Head of People

San Francisco, CA /
Operations /
About Brilliant

Brilliant is a tight-knit team of scientists, educators, engineers, designers, storytellers, and illustrators who are redesigning education at scale. 

We believe that math and science are fascinating and beautiful, but that the tools widely used to teach it are dry and ineffective. Brilliant makes learning STEM fun, through problem solving and interactive explorations – from foundational math and science to cutting-edge computer science and professional topics.

Brilliant helps over 9 million students, professionals, and lifelong learners around the world cultivate problem solving skills, build intuition, and master concepts rather than memorize them. To understand more about our approach, see our learning principles.

You can see all open roles and learn more about our team culture on our Careers page.

Application Note

We encourage anyone from non-traditional backgrounds to apply, so please, don't sweat the requirements lists too much! It's important to note that including a cover letter which details your interest in Brilliant and why you feel you'd be a great fit for this position is required to be considered.

People at Brilliant
We are ~60 deeply committed, passionate people, who have made an intentional decision to spend many years of our lives changing people’s relationship to STEM through Brilliant. You can learn more about our team and culture here.

We grow our team at a healthy pace (typically 20-40% annually), with a focus on recruiting and retaining high-impact employees rather than headcount hypergrowth. We think from first principles and aren’t afraid to go against the grain — for example, our First and Best Offer policy

The result of our approaches speaks for itself: we’ve had only 5 voluntary departures in the past 3 years, while simultaneously doubling headcount and scaling revenue ~8x.

The Role
Our culture and our people are the core of Brilliant. The Head of People is our first senior leader for the entire People Operations and Strategy scope: recruiting and employer brand, onboarding, employee development and performance evaluations, employee satisfaction and retention, culture, and offboarding.

This role reports directly to the COO, Eli, and will work closely with the CEO, Sue, the executive team, and all managers at the company. Our ideal candidate would scale with the company for many years to come.

We are committed to building a world-class vertical people organization to lead strategy, set priorities, and be the standard bearer. That said, much of the execution will happen laterally: creating an environment in which we can do the best work of our lives is the shared responsibility of every executive, manager, and individual contributor. On Day 1, the people team will consist of the Head of People and operations leads for people ops (Kyrene) and recruiting (Kyle). We expect your team to grow by 2-3 people in the next 12 months.

First 3 Month Objectives

    • Arrive at Brilliant, meet every member of our team, learn about our product, and embed yourself in our ways of working
    • To understand the work you have to do, start with learning about what is working, and what is not - both for managers and ICs
    • Evaluate the highs and lows of our return-to-office (expected early Q3), and propose changes that support both the office culture and our remote team members

First 6 Month Objectives

    • Evolve our hiring brand, sourcing strategy, and recruiting processes to 2-3x the number of high-quality candidates in our pipeline, while expanding the diversity of candidates
    • Formalize and scale interview training, ensuring every interviewer is following best-practices for interviewing and writing feedback, and improving their skills over time
    • Work with every people manager to craft (or improve) job ladders, and ensure that these are well-communicated and measurably improve employee clarity on career growth
    • Take over our quarterly review processes, and suggest improvements that increase their impact while keeping them lightweight
    • Develop and get buy-in for a robust D&I strategy, objectives, and roadmap
    • Improve our employee onboarding experience, including coaching managers on giving feedback for new employees to set them up for success
    • Ensure that all people policies and best-practices are well-documented and socialized
    • Build deep trust with the executive team, people managers, and individual contributors through empathy, a healthy balance of context-gathering and pushing changes, and shipping concrete improvements quickly


    • Believe that exceptional teams and culture are built with care — our approach sounds much more fulfilling to you than doubling a high-churn team year after year
    • Are excited to grow with the right company and team for many years
    • Love rolling up your sleeves to do the necessary on-the-ground work
    • Are outcome-oriented and hate process for the sake of process
    • Are strategic, and as good at saying “no” as you are at generating new ideas
    • Love cheerleading, whether it’s company values, changes to processes, or a new hire
    • Are highly empathetic and an employee champion, yet able to confidently make and communicate hard or unpopular decisions when needed
    • Are able to command the respect of managers, while being a strong collaborator and communicator such that policies and practices don’t feel “top down”
    • Have worked in a senior people role at a startup for 4+ years, and in people and/or operations related roles for 10+ years; some people management experience is required
Why join Brilliant?

Brilliant has a mission you can get behind. We’re a company that’s inspiring and developing people to achieve their goals in STEM – one person, one question, and one small commitment to learning at a time.

We also offer:
•  Competitive compensation
•  Medical, dental, and vision benefits – we pay 100% of the premiums
•  Equipment budget for computer and peripherals
•  401(k) plan (non-matching)
•  Free lunch in the office
•  Weekly happy hour (virtual for now!)
•  Flexible vacation time
•  Fully-stocked pantry and refrigerator with snacks and drinks
•  Sponsorship for conferences and professional development
•  A stimulating work environment and a chance to change the world

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