Recruiting at Intel is becoming smarter and smarter. Driven by PhD Tyler Weeks, the company is strongly committed to analytics and automation. The boys explore exactly what that means in this Nexxt exclusive.
Enjoy and learn something, would ya'!
PODCAST TRANSCRIPTION sponsored by:
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Announcer: Hide your kids, lock the doors. You're listening to HR's most dangerous podcast. Chad Sowash and Joel Cheesman are here to punch the recruiting industry right where it hurts. Complete with breaking news, brash opinion, and loads of snark. Buckle up boys and girls, it's time for the Chad and Cheese Podcast.
Joel: Yo, what's up everybody? Got a special show today. We got a super fan on the line-
Chad: Super fan.
Joel: As well as being a super smart guy. What's up everybody? I'm Joel Cheesman. This is the Chad and Cheese Podcast. I'm joined today by-
Chad: Tyler Weeks.
Joel: And Chad Sowash, who said Tyler Weeks. So Tyler, superfan, head of the fan club, great style, by the way also. Welcome to the show. Give us a little bit about you for those who don't know, give us the elevator pitch.
Tyler: I'm so well known, I'm sure it hardly needs-
Joel: That is true-
Joel: You are a bit iconic.
Tyler: Everywhere. I'm a bit of an oddball. I'm a physicist by training, jumped out of research and development, and right into talent acquisition. And I've been in the space for almost four years now. And I run a team called Analytics and Automation. And we're looking at how to be competitive using technology and machine learning.
Joel: Well, what a great coincidence that we talk about automation so much on the show that you happen to be a guest today.
Chad: Physicist. Let's break this down real quick. So how do you make the jump from being a fucking physicist to going to talent acquisition? I don't know how that works, I need to understand how that works.
Joel: And have you had your head checked? Like drug addiction, is that in there somewhere?
Tyler: Right, this is what it looks like when we wash out. No, actually, you know, it's interesting. Even in going through grad school I was really interested in business problems and I liked playing around with things in the business school and talking to VCs and was sort of set on having my own billion dollar startup. And I jumped into a career doing research and development but never lost that drive for business development. And at some point I kind of realized that I really wanted to get out of the lab and go tackle those types of problems and it took me quite awhile to rebrand myself and upskill.
Joel: What kind of timeline are we talking about? So you graduate at what age
and then you did that for how long and then it took you how long to get into talent acquisition.
Tyler: So I did that for about five and a half years. The research and development, I would say probably around about halfway through that I decided that I wanted to change, but I didn't want to just like jump into something I didn't want to do. So I took my time, spent a lot of time talking to folks about business roles and learning how to talk about business, crashed and burned in a lot of places with interviews that went nowhere and resumes that were garbage and all that stuff. And really learning how to tell my story became part of that journey and then I, through some networking, found this role in HR and honestly like, I was really skeptical about it because in my mind HR was just Toby from the office. And I was just like, I-
Joel: And you were wrong how?
Tyler: I was just like, "I just don't know what this thing is," but it was in talent acquisition and I had a few friends that were like, "No, this is actually a cool role." And I hopped in in a purely business role, it was running the recruiting strategy for all of Intel's manufacturing globally.
Joel: Where you at Intel previously or would-
Tyler: Yeah, so I've been at Intel for about nine years now.
Joel: So you convinced them to take this jump to take you from one profession to another one. How did that go?
Tyler: Someone who just took a big chance on me, they took a huge chance on me and I don't know if it is a good idea or not. And so I did that for about a year and then we had just adopted Workday-
Tyler: Basically that was Armageddon in terms of like, you know, just complete meltdown of all our analytics. It's like driving a cruise ship by just bumping into the shore. Right? Like, there was no visibility into what was happening. And so they asked me to join our analytics team and then... Because I'd kind of become this weird unicorn where I understood, after this crash course of a year, talent acquisition and the analytics. And now I'm here and I do a lot of storytelling and a lot of building our technology roadmap.
Joel: Intel, not a small company, but you lead analytics and automation and you lead that team. How big is the team? This is one of the things that got me, everybody listen, how big's the team?
Tyler: So I've got about 15 people globally.
Joel: Okay, wait, say that again?
Tyler: About 15. About 15-
Joel: 15 people globally, I mean you guys, just on your analytics and automation team, probably out number many of the recruiting like branding teams or anything like out there. Right?
Tyler: Our leaders, in talent acquisition in particular, have invested heavily in analytics.
Joel: That's awesome.
Tyler: And they've done that intentionally to try to drive up the ROI of the team. And we actually accomplished quite a bit of work with a very lean team of recruiters and sourcers in recruitment markets. If you look at the number of people we have worldwide doing talent acquisition, I think we're actually fairly small as an org. But I think it's because we invest strategically in things like automation and analytics to help us make smarter decisions rather than just kind of brute force, let's hire the planet and have a thousand RPO contracts all over the world.
Joel: And that today is why we're here. Right?
Tyler: Yeah, that's exactly why we're here.
Joel: So Tyler and I, after he got off stage, him and Allyn were on stage at SmashFly's Transform conference in Boston earlier this year. Got off the stage-
Chad: Allyn is?
Joel: Allyn is... What's Allyn's title?
Tyler: Allyn Bailey, she is Yoda. I think, she's our resident Yoda. She is our transformation program manager. So she had this role of basically modernizing how we do talent acquisition.
Joel: So putting the puzzle together is what Allyn does.
Chad: Sounds easy.
Joel: Yeah, not so much. So they had this amazing presentation around the infinity loop, which instead of using recruiting funnels, you should be using infinity loops. But anyway, afterwards I caught up with Tyler and said, "Look, you know, this is great stuff. You have so much data." And then we got into this kind of like ROI rabbit hole, which is how this podcast came to be. Tell us a little bit about that conversation and really where your passion is when it comes to, obviously, analytics and really the big focus on ROI when it comes to business impact.
Tyler: Yeah. You know, I think one of the things that I often find myself doing is helping build a business case or what's the story, what's the thing that we actually want to accomplish? Because constantly running into folks that are making... There's a few common mistakes that people are making. And one of them that I really try to challenge is people mistake their budget for their value.
Tyler: And that to me is the biggest miss. Like if you were to go and articulate, what's the value of having a talent acquisition at your company? It's enormous. Like in terms of landing the right talent to hit your product timelines, drive your sales, to have your marketing team up and running, like pretty much.. I mean, I'm speaking to the choir here, but pretty much every component of your company is enhanced or kept alive by having strong talent acquisition. And when I see folks advocating for more head count or new technologies, they're typically articulating that the benefit to the company in terms of cost savings, "Oh, we have X
amount of dollars in our budget, we'll save this many dollars if we go get that new tool."
Tyler: Well if you're looking at the ledger for the company and if your company is making a hundreds of millions or billions of dollars, the $500,000, your saving is nothing. It's not really a compelling story. And so then you kind of go back with your tail between your legs cause they were like, "Well that sounds great, but we're not really willing to invest in that. We're going to go put our money where we're going to get a huge return for the company." So figuring out how to tie what you do to the actual revenue of your company is the name of the game. That's how you demonstrate ROI, not just to your manager, but to the company in general.