Nidhi Gupta from Hired is one incredible leader. She spoke to us about her early days in engineering, why she chose to continue working after she had a baby, and why she loves to see a business grow. It’s clear she leads her life with conviction and purpose. Her main message for today’s women? Buckle up ladies, you’re in for a wild ride. Grit will see you through.
What inspired you to follow a technical career in the first place?
As a kid, I liked to create things. Me, my brother and friends, we experimented and created on our own. We created a popcorn machine (an utter disaster!), for example. I think I loved that creative aspect. And I was very fortunate to have parents who were very focused on education. They were very supportive of me wanting to pursue my dreams.
What is a typical day like for you at Hired?
You have to be able to work at all levels. I could be in a strategy session and then work on a production issue. It runs the entire gamut, from super high level to super detailed. In leadership, it’s good to be able to do both—and that’s what I love about my job.
What do you look for in candidates when you’re hiring for your own team?
Aside from technical chops, I look for people who are extremely passionate. I fundamentally believe that if you’re passionate about your work, you will give 150%. I look for what I call the “Fire in the Belly” test. How passionate are you about the job and company? If you’re just coming on board because you need a job, well, it’s probably not the place for you. You’ve got to truly believe in the overall mission. That’s what attracted me to Hired in the first place.
Other things I look for are teamwork. I take note of how many times the interviewee uses “I” versus “we” because I believe that it’s the overall team that makes us a success. Teamwork and the ability to collaborate are very important.
How have your own ambitions changed (or stayed the same?) as you’ve pursued your career?
Very few follow a straight path. With my engineering degree, I initially thought I wanted to be a consultant. I wanted to do great work and have some sort of work-life balance. But I found that working is such a joy. I had such a sense of fulfillment, I immersed myself. I found that I like to build businesses and be a part of a team and collaborate. I work 60 hours a week and enjoy it. Equally, I enjoy my family time, I get the same joy from my child.
Have you had mentors and sponsors along the way? If so, who?
Unfortunately, I did not have mentors along the way. I was in a “do it yourself, push yourself harder” mentality. But looking back, I recall my time at Bell Labs. My manager there was the first person to encourage me to become a manager myself. And that experience gave me the opportunity to manage a team and to realize how much I loved doing that.
What are you proudest of?
When I see someone who I hired succeed. For example, once I hired a guy for a role I didn’t even have a req for. In just two short years, I promoted him to a vice president. He was just so good at what he did. At this stage of my career, it’s about paying it forward. That’s what makes it all worth it.
Additionally, I love building businesses. It’s like seeing a baby grow. Building a business from the bottom up, from scratch, to a global business, is something I’m very proud of.
Women have a lot of pressures (some from society, some from family, some from themselves) to do it all. What’s your take on this, and have you felt that way, too?
A lot of these pressures come from within. I hope it changes for the next generation. I see a lot of women drop out of the workforce because they feel they don’t have the support structure. When I went to school, there wasn’t even a female restroom.
You must have grit. You have to fight the odds, all the time. The idea that there are societal pressures—well, that’s very real. We are still a very patriarchic society. That needs to change at our core. But I think women need to have grit and conviction to do what is right for them.
What advice would you give today’s twenty-somethings who are looking to pursue a technical career?
I see women dropping out of the workforce due to pressures. I would tell them: it’s time to buckle up. What’s hard today is going to be hard tomorrow. If you have grit, you’ll have a much more fulfilling career.
You can have a career. You can have a family. You can do both.
What’s next for Hired?
We’re going through a phase of phenomenal growth, hyper growth! It’s a great time to be here.