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4 Ways Twilio Is Going Where No One Else Will Go to Find Talent

Listen to our full podcast episode with Twilio's Andrew Gramley on iTunes or Spotify

Andrew Gramley, Early in Career Programs Lead at Twilio, began his recruiting career at Microsoft, where he was charged with finding talent in a way that can be considered more of a traditional approach.

“When I started at Microsoft, I managed a set of schools that we called our most competitive schools. To engage with those schools, we needed to go out to those campuses, invest a ton of money, and travel to those campuses and a ton of resources,” Andrew explained in the third episode of “Untapped” podcast, hosted by Chief People Officer Tariq Meyers. “I think only a few companies at the time were really able to afford it, and so what happened was, these few companies went to these few schools and tried to attract and battle each other for this small pool of talent.”

Rather than wading through a small pool of talent that is overcrowded with competition, Twilio takes a different approach that is far more expansive, recognizing that the best talent can really be found anywhere—if you’re willing to look for it.

“Our team at Twilio is tiny compared to a company like Microsoft or Google or Facebook or Amazon, and yet we feel like we’re able to get to talent that’s anywhere. And one of the things we’ve tried to do is go where some of these other companies don’t go for that talent,” said Andrew. “This spirit of Twilio is willing to do what needs to be done, to find who needs to be found—and that may mean that you will chase the best forever, or you’ll find the best in places where others won’t go.”

How does Twilio get to these places? With deliberate and dedicated actions designed to not only attract a broad set of possible candidates but incorporate them into the company culture and prime them for success. But going to these places is not just about location, it’s also about a mindset that Twilio has adopted to reach its diversity and inclusion goals.

The following are four ways that the organization is able to accomplish that.

1. Investing in different kinds of schools

Unlike his work at Microsoft, Andrew says that at Twilio, the goal is not to just target talent at schools that are considered elite. Rather, they want to broaden their reach to find people in places that recruiters may not naturally think are ripe for great talent. 

“We’re able to build that school list, go out and talk to businesses and say, ‘these are the schools we are targeting and investing in’, and maybe get a few questions, like ‘Why don’t you go to this school or that school?’—just insert traditional computer science or computer engineering school—but with a couple of answers, we’re able to convince them that it’s the right thing to do for the long term.”

2. Recruiting nontraditional talent

In addition to focusing on more traditional talent that may come from four-year institutions, Twilio has also created a pipeline to recruit nontraditional candidates. Through its Hatch program, which is a collaboration with the City of San Francisco, the company is able to attract people who are underrepresented in computer engineering and computer science by offering a six-month apprenticeship that provides an on-the-job experience. This program has culminated in a 90 percent conversion rate of apprentices becoming full-time employees. But despite this success, the company doesn’t plan to rest on its laurels. Andrew says everyone at Twilio has high hopes and large goals for what they want to accomplish in the coming years.

“We want to hire a hundred Hatch apprentices and convert them by 2023, and we’re on pace to do that,” he said. 

3. Creating a culture of accountability

In addition to its goals related to the apprenticeship program, Twilio also has comprehensive goals for the future of its workforce. By 2023, the company would like to have 30 percent of its workforce be members of underrepresented populations and 50 percent to be female. To help ensure that these goals are met, the organization has put a high premium on accountability, which has included making its goals public.

“If we won’t state those objectives, it’s really easy to avoid accountability for them. We’re not hiding behind it, whispering it in the boardroom. It is on our website with progress towards those goals,” Andrew said. “Will we get there by 2023? I think it’s going to be really hard. But to me, it’s about accountability, measurability, and being able to demonstrate progress.” 

4. Ensuring the success of untapped employees

It’s not just enough for Twilio to bring in underrepresented employees; when they get there, the organization wants to ensure they are able to succeed. That’s why Twilio has committed $500,000 to coaching Black and Latinx employees to demonstrate its commitment to their success. In addition, the company is investigating possible issues with pay equity and training management on how to effectively lead employees from different backgrounds. 

“To me, it’s an example of putting your money where your mouth is and commitment in terms of representation at different levels of the organization,” said Andrew.

For more information about Twilio’s approach to diversity, equity, and inclusion, log on to our “Untapped” podcast, where each week Tariq Meyers has frank discussions about how recruiters are handling DEI in their organizations.  

Learn more about Twilio and our guest:

About Twilio

Twilio is a cloud communications platform as a service company that helps developers around the world improve their communications experience. The organization believes that diversity is more than just words, but actions that help to remove barriers to access and build bridges that will give opportunities in tech to underrepresented groups. Twilio strives to build equity, equality, and belonging into the overall strategy of the company to build products that will reflect the global population and make communication more inclusive for all.

About Andrew Gramley

Andy Gramley is a Programs Lead on the Early in Career (EIC) team at Twilio.  He has been at Twilio for about 2 years.  Prior to Twilio, Andy spent more than 20 years at Microsoft where he recruited Industry Talent and Microsoft Researchers during the early part of his tenure there and then spent the next 18+ years on the University Recruiting team where he managed sourcing teams, international recruiting teams, and also worked closely with the Microsoft engineering teams to define their global workforce plans as it relates to University hiring.  Andy is drawn to the amazing culture and great EIC team at Twilio as well as the opportunity to build EIC programs that can scale with the company's accelerated growth. 

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