Interview with Nidhi Gupta, SVP of Engineering, Hired

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.