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 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

CEO

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
CEO

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

Ryan Stevens

CTO

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
CTO

Michael Zhang

COO

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
COO

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

Jaycie Moller

Client Partner

Jaycie Moller is an experienced GTM recruiter who has completed key hires for some of the most well known startups in Silicon Valley. She has worked across a variety of functions including Sales, Marketing, Customer Success, and Operations. Jaycie joined Candidate Labs as one of the first recruiters and first female in the company. As a Client Partner, her focus at Candidate Labs is to help top startups make their critical “first of” hires.

She has completed searches for high-growth startups including SurveyMonkey, Bill.com, Vonage, Lever, ADP, Pilot.com, Rippling, Deel, Airbase, and OneSignal. While Jaycie started her career in technical recruiting, she quickly realized that she was most passionate about the GTM side of the business. Before Candidate Labs, Jaycie spent 3 years at TheLions, a boutique GTM recruiting firm in San Francisco. There, Jaycie quickly became the #1 producer, was promoted to a leadership role, and completed over 60 searches for both private and post-IPO companies.

Jaycie grew up in Los Angeles and attended the University of San Francisco where she graduated with a BA in Psychology. She was an active member of the Psychology Honors program and spent her senior year researching ADHD in elementary-aged students. Jaycie also worked as a stylist at Stitch Fix during college which was her first taste of the power of a tech-enabled services model - one of the many reasons she was excited about the technology at Candidate Labs. Today, Jaycie lives in San Francisco where you can find her hiking with her GSP (Frankie), figure skating, cooking, and wine tasting in Napa in her free time.

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Jaycie Moller
Client Partner

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
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Jane St. John

Director of Marketing

Jane St. John has spent the last decade refining the brand voice and content strategies of successful challenger brands in a variety of industries, including aviation, apparel, and tech. She’s now the Director of Marketing at Candidate Labs, where she helps tell the stories of connections made between game-changing companies and uniquely qualified candidates.

After starting her marketing career building paid search campaigns, Jane wrote copy and developed creative for Virgin America and Old Navy across print, digital, social media, video, radio, and out-of-home marketing—collaborating on rich content like Virgin America’s award-winning safety video.

As Brand Director at Surf Air, she created foundational marketing materials and oversaw communications and content development through two website and content relaunches - increasing revenue and lead capture while driving deeper engagement. Most recently, she led the digital marketing team at NationBuilder where, in addition to driving day-to-day marketing initiatives, she spearheaded the production of the company’s annual Year in Review, highlighting history-making contributions across a worldwide community of software users from 2017 to 2021.

She has an MFA in fiction writing and lives in Los Angeles with her husband and terrier mix. In her spare time she’s a voracious reader, tends a small vegetable garden, and volunteers with local advocacy groups for criminal justice reform.

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Jane St. John
Director of Marketing

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

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

Mario Ayerbe

UX Designer

Mario is a Product Designer with over 20 years of experience. He has worked in apparel, education, home automation, security, and in the industrial sector.

Prior to Candidate Labs, Mario was a Product Designer at Dell. Mario has recognized the pragmatic need for constant learning opportunities and the necessary openness to change required in the dynamic environment to today’s creative design world. Mario has used his valuable knowledge in both business and design to enhance the best experiences possible in each of his products in his career.

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Mario Ayerbe
UX Designer

Our People

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Jonathan Downey

CEO
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Kendra Morales

VP of Client Services
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Ryan Stevens

CTO
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Photo of Michael Zhang, the COO

Michael Zhang

COO
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Photo of Kendra Morales

Kendra Morales

VP of Client Services
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Photo of Jaycie Moller

Jaycie Moller

Client Partner
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Liam Naughton

Client Partner
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Photo of Jane St. John

Jane St. John

Director of Marketing 
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Photo of Danielle Wood

Danielle Wood

Director of Business Development
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Photo of Bassam Aoun

Bassam Aoun

Head of Data Science
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Photo of Mario Ayerbe

Mario Ayerbe

UX Designer
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Lauren Chircus

Senior Product Manager, Data Platform
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Michael Donohue

Founding Product Manager
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Grant Hulegaard

Staff Engineer
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Brian Kennedy

Senior Software Engineer
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Nathan Moore

Frontend Engineer
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Eric White

Principal Data Scientist
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Xiaolei Zhu

Data Engineer

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.

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
View All Reviews

5-Star Rated on G2

StarStarStarStarStar
"Best Contingency Firm for High Growth Startups - Hands Down"
Read Full Review
StarStarStarStarStar
"Sourced and closed our first AE in 9 days; best recruiting experience in my 25 years of B2B"
Read Full Review
StarStarStarStarStar
"Amazing experience with great people to support!"
Read Full Review
"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 #2 search firm on G2 Crowd

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