, he oversees our design organization.

Tony believes in bringing humanity to our digital lives while driving product innovation. Over the past two decades, Tony developed multiple new design methodologies and organizational processes—focused on enabling efficiency, facilitating best possible design and user outcomes, and fostering a safe and playful creative culture.

Most recently, Tony came to Candidate Labs from Latch, where he was hired to build the product design practice, including completely redesigning the Latch software ecosystem, and creating a design system to increase development velocity and govern design standards. During his tenure, Latch successfully went public.

Tony is active in the art and design communities, and recently launched a new series of abstract paintings and NFTs, with a majority of profits given to support local community creators. When not creating, Tony can be found skiing or lifting something heavy.

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Tony Glorioso
VP of Design

Kendra Morales

VP of Client Services

Kendra Morales has completed over 400 executive searches for venture-backed technology companies in her 23 years of executive search experience. At Candidate Labs, she oversees our client services organization.

Kendra launched her career at Hobson Associates in 1999 where she was Rookie of the Year and the youngest person ever promoted to Partner and then Senior Partner. She later joined The Millard Group where she was promoted to Associate Partner 15 months after joining and broke her own record six times for the largest fee closed in company history.

Most recently, Kendra came to Candidate Labs from Betts Recruiting, where she was hired to build out continuous training and development programs, create segment playbooks, and facilitating the overall Betts go-to-market strategy.

Kendra actively serves her community and, in 2013, founded a 501(c)3 non-profit organization For Goodness Sake which is a furniture bank in Central CT that has helped over 2,500 families coming out of homelessness/crisis get back on their feet. She also teaches yoga and meditation at a local prison.

Kendra graduated from Kent State University in 1999.

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Kendra Morales
VP of Client Services

Liam Naughton

Client Partner

Liam Naughton is an experienced search professional who has completed C-level and VP searches for some of the highest profile companies in the technology world today. He has worked across a variety of functions with expertise in sales, marketing, technology, and finance. He joined Candidate Labs in October of 2020 to continue to expand their executive search practice while providing top notch service to their prestigious clients.

Before joining Candidate Labs, Liam spent several years with top tier boutique search firm Daversa Partners. While at Daversa, Liam completed C-level and VP searches for public and private companies in the technology space, and quickly rose through the ranks to senior associate. Based in the New York and Connecticut offices, Liam’s work expanded across the country with placements based in LA, SF, NYC, Boston, and other geographies.

Liam is based in Manhattan and grew up in Darien, Connecticut. While New York is his home today, he finds any and all excuses to go back to Vermont and spend weekends hiking in the Green Mountains. Liam is passionate about youth sports and athletics, and has helped coach multiple YMCA and travel sports organizations. While he played basketball in college, today you’re more likely to find Liam on the golf course rather than the court.

Liam graduated from Middlebury College in Vermont with a degree in history and minors in political science and religious studies.

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Liam Naughton
Client Partner

Giles Van Praagh

Client Partner

Giles Van Praagh began his career in the early 1990's gaining valuable experience spanning buy-side equity analysis, investment banking, and retained executive search. He focuses on partnering with entrepreneurial management teams across the digital, tech, and tech-enabled ecosystems to augment their C-suites with high impact leaders across functional areas. Particular areas of focus include Chief Executive Officer, President, Chief Operating Officer, Chief Revenue Officer, and Chief Marketing Officer.

Giles has experience working with clients across both enterprise and consumer-facing business models. On the enterprise front, he has experience with SaaS, artificial intelligence, IoT, and professional services. In the consumer arena, Giles has experience in eCommerce (including digital native, direct-to-consumer, and more traditional retail/brand) and marketplaces.

Giles' previous executive search roles include Partner at True Search and VP at StevenDouglas. He brings a thoughtful approach to his client relationships. In order to provide the greatest value in any engagement, he is a firm believer in becoming a student of the company, its leadership team, and its overarching definition of success.

A lifelong New Yorker, Giles has partnered with clients geographically distributed across the US, Europe, and the Middle East. If you want to diverge from Search talk, Giles will be more than happy to extoll the virtues of being a devoted citizen cyclist and discuss his amateur urban planning obsession.

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Giles Van Praagh
Client Partner
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Miles Dale

Senior Technical Recruiter

Miles joined Candidate Labs as the first Technical Recruiter on the team, focused on internal hiring and building out the technical roles to help scale our software offering while ensuring a radically better candidate experience.

Miles previously worked at Integrity Power Search, an agency that specializes in recruiting for early-stage startups in the midwest, where he was responsible for both client-facing and technical recruiting. After 1 year, he was promoted to Director and started taking on leadership responsibilities while still being an individual contributor. He later became the first Senior Director in the company and won multiple accolades in 2021 including being the Top Performer, Q1/Q2/Q3 Recruiter of the Quarter, and breaking the company's annual record within the first 7 months of the year. In the past 15 months, he has successfully executed 50+ full-time placements ranging from Software Engineers, ML Engineers, Product Managers, and executive positions.

Outside of work, Miles loves to hike, camp, and ski in the mountains in Colorado where he resides. He also is a huge sports fan and loves to get involved with different leagues in the Denver community.

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Miles Dale
Senior Technical Recruiter
Senior Technical Recruiter

Shawn Chao

Chief of Staff

Shawn the epitome of a jack of all trades. He began as a researcher and has worked in the biochemistry, environmental science, finance, and sports analytics fields. His work has been published in the Financial Times and Nature and featured at the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference. His proudest moment is when his model for NCAA March Madness placed him in the top 0.001% out of all brackets in 2021.

Beyond academic research, Shawn first worked as a quantitative researcher at AQR Capital Management developing asset pricing models and building the backend data pipeline. Then, he became a product manager at Pine Park Health building and managing automated billing tools that increased efficiency of the billing process by 10x and resulted in $100,000 in savings. Just prior to joining Candidate Labs, he was an operations associate at Astranis making videos to enhance recruiting and developing detailed layman onboarding documentation for satellite construction and functionality.

Outside of work, Shawn is a competitive badminton player competing in regional and national tournaments. He also enjoys traveling and experiencing different cultures, and his goal is to maintain his streak of visiting a greater number of countries than his age.


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Shawn Chao
Chief of Staff

Sarah Druyan

People & Talent Operations Manager

Sarah joined Candidate Labs as the first Talent Director on the team, but quickly transitioned to internal recruiting. Today, she is managing People & Talent Operations, where she is focused on onboarding, employee experience, and recruiting processes.

Sarah previously worked at an agency focused on placing top GTM talent at early-stage startups where she learned recruiting fundamentals and foundational skills to set her up for success. After one year, she was promoted and began recruiting on her own searches. Sarah went on to explore in-house recruiting at Sisu Data as their first GTM recruiter. Sarah is excited to grow with Candidate Labs and to work alongside exceptional leaders and recruiters.

Outside of work, Sarah is passionate about fitness, cooking and travel. After graduating from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, Sarah went on a solo trip travelling to 9 countries across Europe, Southeast Asia and the land down under. She got her working holiday visa in New Zealand and lived, worked, and travelled all over the country for a year. She has big dreams of living there again.

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Sarah Druyan
People & Talent Operations Manager
People & Talent Ops Manager

Stacey Gabriel

Agency Operations Associate

Over the past decade, Stacey Gabriel has cultivated a broad understanding of the inner workings of multiple industries, from Napa Valley luxury wine, to bespoke fashion, to clinical healthcare settings.

Starting her journey straight out of UC Davis in the Marketing and Communications industry, Stacey found purpose in optimizing intra-business workflows and facilitating environments where all can succeed. Combining her experience in professional writing and communication with an inherent capacity for empathy, Stacey excels in strategizing business efficiency around the strengths of her leaders and peers.

In her free time, she challenges her physical limitations as a rock climber, and finds joy in exploring her identity as a Filipina-American through cooking.

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Stacey Gabriel
Agency Operations Associate
Agency Ops Associate

Christopher Garyet

Director of Business Development

Christopher Garyet has closed over $70M in enterprise contracts throughout his 13 years of technology sales and partnerships experience, at companies ranging in size from global multinationals to early-stage startups.  At Candidate Labs, he oversees Venture Capital Partnerships and High Growth Startup Business Development, cultivating both new client relationships and deepening existing relationships with our base of high-growth startups and their associated venture capital firms.

Christopher launched his career in the Engineering Leadership Development program at National Instruments where he spent 3 years as an Applications and Test Engineer. After finding his passion for sales and relationship development, he spent the next decade developing first hand full stack knowledge of technology based platforms from IoT to Cloud at Future Electronics, Silex Technologies (a Qualcomm integrator), and Sigfox, the first French Unicorn startup.

Most recently, Christopher came to Candidate Labs from four years at Google Cloud, where he was hired for his Energy Industry experience as an Enterprise Account Executive to deepen the Google Cloud customer base in Texas, winning the award for Most Impactful Sales in 2020. From there, he joined the partnerships team to lead Venture Capital Partnerships, where he focused on broad portfolio growth for the biggest and most successful VC firms in the world. 

Christopher is deeply passionate about meditation, mindfulness, personal growth, and parenthood, and has spent extensive time traveling with his wife and two children in India, Japan, Iceland, Europe, North America, and Guatemala. He is actively involved in the Austin Consciousness Community, where he leads meditation based Spiritual Retreats, plays guitar and drum in a Kirtan band, and connects global facilitators to local yoga spaces. His favorite activity is backcountry camping with his friends and family.

Christopher graduated with highest honors from the Georgia Institute of Technology with a degree in Electrical Engineering in 2007.

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Christopher Garyet
Director of Business Development
Director of Biz Dev

Danielle Wood

Director of Business Development

Danielle Wood has over 10 years of experience in Business Development, much of which has been spent at early-stage companies. At Candidate Labs, she is focused on cultivating both new client relationships and deepening our existing relationships with our base of high-growth clients.

Danielle graduated with a B.S. in Advertising from top-ranked Moody College of Communication in 2011. Her transition into the high-tech space was driven by her move to Impulse LLC, a Network Security company, where she received the award for Top Revenue Sold Annually as a National Account Manager. During her near 5-year tenure at Impulse, she was responsible for building out the CS function for over 200 customers, which included wide-scale customer education and identification of usage gaps in the software to increase ACV through client expansion.

Danielle later moved into an Account Executive role at PeopleGrove, a mission-driven software company focused on providing scalable mentorship solutions to underprivileged students. Within 6 months, she was solely responsible for owning business acquisition for the Southeastern US. Most recently, Danielle came to Candidate Labs from Betts Recruiting, where she was hired to grow new business in both the software and services segment for the Eastern US.

Danielle currently lives in Dallas, TX with her pup. You can find her paddle boarding, bike riding, and enjoying the Texas sunshine.

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Danielle Wood
Director of Business Development
Director of Biz Dev

Lauren Zahorec

Director of Business Development

Lauren Zahorec is an experienced sales and strategy leader, with a background in finance and technology. For the past 15+ years she has served in a variety of strategic sales and growth roles, and has been committed to helping high-growth companies scale for success through the use of technology. 

Lauren started her career in the finance industry, joining UBS Global Asset Management in 2003, focused on business development. She later joined JP Morgan Asset Management as VP of Client Portfolio Management, where she was responsible for managing relationships and identifying new sales opportunities for the Behavioral Finance platform. 

Most recently, she was Director of Private Equity & Venture Capital at Wunderkind, helping the company develop impactful partnerships with investors and their portfolio companies. Prior to Wunderkind, she was Head of Sales & Partnerships at Rise and VP of Sales at Vestwell.

In her free time, Lauren loves exploring the world with her family, and they recently welcomed their first child, Alessandro. When she has some alone time (it is rare!), you can find her on the Peloton, listening to the latest podcast, or at home redecorating!. 

Lauren graduated from Miami of Ohio in 2003.

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Lauren Zahorec
Director of Business Development
Director of Biz Dev

Bassam Aoun

Head of Data Science

Bassam Aoun has more than 12 years of experience solving machine learning problems across various industries. At Candidate Labs, his algorithms power job matching, creation of knowledge graphs, and process automation.

His strong background in mathematics makes his expertise domain-agnostic. At AIMCO, his statistical models ran the risk management of $20 billion in assets while his trading strategies had $7 billion in assets under management. At Sizmek, the world's largest independent ad serving company at the time, his AI algorithms powered real-time ad targeting across web, mobile, video and social channels.

Bassam got his PhD in Mathematics and a Master’s in Computer Science from the University of Waterloo in Canada. He is the recipient of various academic awards, and his publications have more than 500 references, ranging from graph algorithms to hedge fund arbitrage strategies to quantum mechanics.

Outside of work Bassam likes to travel across Asia and run renovation projects.

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Bassam Aoun
Head of Data Science

Stefan Ayala

Senior Software Engineer in Test

Stefan Ayala is a Senior Software Engineer with a passion for Test Automation. At Candidate Labs, he will be key to building out the overall Test Automation strategy from scratch, and ensuring that we ship quality code in a timely manner as we continue to scale.

Stefan has over 10 years experience in Software Engineering ranging from iOS development, Full Stack Web Development, and Test Automation. At iFixit, Stefan was the first and only Quality Assurance Engineer to introduce and implement a test automation strategy which encompassed everything from automated tests to their CI/CD pipeline. Stefan wore many hats, which included being the sole maintainer for the iFixit iOS App which had over 1 million active users while also building out web features for the main site.

The company Dozuki was born out of iFixit and Stefan became their first and only Founding Software Engineer where he continued to wear many hats. As the engineering team grew, he was able to focus on the overall Test Automation strategy for Dozuki, which was part of a Strategic Growth Investment.

Outside of work, Stefan enjoys DJing on Twitch and is a sucker for standup comedy, movies, boxing, and traveling.

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Stefan Ayala
Senior Software Engineer in Test
Senior Software Engineer

Shannon Babincsak

Full Stack Software Engineer

Shannon Babincsak is a full stack engineer with a passion for front end development and UX.  At Candidate Labs, she’ll be using her expertise to create a better recruiting experience.

Shannon graduated from Tennessee Tech majoring in both Political Science and Computer Science.  Her college experiences co-oping at Adtran, leading the development of a game emulator, and participating in numerous side projects, pushed her to pursue software engineering after graduation. Shannon returned to Adtran full-time, specializing in front end development and leading efforts in UX and accessibility.  She was also heavily involved with driving innovation at Adtran through organizing hack-a-thons, which had double the participation during her involvement.  After Adtran, Shannon joined Otus as a full stack engineer and leveraged her expertise to deliver key features during the shift to remote learning.

Outside of work, Shannon enjoys exploring her creative side through hobbies like embroidery and crochet, growing plants, and watching the latest horror movies.

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Shannon Babincsak
Full Stack Software Engineer

Lauren Chircus

Senior Product Manager, Data Platform

Lauren Chircus has led data and product teams at LinkedIn and Airbnb, building novel technological solutions throughout the data stack that have revolutionized how teams think about and use data. At Candidate Labs, Lauren is bringing their expertise to bear by leading strategy and execution for our core data products.

While completing their PhD in Systems Biology from Stanford and publishing papers with Nobel Laureates, Lauren served part time as Benchling's first Product & Marketing Manager. Since then, Lauren has spent their career straddling the line between data and product in both Data Science and Product Management roles. Lauren is passionate about improving people and products through data. The technology and processes Lauren built as a Senior Product Manager at Airbnb reshaped the company culture around data and enabled Airbnb's IPO. Most recently, Lauren led a data science team at LinkedIn focusing on facilitating conversations in the job market.

Lauren lives in San Francisco with their partner, toddler, and dog, and spends as much time as possible outside with them gardening and at parks.

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Lauren Chircus
Senior Product Manager, Data Platform
Senior PM, Data Platform

Michael Donohue

Founding Product Manager

Michael Donahue joined Candidate Labs as its Founding Software Engineer and first employee and has since worn many hats including engineering, design, and product management. He has recently become our first Product Manager as we substantially grow the breadth of our technology offering.

Michael started his career with FactSet in Customer Success and then moved to California to start his career in Software Engineering. He worked at LendingClub as an Associate Software Engineer where he grew into a Senior Software Engineer.

At LendingClub, he was a part of an Engineering “Tiger” team responsible for tackling high-profile projects, which led to him becoming part of the Personal Loans and Platform Engineering team.

Michael drove substantial A/B testing, improving conversion rates by as much as 5% per test, which ultimately led to an additional $200M in loan originations through the borrower funnel, amounting to $35M of additional bottom line in revenue per quarter.

Michael created “Propulsion”, LendingClub’s Design System from scratch and eventually led a team of engineers and designers responsible for growing and maintaining the project, which is still being used today.

Michael enjoys snowboarding and travelling, which allows him to explore and experience different cultures.

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Michael Donohue
Founding Product Manager

Josh Everett

Senior Software Engineer

Josh is an experienced product engineer who cut his teeth on early stage startups. He previously worked under Candidate Labs CTO Ryan Stevens at BandPage, where together they routinely pushed the boundaries of UI engineering into uncharted territory. After BandPage was acquired by Google, he spent the next few years at YouTube solving UX challenges at scale for the Music and and Premium teams.

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Josh Everett
Senior Software Engineer

Ian Gregg

Group Product Manager, Employer Experience

Ian Gregg is a hands-on business and product builder, driving growth in technology-enabled businesses. Ian has led multiple successful business units and product launches in his 20+ years of start-up and growth company experience. 

Ian started his career running supply chain operations for several manufacturing companies, including the build out of a new manufacturing facility in China. Ian transitioned to product development with his first product receiving a “Product of the Year” award by an industry magazine. From there, Ian became a management consultant, working with many high-profile technology companies to improve product management capabilities, execute on tight product development schedules, and exceed revenue targets. On one project, Ian acted as Chief of Staff to the VP of Engineering for a product that launched on-time and generated $4B+ in revenue. Before joining Candidate Labs, Ian was the founding employee of HALO Tech and HALO Diagnostics, where he led the product and engineering teams to build several ML-enabled enterprise SaaS products in the Life Science / Medical industries. 

‍Ian is a commercially-rated pilot and flies regularly with his wife Maria and dog Mira Moo. He is also a certified open water scuba diver and generally enjoys finding new adventures outside.

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Ian Gregg
Group Product Manager, Employer Experience
Group Product Manager

Yan Huang

Senior Software Engineer in Test

Yan graduated has a PhD in bioengineering from Purdue University in 2018, and launched her career at Amazon as a Software Engineer in Test in 2019. She was one of their top-tier performers and was promoted within 18 months.

During her time at Amazon, Yan led the design and development of a fully automated regression testing framework for employee-data integration services to over 100 internal and external customers with 80 core test cases/services, and worked extensively on both backend system integration testing, UI testing, and built generalizable solutions. She also collaborated across teams to optimize test strategies and approaches to deliver end-to-end testing results on time to customers.

Most recently, Yan joined Candidate Labs as a Senior Software Engineer in Test, where she will lead software testing automation, UI testing and data quality assurance.

Outside of work, Yan is passionate about applying technology to education. She launched a game app called EmoManage 2022, which teaches emotion management through a RPG game. Yan is also a belly dancer and a volunteer basketball coach for kids, and has donated hair for wigs for kids programs since 2019.


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Yan Huang
Senior Software Engineer in Test
Senior Software Engineer

Grant Hulegaard

Staff Engineer

Grant Hulegaard is a seasoned software engineer with a breadth of experience throughout the software development lifecycle. At Candidate Labs, he is chiefly responsible for architecting and scaling our data platform, working closely with our CTO, Ryan.

Grant was the first US software engineer at NGINX (later acquired by F5 Networks) and the second backend developer on the NGINX Amplify project. He helped build and scale it into a monitoring and analytics platform ingesting data from NGINX+ and OSS installations alike, tackling challenges scaling big data in a SaaS environment with strict SLA requirements.

Prior to Candidate Labs, Grant was a senior engineer on the platform team at United Masters where he built out the next generation of the UM platform to help empower artists to publish music without labels. This included the occasional moonlighting as a data engineer - helping the data science team scale their PostgreSQL database.

When not enabling novel data-driven solutions, he enjoys unplugging in the great outdoors. He has combined his passion for the outdoors with a desire to give back to his community by serving as a volunteer Ski Patroller for the National Ski Patrol.

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Grant Hulegaard
Staff Engineer

Brian Kennedy

Senior Software Engineer

Brian Kennedy oversees cross-functional engineering projects at Candidate Labs. His team focuses on delivering quality software at a rapid pace.

Before Candidate Labs, Brian worked at Future, a KPCB-backed startup, where he was responsible for building a bespoke customer-facing web experience, as well as optimizing customer acquisition from first impressions, all the way to signing up. He was at Future from the beginning of their Series A through a successful $24M Series B.

Brian graduated from the American University in Paris, majoring in both Computer Science and Comparative Literature. He also holds a Master’s Degree in Computer Science from Conservatoire National des Arts et Métiers in Paris, France.

Kennedy also writes, produces, and performs in various theatre productions around the Bay Area.

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Brian Kennedy
Senior Software Engineer

Mengyao Liu

Data Scientist, Product

Mengyao Liu has 7+ years research and industry experience in programming, modeling, data analysis, and data visualization. With 17 publications in Astrophysics with over 200 citations, Mengyao demonstrates expertise in problem-solving, critical thinking, project management and collaboration.

Mengyao obtained her PhD degree in Astronomy at University of Virginia in 2020. Later, she attended the Data Incubator Fellowship program and launched her first web app, a recommendation engine Find Your Influencer. She then worked as a Data Science intern at SumRidge Partners and enhanced the company-wide machine learning Sell/Buy model framework.

Most recently, Mengyao came to Candidate Labs from Root, where she worked as an Associate Data Scientist and built an end-to-end machine learning retention model with significant improvement on user-level precision.

Mengyao was active in outreach during her PhD program. She was engaged in the Astronomy Club held at Virginia elementary schools, every Friday afternoon from 2017 to 2019. She also served as organizer and speaker at seasonal outreach events like Public Night and Star Party.

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Mengyao Liu
Data Scientist, Product
Data Scientist

Nathan Moore

Frontend Engineer

Nathan is a passionate software engineer skilled in building web experiences for organizations ranging from three-person startups to publicly traded companies. Nathan works closely with the product and engineering team to build web applications that empower Candidate Labs search professionals to deliver a world-class experience to our clients.

Before joining Candidate Labs, Nathan started his career splitting time between a small web development agency and a charitable Austin, Texas-based startup. After gaining valuable early experience, Nathan moved to San Francisco and worked for Lending Club and Plastiq prior to joining Candidate Labs late in the spring of 2021.

When not behind the keyboard, Nathan loves doing anything outside, be it hiking with his dog Otis, backpacking in Colorado, or playing golf.

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Nathan Moore
Frontend Engineer

Ryan Noronha

Full Stack Software Engineer

Ryan Noronha is a passionate self-taught full-stack engineer with several years experience building products at a wide range of startups. He is also a seasoned former investment banker, having worked on Wall Street for more than five years, where he led significant debt deals for companies and projects across Latin America.

Born and raised in Brazil, he initially pursued a conventional corporate career, working his way up the investment banking ladder in London and New York. When the emerging wave of tech-based startup companies piqued his interest, he decided to leave finance altogether and taught himself how to code, quickly discovering his passion for software engineering. He has since worked for a variety of startups, most recently Own-Up, a fast-growing mortgage platform, where he was a full-stack engineer. 

Ryan is a graduate from Stanford University, where he majored in Economics and minored in Mathematics. He also holds a Master’s degree in Management Science and Engineering from Stanford.

Ryan is a trained classical pianist and loves going on epic road trips. When he isn’t behind a (computer or piano) keyboard, he is usually found on the golf course or the tennis court.

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Ryan Noronha
Full Stack Software Engineer

Ingolf Warnke

Staff Data Engineer

Ingolf's startup experience includes roles in software, data, and machine learning engineering. Prior to joining Candidate Labs as a Staff Data Engineer, he was a founding member of the engineering team at HALO Diagnostics, working alongside radiologists to develop AI models aimed at supporting their clinical decisions. As part of the 3-strong engineering team at HALO Technologies, he owned a variety of projects that enabled a data-powered SaaS sales lead generation and CRM tool that was licensed to Illumina, and several other Silicon Valley Biotech Companies. Before focusing on Data Engineering, Ingolf worked as a software engineer at a mobile payments startup. In 2017, he joined the Insight Data Science program as a Data Engineering Fellow, where he remained active as a Technical Advisor for several years.

Ingolf is an accomplished theoretical and computational chemist. As Post-Doctoral Researcher at Yale University, he led an industrial collaboration with General Electrics within the DOE funded Energy Frontier Research Center for scalable, efficient, and safe fuel cell energy storage technologies. During his PhD studies at UC Irvine, he focused on developing and implementing algorithms for the prediction of molecular properties based on quantum mechanics.

Ingolf is a passionate cyclist, and he also likes to play the guitar (though he admits he is not very good at it).

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Ingolf Warnke
Staff Data Engineer

Eric White

Principal Data Scientist

Eric is an accomplished particle physics PhD and lecturer as well as a data scientist and machine-learning engineer. Most recently, Eric was a Principal Data Scientist at Demandbase, and his previous experience includes time as a top-rated instructor of Physics at Cal Poly as well as an Insight Data Science fellowship.

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Eric White
Principal Data Scientist

Xiaolei Zhu

Data Engineer

Xiaolei Zhu has been writing computer programs to tackle some of the world's most data-intensive problems for 15 years. At Candidate Labs, he is responsible for data pipelines, transforming raw data into valuable information and serving it to recruiters.

Xiaolei received his Ph.D. in Computational Chemistry from Johns Hopkins University, where he developed methods to create models that accurately predict the quantum mechanical behavior of molecular systems, which are used to research energetic materials, explosives, and the interaction of materials with lasers.

He later moved to Stanford and SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, where he developed programs to utilize one of the world's largest GPU supercomputers to perform large-scale computations. He was responsible for computations in a number of breakthrough scientific projects, such as capturing a molecule switching quantum state in a chemical reaction on tape for the first time and engineering carbon negative plastics. Many of these were published in the world's most prestigious scientific journals.

Most recently, Xiaolei joined Candidate Labs as a Data Engineer, where he created and managed a network of data pipelines that bridges the front and backend engineering efforts to deliver our unique data product to the recruiting team. He is also responsible for productionalizing machine learning models.

In his spare time, he enjoys playing a variety of sports with friends and family, exploring the wilderness and traveling the world, preferably with some good chocolate in his pockets.

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Xiaolei Zhu
Data Engineer

Meet the Candidate Labs Team

Top VC-Backed Companies Hire With Us

Coda logoDeel logoParsec logoOne Signal logoAirbase logoSet sail logoLattice logo+Doxel logoMira logoVoice ops logoRippling logoChili Piper logo

"Best Contingency Firm for High Growth Startups - Hands Down"

Brian Acosta, Sydney

"Sourced and closed our first AE in 9 days; best recruiting experience in my 25 years of B2B"

Brian Acosta, Sydney

"Amazing experience with great people to support!"

Brian Acosta, Sydney

"Amazing insights, Collaboration and opportunity"

Brian Acosta, Sydney

5-Star Rated on G2

"Best Contingency Firm for High Growth Startups - Hands Down"
Kelly Brimbore, Newcastle
"Sourced and closed our first AE in 9 days; best recruiting experience in my 25 years of B2B"
Adrian Moore, Melbourne
"Amazing experience with great people to support!"
Farrah Kent, London
"Amazing insights, Collaboration and opportunity"
Mo Fallah, Sydney
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5-Star Rated on G2

StarStarStarStarStar
"Best Contingency Firm for High Growth Startups - Hands Down"
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StarStarStarStarStar
"Sourced and closed our first AE in 9 days; best recruiting experience in my 25 years of B2B"
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StarStarStarStarStar
"Amazing experience with great people to support!"
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"The candidates we saw were really high quality. 9.5 out of every 10 candidates they showed us, we did a screen with, and from there, the likelihood of us bringing a candidate on-site was higher than I've seen with other firms or with inbound candidates. We were able to hire two people from a standing start within 45 days.”
— Josh Wetzel, CRO of OneSignal
“Candidate Labs presented me with seven candidates - all that met the criteria that we'd identified as important. I accepted all seven candidates and started them through the interview process. Through those seven candidates, we actually went forward and offered jobs to four of them. And three of the four accepted the jobs. We were thrilled with being able to start with seven, end with three, and do it all within about a four week period of time.”
— Keith Cook, VP of Worldwide Sales at Parsec
“We work with four or five different recruiters for the different go-to-market roles that we were doing searches for and consistently Candidate Labs brought the most quality candidates.”
— Chris Lee, Head of Sales, North America at Deel
"I honestly don’t know exactly how they do it. What I do know is the result, they're putting in front of me really qualified candidates in a fraction of the time that I’m used to."
— Sasha Pesic, COO of RapidAPI

Our Investors

We're grateful to work with a group of investors who believe the recruiting space is overdue for change. We're backed by top tier investors and over two dozen founders of high-growth startups.
Signal Fire logoFuel Capital logoFJ labs logoBox Group logo

Talent Leaders

Jack Altman

Founder, Lattice

John Jersin

Founder, Connectifier

Tom Friel

fmr CEO, Heidrick & Struggles

Tech-Enabled Service Founders

Eric Wu

Founder, Opendoor

Gordon Wintrob

Founder, Newfront Insurance

Keller Rinaudo

Founder, Zipline

AI / ML Leaders

David Scott Phoenix

Founder, Vicarious.ai

Ian Wong

Founder, Opendoor

George Babu

Founder, Kindred.ai

Founders

James Beshara

Founder, Tilt

Zachary Bookman

Founder, OpenGov

Eric DeMenthon

Founder, Padmapper

Tim Harris

Founder, Swift Navigation

Jake Klamka

Founder, Insight Data Science

Thejo Kote

Founder, Airbase

Mark Lovas

Founder, Trumaker

Shan Sinha

Founder, Highfive

Kyle Vogt

Founder, Cruise

Rated as the #1 search firm on G2 

StarStarStarStarStar
"Best recruiting experience I've ever had! Great company, quick & lucrative offer, very professional"
Brian N,
Account Executive
Enterprise (> 1000 emp.)
StarStarStarStarStar
"High Quality Recruitment & Quick Timeline to Hire!"
Dana M,
Account Manager, Channel
Small-Business (50 or fewer emp.)
StarStarStarStarStar
"Candidate Labs was the perfect hybrid of educational, thoughtful, and resourceful recruiting"
Emily L,
Founding Account Executive
Small-Business (50 or fewer emp.)
StarStarStarStarStar
"Fantastic recruiting experience."
Joshua M,
Associate, Revenue Collective
Mid-Market (51-1000 emp.)
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We're Nationwide

Candidate Labs has offices in major tech hubs across the country and team members working remotely to support our clients and candidates nationwide.

SF Bay Area

New York

Austin

SoCal

Denver

Remote

Our Core Values

We are data people.

Innovation and technology are in our DNA. We believe that software can enable radically better experiences for candidates, employers, and recruiters, and that data is the fundamental lever.

We are not limited by the status quo.

We are willing to forgo old ways and invent new methods. With open minds and innate curiosity, we tackle the problems that others are not bold enough to face.

We are known for our dependability and high-trust relationships.

We care deeply about the success of our candidates and partners, believing that lasting relationships are built through investment, transparency, and trust – not transactions.

We have a velocity mindset.

We combine the clarity of big picture thinking with the propensity to act. We optimize for speed of learning, celebrating wins and learning from failures. We prioritize ruthlessly.

We are committed to growth.

We believe that little improvements add up to big impact. We are eager to learn and embrace the discomfort of growth, knowing our consistent pursuit of improvement creates compounding personal and professional gains.

We are all recruiters.
We are all technologists.

Our ultimate advantage is our ability to work together. We are highly collaborative, put the team first, and support each other. We push each other to do our best work, knowing that we compete and win together.

We don’t mistake activity for results.

In an industry known for empty promises, we deliver consistent results, combining hard work and discipline to deliver on our promises. We continually find leverage to do our work better, faster and at greater scale.
Join Our Team