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June 14, 2024

Hustle Hunters used Paraform to build trust with founders and place top engineering talent in just one week

Nikki Adamson
Founder + CEO @ Hustle Hunters
Role filled

Nikki Adamson is Founder and CEO of Hustle Hunters, a recruiting firm focused on helping early-stage startups understand the characteristics and alignment that make great teammates in their organizations. Nikki’s expertise is in helping startups start a search strategically by unraveling what they really need in a hire, something she did recently when she hired a founding engineer for Letter AI on Paraform.


In this article, Nikki shares her story and reviews Paraform. She shares her experience with Paraform and how it has helped her curate the ideal candidates for the startups she works with.

Nikki Adamson and the Hustle Hunters team
Nikki Adamson and the Hustle Hunters team

What are some of the recruiting challenges that Paraform has been helpful in resolving?

As I’ve been building Hustle Hunters over the past five years, it has been a little crazy with a lot of ups and downs, as is the case for any new business. On top of that, due to the pandemic, the market for hiring has been way down. We knew that hiring was going to come back this year in a big way, and we anticipated that working with recruiting firms would come with that, but it hasn’t. This actually ended up working out in our favor, because we found Paraform. When we started recruiting with Paraform, we got access to a huge pipeline of opportunities we wouldn’t have had otherwise.


Paraform has been a reliable way to keep up with business and make great connections with founders. It’s a great way for recruiting agencies to build contacts, and it remains a really important source of new and steady business opportunities for me and my team.

What features of the platform have you found beneficial?

Having access to the intake calls with each company in the recruiter dashboard is really helpful and can make the process of selecting the right candidates a lot easier. All things equal on the technical side — often an engineer who is a great fit for one company is often not the right fit for another. Also, the one-on-one messaging and the forum have been really helpful so that I can easily communicate directly, and people don't have to keep asking the same questions over and over. 

What about using Paraform has been a game-changer for you?


The big fear in hiring that founders are facing right now is that they have to get it right, of course, but mostly that they can’t get it wrong. I’m seeing founders so afraid of getting stuck with the bottom 20% of candidates that they’re giving up on the top 20% by settling for that middle 60%, and it has been really interesting to see. But we’re building important things, and we can’t afford to target anything below excellence.


So I’ve found that building trust with founders is essential, especially right now. Paraform has been really helpful in facilitating that beginning intake call, where I learn so much about what founders are looking for. In these calls, it’s really about clarifying exactly what they’re looking for — and sometimes it’s about determining what they actually need versus what they think they need.


In the case of Letter AI, I was able to find alignment in the intake call really quickly with Ali Akhtar, the Founder and CEO. We co-defined important concepts together, and then we made the founding engineer hire in only one week.


As talent experts who care about our clients’ long-term impact and goals, we tend to give pushback and coaching that have made us really successful with the startups we work with. I’ve found that we need to have trust with hiring teams in order to do this, and Paraform has made it a lot easier to build that trust.

Any final thoughts for recruiters considering recruiting on Paraform?


Paraform creates this unique opportunity to dive in and begin working with a bunch of different startups, but on your own terms. You have the flexibility to work whenever you want — even if that means saying no to certain roles. I’ve gotten the opportunity to work with some really incredible companies while also sticking to working with those that prioritize what I care about, which is DEIB — diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging. The ability to have access to these great opportunities while still having the flexibility to take on the projects I want is something I would recommend to any recruiter.

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