Twilio is a platform that powers communications for over 40,000 businesses globally. It enables developers to add capabilities like voice, video, and chat to their applications, so businesses can reinvent how they engage with customers. The company now has offices in 23 cities and over 250 open positions. Despite the speed at which its recruiting team is working, Twilio continues to prioritize diversity in its hiring. It was named one of America’s Most JUST Companies of 2020, with particular recognition for its diverse and inclusive workplace.
Twilio needed a solution that would allow individual recruiters to understand their own performance and provide TA leaders a full view of pipeline analytics, so they could understand where hiring bottle-necks were and optimize—especially when it came to meeting diversity goals.
As a Lead Talent Sourcer at Twilio, Joel Torres is spearheading Twilio’s diversity hiring efforts. He loves joining companies when they’re massively scaling, but Twilio is his first role in which diversity has played such a big part in the overall hiring strategy. “When I joined, I was told I’d help build a sourcing team from scratch, and I’d also be doing ‘a bit of work’ around diversity. A few weeks after I started, the company released its diversity goals. It was then that I came to know what ‘a bit of work’ meant.”
Joel understood two priorities early on. The first was that everyone in talent acquisition had to be fully focused on the company’s goals, rather than relying on a “tiger team” of recruiters to deliver. “A lot of TA orgs create separate teams for diversity sourcing and recruiting, which is great. It demonstrates that’s a priority for the company. But the psychological effect that can have on other recruiters means diversity goes out the window if they aren’t held responsible for the same goals. So I knew it would be my job to build or seek out tools that would allow the whole team to easily identify and reach out to talent.” The second priority was tracking data. “Because of course it’s not just about reaching out,” Joel says; “it’s also about measuring how we’re trending along the way. I live by the rule of: ‘If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it.’ ”
On both points, Joel says, Gem has “really come through for us. I can look at the numbers as stark truth and work backwards from there. Let’s say I have a recruiter who is working with four different hiring managers. I’ll go into Gem and filter the interview stages by gender. And from there I can see, based on passthrough rates, which hiring managers need help balancing the gender equity on their respective teams. By analyzing the passthrough rates of female candidates across different hiring managers, we can address areas of opportunity when it comes to hiring strong talent that truly represents the diverse market. And if I see a team that’s significantly moving the needle on diversity, I dig into what they’re doing to see if there’s something that can be scaled to the rest of the company. I’m constantly using Gem to look for practices we can magnify and launch as best practices across the org.”
With Gem, Joel has access to the Activity View. “Sourcers can see what percentage of their time is spent on phone screens with men versus women, or where their source of hire comes from. Sometimes the data validates gut instinct; sometimes it doesn’t. Maybe a recruiter thinks 80% of their hires are coming from passive sourcing, when in reality only 40% are. It’s just that that recruiter is spending 80% of their time sourcing; so it feels like the majority of hires are coming from there—but the reality is that other sources are just as fruitful. That kind of intel can radically change someone’s strategy for the better.”
Another factor is what happens once the candidate is out of the sourcer’s hands. “As Lead Sourcer, I need to know each hiring manager’s tendencies, so my team knows how to work effectively with every one of them. Gem’s funnel shows me passthrough rates, including Offer Extend to Offer Accept. If more than half of candidates decline an offer, I know that something along the process of closing the candidate is broken—so we have to make sure those holes are identified. More importantly, I know my team has to increase the number of people that make it to the Offer Extend stage for that particular hiring manager. That’s another reason to look at the data: so you know how to efficiently work with your hiring managers, while also using those numbers to influence better passthrough rates going forward.”
Joel sums up what Twilio has been able to do with data—and with Gem—for both diversity hiring and hiring in general. “For one, I can see where individual bottlenecks are. If a recruiter is having 20 times more phone screens for a certain hiring manager, do they fully understand what they’re recruiting for? Does the hiring manager fully know what they need and if the market aligns with it? We want to make sure that our candidates have a great candidate experience and Gem’s analytics have allowed me to Customer Story: Twilio identify those who could be moved into pipelines for different roles. If the role is in a holding pattern, why not ask the hiring manager’s or recruiter’s permission to introduce the candidate to a team with an open role and an appetite to hire right now?”
Gem’s metrics have also helped Joel zero in on stages in the interview process where the team is falling short on equitable gender hiring. “For one division, we intuited that we were hiring more women than the average team—and we were! We were prepared to roll off our passive sourcing efforts for that division; but I don’t like to make a move without looking at all the data first. That’s where Gem came through.” Joel dug through the data in more detail and discovered that the proportion of male candidates was actually increasing quarter over quarter—so much so that, by Q3, they would have made significantly more male than female hires. “If we hadn’t had access to that data, we wouldn’t have been able to identify that trend and strategize on how to allocate our resources properly.”
Finally, Gem has prompted Twilio’s TA team to adhere to good practices. “Recruiters have to report details about outreach responses; hiring managers have to submit scorecards. After all, we can’t track data that isn’t there—and we’re a much better hiring org for having it all in one place.”