Senior Talent Manager at Koniku
San Rafael, CA, US

Koniku is an early-stage, rapidly-growing company based in Silicon Valley. We build smell cyborgs by merging genetically modified living biological neurons with classic devices. Our flagship device, the Konikore™, detects smells using GPCR’s or olfactory receptor proteins hosted in biological cells. There are dynamic applications in healthcare, security, synthetic flavors & foods, and much more. 

We partner with a range of Fortune 500 companies as Technology Integrators and have been recently featured by The Financial Times, CNN, Bloomberg, TechCrunch & others. Notable partners, customers and investors include: Airbus, BASF, Thermo Fisher Scientific, Fraunhofer Institute Stuttgart, P&G, SoftBank, Platform Capital, IndieBio (SOSv).  

Beyond the numerous B2B opportunities, we aim to have a Konikore in ten million homes as a real-time disease diagnostic tool within the next decade. Koniku is a face-to-face company and our campus & culture are the nucleus of the Koniku spirit. Our headquarters include a next-generation deep technology Wetlab and a robust manufacturing facility, alongside our corporate, administrative & customer support teams. We are driven by a fundamental belief that “Bio is Tech™”.


For the next phase of our growth, Koniku will implement an aggressive & systematic hiring strategy—the incoming individual will play a significant role in these efforts. We seek to onboard several hires per month, which will largely center around deeply technical and broad scientific disciplines, as we accommodate the multi-sector market demand for our offering.

This team member will be responsible for engaging & hiring PhD-level scientists in biophysics, synthetic biology, automation, bioengineering, molecular biology, genetics, electrical & electronic engineering, optics, computer science, project management, and more. This aggressive hiring strategy seeks to maintain & scale our existing cultural DNA which comprises: impenitent grit & tenacity, radical innovation, a maniacal customer focus, implementation speed with accuracy, and resource discipline.


This role is a crucial hire for Koniku. We want you to play a vital part in how the culture of Koniku evolves. Your character lends itself to playing an outsized role in building the face of the company and shaping personnel — the spirit of Koniku. The processes you put in place are critical determinants of Koniku's future. The ideal individual understands that Koniku represents a different company with a unique perspective.

You relish the position of boldly telling the Koniku story firsthand. A leader in conveying and tailoring our unique story specifically to incoming employees. A chance for you to hone the narrative that an adventure with Koniku is deeply personal, fulfilling, and a path to professional and personal growth. It's an opportunity to imprint the narrative that highlights the massive opportunity as an elite team member designing the future!

This position will create relationships and develop a long-term strategic recruiting plan. This leadership role must lookout for candidates with new perspectives and approaches to deeply technical problems. This role must emphasize diversity, equity, and inclusion with a laser focus on hiring top talent.

We expect you to seek out systematic operators & result-driven candidates without compromise. Strategic recruiting plans must include external initiatives with elite global colleges and universities, particularly those with solid life science or synthetic biology programs.  You must create strong relationships with HBCUs for a robust hiring pipeline and similar establishments to promote diversity and the inclusion of women and LGBTQ candidates as a matter of the first principle.


The mandate is owning and effectively executing management hiring strategy and outlook. The Snr. Talent Manager will be working closely with team leaders to:

  • Firstly, identify the technical needs of a team leader or group, the tasks to be performed, the time horizon, and prioritization from a business standpoint.
  • Hire and build out Koniku hiring/people scaling infrastructure.
  • We also expect the role to build a social media-based recruiting plan to define how Koniku will be active on social networks and leverage internal talent to achieve objectives.
  • Transparently articulate and document with team leaders the evaluation metrics for each position. Agree on these checkpoints before seeking the candidate. Work collaboratively to ensure these checkpoints will be evaluated promptly.
  • Scout for desirable candidates based on transparent and objective qualifications and clearly defined attitude fit. Desirable candidates will be shared with the team regularly.
  • Propel the end-to-end internal hiring process. From scouting to presenting an offer culminating in onboarding the right candidate and ensuring that candidate settles into the roles and responsibilities for which they are hired.
  • Liaise with the team leaders to understand internal hiring needs and attach quantifiable metrics and business justifications to new positions. Help understand hire-to-returns ratios, revenues per head, outsourced job vs. internal role, and other applicable metrics.
  • Serve as the first approval point for justification to hire any role in any department/team from VP level downwards.
  • Propose & manage company-wide hiring budgets, design benefits, and compensation packages.
  • Work with HR and other executives to continually improve the work experience for all Koniku employees. Ensure the Koniku HR function is optimally serving employees effectively.
  • Lead the scouting and screening: coordinate selection, interview processes, prepare and approve offers. Present offers and formally hire the relevant candidates.
  • Onboard candidates, ensure adequate evaluation metrics are in place, follow up with candidates concerning employment experience, and anticipate issues before they arise.
  • Hire at least two internal hiring managers to aid in candidate sourcing. Lead that team and manage spending & internal programs across all hiring platforms & programs.


  • Preferably a Ph.D. (however, an M.Sc. or comparable qualification combined with relevant experience is required) in molecular biology, bioengineering, neuroscience, synthetic biology, or other life sciences. Will consider a background in physics, chemistry, or related sciences provided the applicant worked in the life sciences industry and has performed extensive hands-on research in the life sciences. The candidate demonstrates a deep interest and solid grasp of technology ecosystems and commands strong business fundamentals.
  • At least five years of hands-on experience in talent scouting & acquisition, sustainable growth, and team culture shepherding. Your background should ideally come from a top-performing/mid-to-large corporation. A demonstrated track record of what you accomplished in those previous roles would be ideal.
  • A demonstrated ability to tap into & recruit from underrepresented & underestimated talent pools or minorities in science. This must include creating a ready to hire & sustainable reserve of an excellent, top-class minority talent pool.
  • Demonstrable experience in converting qualitative hints or sense into trackable data or metrics and developing a process that is overwhelmingly driven by trackable or measurable metrics across the board, leading to a bias for action.
  • Familiar with tools like LinkedIn Recruiter and other talent acquisition sources, especially in deeply technical fields. For example, university job boards or specialist trade magazines and journals such as Nature, Science, Cell, etc.
  • Meticulous and sophisticated use of CRM tools for pipeline management to aid our aggressive staffing needs. For example, experience with Greenhouse ATS and GUSTO HRIS is a plus.
  • Deep experience with compensation design, employee reward and excellent employee retention strategy.
  • Strong understanding and operational experience in succession planning at all levels to build on & retain deep institutional knowledge is expected.
  • Additionally, experience with employee engagement programs and cross-fertilization programs to promote unique thought processes or methods are invaluable.
  • Solid ability to conduct different types of interviews, including hands-on experience in leading various selection processes (video interviewing, phone interviewing, reference check, etc.).
  • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills coupled with strong problem solving by proactively driving results and being solution-oriented.


  • Salary range $100,000 - $140,000 per year (depending on qualification and justified ability to deliver on exact metrics).
  • Generous sign-on bonus and performance-based grants and opportunity to participate in the company's employee equity program.
  • Employer-sponsored 401K plan with 4% matching.
  • Generous health, life, dental and vision insurance.
  • Paid & flexible vacation.
  • Fully-paid parental leave.
  • Reserved parking and commuter benefits.