As a veteran of tech recruiting, Brian Fink, Talent Acquisition Partner at McAfee, champions techniques that eliminate bias from hiring practices. In this episode of Hire Quality, host Devyn Mikell recounts Brian’s recount lessons drawn from Brian’s rich history working (and recruiting) for tech titans including X (formerly Twitter), Amazon, and McAfee. Whether you’re fine-tuning your talent acquisition strategy or seeking inspiration to foster diversity, Brian’s insights are gold.
Devyn Mikell [00:00:05]:
What's up, everyone? I'm Devyn Mikell, your host of the higher quality podcast and co founder and coo at qualify. I'm joined by Brian Fink. He's here to join me for a Hire Quality conversation. Brian, thanks so much for joining me today.
Brian Fink [00:00:20]:
Thank you. I'm glad to be a part of the program, and I'm glad to be part of the conversation, especially one that really impacts candidates and recruiters alike. Thanks for making room for me and space for me, Devyn.
Devyn Mikell [00:00:30]:
Absolutely. So, Brian, you are the talent acquisition partner at McAfee, but I am going to go on the limb, but I feel very confident that I'm right. That completely undersells what you do, who you are, and I want you to tell the world kind of your story and who you are to the company you're at today.
Brian Fink [00:00:51]:
So I am a talent acquisition partner at McAfee Security. We are responsible for keeping families and individuals safe online. And I didn't realize how important that mission was to me until I worked at a place like Twitter or otherwise known as X. This is a really unique organization that's doing big, bold things, making big, bold bets about your security, your safety, your identity, how those things are managed, and about those big, bold bets. I am responsible for technical recruiting. I oversee AI, ML generative llms for the machine learning portion of it, neural networks. I also get real in the weeds when it comes to technology recruiting, whether it's infrastructure, which I'm working on that today. That was the call before.
Brian Fink [00:01:44]:
This one is an infrastructure conversation. Building those data pipelines, those transformations, really helping the organization go from better to actually, you know, better to best. I think that's one of the things that gets me excited about being on with you, Devyn, is that you and your team are focused on taking organizations that are doing great things and taking them to the next level. So I'm really excited about that. And I'm really excited about the conversation we're going to have today.
Devyn Mikell [00:02:11]:
Absolutely. I have so many questions just off the intro, and it happens every time.
Brian Fink [00:02:16]:
No worries. No worries. But go ahead. Rapid fire. Boom.
Devyn Mikell [00:02:19]:
So you mentioned infrastructure. Are you talking about what I think of as infrastructure with technology, like with my development team, or are you talking about infrastructure of the recruiting function?
Brian Fink [00:02:31]:
So actually, I was speaking about infrastructure for the technology team, but also I'm involved in up leveling and upskilling our recruiting team here at McAfee. Right. And about that infrastructure, I spend probably like 52 Fridays a year. They're 52 Fridays in a year, right. Yeah. I spend like 50 something Fridays a year, in the afternoons, usually from one until five, working with recruiters to help them up level their game.
Devyn Mikell [00:03:00]:
I do that.
Brian Fink [00:03:01]:
It's not a charge. It's just like it charges me up to help people expand their professional capabilities and really become a better recruiter in the process or recruiting coordinator or sourcer. That's the game that I play when it comes to infrastructure. Great call out.
Devyn Mikell [00:03:18]:
Got you. And so in your organization, sounds like you have recruiting coordinators and recruiters and then there's kind of the talent acquisition partner is a whole different thing.
Brian Fink [00:03:30]:
It is a little bit of a different thing because what you've got is you've got a mix of people who specialize in specific areas that are able to double down and they're able to show the business, which I think that's important is they're able to show the business that they know what they're talking about, that they're able to bring data to the conversation, that it's a conversation that's really driven around reality as opposed to I've got this feeling in my gut and I want to go with, I parted my heart, I eat with my heart, apparently.
Devyn Mikell [00:04:01]:
Brian Fink [00:04:01]:
So this is aces in their places. Really making a difference in all conceivable areas. Shout out to my recruiting coordinator, Fawn. Fawn, if you're listening to this, you're one of the best in the business. We're going to talk probably about candidate experience in this interview. Fawn is one of the best. And your recruiting coordinators, you underestimate the impact that they make when it comes to delivering a great candidate experience. Don't do that.
Brian Fink [00:04:26]:
Recruiters don't do that.
Devyn Mikell [00:04:28]:
So you're truly a partner to the business.
Brian Fink [00:04:32]:
Devyn Mikell [00:04:32]:
So I think a lot of recruiters that are listening to this, a lot of recruiting coordinators, like you said, they want to experience what it looks like to have a seat at the table and truly partner with the business. What are the ways in which you've done that successfully? Maybe some kind of interesting takes that you have on doing that. Well, people are kind of overlooking at this stage.
Brian Fink [00:04:56]:
So I think it's really important that recruiters understand what the problem is that a person is going to solve. Right. Like, what's the challenge that exists in the business today? And why are we hiring for that person so often? And I'm guilty of this, too, so I can speak to it, is that we just become obsessed with putting 100 people to work in 300 days. How are we going to make it happen? And we're just trying to put butts in seats. First off, call out, that's wrong. That's the wrong attitude to have. You have to treat individuals like individuals. Right.
Brian Fink [00:05:32]:
Sorry, mom. I know I should have defined that a little bit better, but you have to make sure that they're seen and heard, right. And making sure that they're seen and heard is the responsibility of everyone that comes in contact with a candidate, whether it's a hiring manager, whether it's recruiting coordinator, whether it's their onboarding specialist or onboarding buddy. And about being seen and being heard is that you have to let the business hear their own voice. Why are they making this higher? Is it because they got awarded headcount and that they're going to expand? That's not a good reason. A good reason is this team does a, B and C really well. What we fail at is x, and we're looking for somebody who can upskill the team and take us to the next level.
Devyn Mikell [00:06:13]:
Brian Fink [00:06:14]:
Right. One of the questions that I ask when I'm hiring managers, specifically managers, directors, VPs, is how do you assess the capability gaps on your team and how do you move to creating, to up leveling that team as a whole. Right. So it's proving that to the business. It's bringing data to the business and showing to the business. Hey, look, on average, it takes you 92 days to hire this role. You said you wanted to hire this person yesterday. What can we do to reduce time to hire, but also make sure that we're expanding the quality of the pool of individuals that we're looking for.
Brian Fink [00:06:50]:
Right. And those may sound like a contradiction in term, but if you have that really good, rigorous, and everybody does their homework, and I'll explain homework, is that everybody has this rigorous one on one or like one to many conversation about what needs to be built and how it needs to be built into the organization, we can get really nutty, we can get really granular really quickly. And Devyn, I talked about pre work is that it's important that hiring managers, recruiting coordinators, recruiters all do work before the call. And what I mean by work before the call is you don't need to be on a call with a hiring manager trying to figure out who the hiring team is. You need to fill that out beforehand. Right. So that when the recruiter gets on the phone with the candidate and we have a conversation, we say, yo, you're going to go step one. You're going to go step two.
Brian Fink [00:07:40]:
You're going to go step three that we've parsed out all those different areas, all those different variables. So we make that a very concise, very direct approach to the candidate.
Devyn Mikell [00:07:50]:
Got you. And that is what it looks like to create a candidate journey. Right. So qualifi, we play in the very beginnings, right? Very early stages. And that's part of it. But we can't cover the whole base. And really, if anyone, there might be a few companies out there that do it. Every ATS says they do it, but that's a different conversation.
Brian Fink [00:08:12]:
Well, no, we can have that conversation is that don't buy an ATS because you think it's going to imbue a system in you into your, build your system, find out what your problems are, dissect those problems. Ask the five whys. If you're tuning in and you don't know what the five whys are, it comes from Kaizen approach to business for project management. When you look at Toyota, it's how they best created, best in class quality. And just ask, why are we building it this way? Why are we not building it that way? Why would we use these materials? And you just go deep into it and get into that granularity.
Devyn Mikell [00:08:53]:
I actually have my. Well, I don't have it anymore. I studied supply chain in college. I got my green belt in college. I know what you're talking about. But, yeah, that's the big thing we run into. I talk to recruiting leaders every day, good and bad. You can kind of tell the difference for sure, because there's simple stuff like they might say, how does this speed up my time to hire? And then I ask, what's your time to hire today? They're like, well, I don't really know.
Brian Fink [00:09:24]:
Or it's this horrible average, right? So let's put some numbers out there is that I've got data science role that I just wrapped up. It took me 106 days from the middle of July to complete the role. But here's the thing, is that time to hire is skewed because I opened up another rack because I found a silver medalist candidate, and it took me no days to hire that person. So my average time to fill is like 50 something days. Man. Like, Devyn. That doesn't make any sense.
Devyn Mikell [00:09:57]:
That is wild. Yeah. That is wild. Okay. We went in the weeds early, really early.
Brian Fink [00:10:03]:
It's all good. I'll pull out the weed whacker, the shovel, the scissors. We'll get to it.
Devyn Mikell [00:10:07]:
Yeah. So we didn't start here. You didn't start here, I'm assuming.
Brian Fink [00:10:12]:
Oh, no, I didn't start here. I was not born into McAfee.
Devyn Mikell [00:10:15]:
Exactly. So I have talked with a lot of people in this conversation that have started in staffing. I guess my first question is, is that where you started? Is that your story? Not where did we begin?
Brian Fink [00:10:28]:
If you were going to ask Michael Whaley, who started with me my same first day, November 1. So that'll be 18 years in the business on November 1. Is that Michael would tell you, well, Brian, you already knew how to sell, because I sold computer software prior to becoming a sales recruiter. So I focused in sales recruiting on the agency side. The reason I got into it is because I had an abysmal candidate experience, and I'm not playing to the crowd here, but I was interviewing for sales roles, and I was going through this agency, and I was always treated like an afterthought. Right. Like, so much to the point that I had a final interview with the hiring manager for this one role with a pharmaceutical company, that I showed up for the interview, and they didn't tell me that the interview had been canceled, that they already made a hire. And here I was in the suit.
Brian Fink [00:11:29]:
I'm ready to go. I'm ready to knock on doors, whatever, right? I'll bust through a wall. So I was, like, this mean. And so I dug in at Vanguard, and I went to Jeff Audette, the founder of the company, and I said, hey, man, this was horrible. I had a horrible experience. I don't want anybody else to go through what I went through. How can we change this? How can we make this better? And Jeff and I had a few conversations, and we went out, and we had great tortilla soup. I don't know why that sticks out in my mind.
Brian Fink [00:12:04]:
I'm sorry that I'm making a lunchtime reference if you're doing this. At breakfast, we had awesome tortilla soup, and then we went out for wings, and jeff said, well, I don't have the budget to hire you. And I said, why not? He said, I got this territory that really is underperforming. And I said, give me that territory. I want that territory. If I can turn that around, will you hire me? Jeff was like, I'll give you a quarter to do it. And at the 120 day mark, I went from being 100% commissioned recruiter to having a small base, having an office, having a team, and building that territory. And we went from worst to first in 18 months.
Devyn Mikell [00:12:41]:
Brian Fink [00:12:41]:
And so I love Jeff. I mentioned Michael. Michael is my brother in arms. He told me. He was like, stop doing all this research on the Internet. Before you get on a phone, just get on the phone, just talk to the people and listen to what they have to say. And it'll teach you much faster than going to these wikis. And what have you know, in my career, Michael and I have worked together several, actually.
Brian Fink [00:13:11]:
It's really weird. I brought him to relis technologies a year before I came to Relis, and then he hired me to lead recruiting. It's a whole nother thing, right? So from Vanguard, the economy stalled in eight and nine, and I went on my own. I started my own agency, point endeavors recruiting. We were going to focus on. I did it with Jeff's blessing. He was like, hey, you can do this, but I don't want you going after sales. So first we went after hospitality, and we had a conversation with Ruby Tuesdays, and we were doing a lot of staffing for.
Brian Fink [00:13:51]:
When I. When I say a lot, I mean, it initially was, we'll give you one job order to work on. Okay, that's cool. We're going to go find a restaurant manager. That's awesome. And then it was, we're going to give you ten racks. And then Bethany, the leader at Ruby Tuesdays, she was just like, brian, here's 100 racks. And I was like, okay.
Brian Fink [00:14:14]:
And we went and we filled 78% of those recs. We've got 78 managers. And so we're having a call one day and she goes, hey, I can't figure out this role for search engine optimization and how Google Ads work. And I was like, oh, we do that, too. And she was like, oh, you do? So she gave me all of these marketing roles and we had never touched them. And from there, she gave us her technology roles to do infrastructure, and we had never touched. So, like, it was like, literally like we were doing whatever Ruby Tuesdays told us to. Like, that was it.
Brian Fink [00:14:53]:
And so then comes this idea of the MPC most placeful candidate, and we started spinning out the candidates that were silver medalists from point to other companies, like WebMD or Salesforce or what have you, and we just built from there. And I got burned out. And I said, I don't think I want to do this. Went, I called Jeff, because Jeff. I mean, I'm probably going to call Jeff after this to be like, yo, Jeff, I was talking about you for an hour, is that. I went back to Jeff and Jeff was like, hey, I'm worried about you. Do you want to come back here and rebuild recruiting? Because it's kind of falling apart. And I was like, yeah.
Brian Fink [00:15:35]:
So I went back and I did that for a while. I was like, I'm still not satisfied. My girlfriend, who is now the wife, she got the upgrade is that we went to a wedding outside of New York, and I was talking to a former client, Zocdoc, and they were like, hey, why don't you come rebuild recruiting here? And I was like, all right, sure. So that kind of started my foray into corporate recruiting. And from there, I went and led recruiting efforts at Cabbage, which is now owned by American Express. Really scaled hard in that environment. We grew the business from, like 100 people to 300 people in less than a year. Went to work at Apple.
Brian Fink [00:16:21]:
I'm an Apple fanboy. I'm not wearing my AirPod pro maxes like Devyn is. I just dropped them. I got them right here. But I went to Apple and worked with Apple Media products group. So if you use iTunes or you listen to this podcast on Apple Podcast, you can type in the words Brian Fink or Devon Michael. And it will bring you back all the occurrences that we have appeared on different podcasts. Right? So, like, some really cool, natural language processing stuff.
Brian Fink [00:16:55]:
And then I was at AWS, and I'll be honest with you, Aws is a grind. It's really hard work. And as soon as I started AWs, I had a friend who was like, you should come work at Twitter. And I was like, you got to give me a year here, man. That year was up, and they were, like, hot. To get me over to Twitter, I went and worked with some of the best in the industry. MgD, Rebecca, Samantha. I mean, just like, great people like Twitter.
Brian Fink [00:17:27]:
We had just. I could go on a list and talk about Cheyenne for hours, but we had really good people. And Jen. And Jen. And so, like, shout out to Jen. I know you're not going to listen to this, Jen, but if you do listen to it, everybody knows Jen is my work wife.
Devyn Mikell [00:17:46]:
Brian Fink [00:17:47]:
Her and I have been friends for years. I was talking to my buddy Steve Rath, who's over at Apple, and we were talking one day, and he goes, oh, you'll never guess where Jen's interviewing. And I said, where? And he was like, twitter. And I was like, I am. So I ran sourcing to support Jen's recruiting, and we did that for two years, and we had a lot of success. And I actually feel like that led me to McAfee in a lot of different ways because it was really hire. I dug in and worked on information security and keeping people safe online and realized that that was a core value of mine, which easily translated to my birth into the organization at McAfee. So that's a 30,000 foot view.
Brian Fink [00:18:30]:
That's the LinkedIn or the LinkedIn profile. And beyond that, I've also had a really good relationship with the Sourcecon community, with the recruiting daily community. I write about recruiting. I train recruiters through their webinars. I have a book. I got to talk about my book. Just for a minute. Talk tech.
Brian Fink [00:18:55]:
To me, it is the non technical guide to technical recruiting. It's all the answers that I wish I had when I was becoming a technical recruiter, rather than just saying, oh yeah, Bethany, I know how to find a Java developer, which was the right answer and at the right time. But I really wrote the book to give people the confidence and competency to be great technical recruiters. So that's my story. I'm sticking to a dev.
Devyn Mikell [00:19:20]:
I love it. I mean, you can't really beat that journey. It's like incredible. But I think the thing that stuck out to me the most, as much as the cool positions, were amazing to hear about. I was genuinely kind of sitting here floored at the fact that you were remembering people at every stage. And being able to recite over five people, generally speaking, is impressive. To be able to recognize that you didn't get there alone, I think makes.
Brian Fink [00:19:51]:
Devyn, nobody gets there, you know, shout out to Rob McFalls and Rob if you're listening. So Rob is somebody you should get on the over and I'll make an intro, whatever. Rob was one of the Rob McFaul's, Mike Wolford. They were great managers. They saw in me the ability for me to be bigger than myself, and they gave me every opportunity to swing the bat, right. And I think that leadership is something that is missing in a lot of experiences. Right? And you don't have to be a manager to be a leader, right? You don't have to do that. You can be a leader and be an individual contributor and producer and hell, when I met Michael Whaley like 18 years ago, and he was like, just get on the phone, man.
Brian Fink [00:20:39]:
I didn't realize how great a coach he was until we started making placements and making money and turning talk time into something real and legit. So started in the agency land, made my move over to corporate, and every chance I get, whether it's a Friday afternoon or a webinar with Sourcecon or recruiting daily, Devyn, you stand on the shoulders of giants. You've got to give back. You've got to send the elevator down and bring everybody up with.
Devyn Mikell [00:21:12]:
That, for sure. Yeah. I mean, I have a special place for that. Just being, like, in a minority founder, too. That rings bells for me. I was just on a podcast talking about the lack of diverse founders, right. And I'll be specific and say we were talking specifically about black founders and how that's not really a thing. And then you go into my company, which is audio based screening, right? And so everyone's like, yeah, this is like video.
Devyn Mikell [00:21:44]:
I'm like, yeah, but I kind of intentionally did it without video because of maybe a not so obvious reason. But there's fear there, right?
Brian Fink [00:21:53]:
Well, let's talk about that fear for a second, right? Because I was on the phone actually, with Dana Niger this morning, and we were talking about the fear that people gravitate towards sameness, right. Because there's some kind of perceived safety in. And, like, you know, I'm not a black man. I don't know what that feels like. I'm a jewish man. I know what that feels like today in America. Right? Sameness doesn't change the world. It doesn't change the world.
Brian Fink [00:22:25]:
And I know we weren't going to talk about this, but if you want to start a fire, you got to create friction. You got to rub sticks together. You got to put steel and wool together. You got to make that happen. I think it's steel and wool. You got to make that happen to get those sparks to jump into the fire. So I commend you for doing that. Thank you for being a leader.
Brian Fink [00:22:43]:
Thank you for being a voice, not just for your community, but maybe to get my community to wake up and realize that there are other voices and that sameness doesn't deliver results. So thank you.
Devyn Mikell [00:22:53]:
I appreciate it. I agree. One of the questions I had, as you were going through is random. Were you at Twitter during the change of ownership? Okay, was that part of any decisions or.
Brian Fink [00:23:07]:
So, like, here's the deal. We already talked about the wife, so, Ali, if you're to my wife and I, we make decisions that it's. I know it's nuanced and whatever, but I don't just wear this ring because I'm excited to wear extra jewelry. She was like, what's going on? And I was like, I don't know. And there's a team that I worked with pretty closely under Leah Kissner, who. They were our CISO, that was the trust and safety team. And trust and safety, they keep the bullies at bay. They make sure that when you report hazing on the platform or bigotry, hazing is calling bigotry lightly.
Brian Fink [00:23:50]:
Right. But, like, bullying, whatever. They were the first team to go.
Devyn Mikell [00:23:55]:
There and snuff out that fire and.
Brian Fink [00:23:57]:
Make sure that that shit was over. So on the first wave of layoffs, they were snuffed out. Also on the first waves of layoffs. And it's been a year, right, since I've been gone. Is that everybody who was a leader in a BRG, whether you were Samantha Domingo, who was a fucking awesome recruiter, and she is a pillar of the community when it comes to recruiting for veterans and military affairs and military spouses, and she was the chair of Twitter stripes. Right? They got rid of all the brgs in one whoosh. Okay. Yeah.
Brian Fink [00:24:43]:
They didn't discriminate about who they got rid of, but they discriminated about brgs. That's gone. That's done. Right?
Devyn Mikell [00:24:52]:
Brian Fink [00:24:53]:
Oh, no. It was random. Don't bullshit me. Please don't bullshit me. Do not insult my intelligence. Right? We had Twitter, faith, gone. We had blackbirds. Blackbirds.
Brian Fink [00:25:10]:
Come on, man. This just randomly happened.
Devyn Mikell [00:25:15]:
Brian Fink [00:25:16]:
Okay. 6 million of my brothers and sisters and my fathers and mothers were wiped out. And it wasn't random. It was very selective when it happened in the holocaust. Right. I'm not comparing what happened in Twitter to the holocaust, but I am saying.
Devyn Mikell [00:25:30]:
It was very selective.
Brian Fink [00:25:32]:
It's not random. It is a thing that happened.
Devyn Mikell [00:25:36]:
Brian Fink [00:25:36]:
So Ali and I had a conversation. She was like, are you going to stand for this? Are you going to be able to explain this to our daughter? And I was like, no, I will not be able to explain this to our daughter, that I stood by and made this happen and that I was a part of this madness. And so I took voluntary separation, and I was talking to a few people and. Yeah, that's it. That's it.
Devyn Mikell [00:26:03]:
Pure, plain and simple respect.
Brian Fink [00:26:05]:
Devyn Mikell [00:26:06]:
I didn't know that part.
Brian Fink [00:26:08]:
You were not waiting for that answer, were you.
Devyn Mikell [00:26:12]:
Brian Fink [00:26:17]:
It was really suspicious, man. And I know that suspicion sometimes spurs conspiracy theories.
Devyn Mikell [00:26:23]:
Brian Fink [00:26:23]:
I'm willing to. I'm willing to go into the mad on that.
Devyn Mikell [00:26:26]:
Brian Fink [00:26:26]:
That I'm not conspiracy theory in this shit.
Devyn Mikell [00:26:29]:
Yeah. I mean, I think the way I look at it outside in is like, these are the people that would have stood opposed to everything that the acquisition was about, which is, like, basically allowing bullying, allowing all these things to come and live on Twitter again. So I feel like that doesn't surprise me that it's that blatant, but it doesn't surprise me that that's what the strategy was, I guess so, real quick.
Brian Fink [00:26:55]:
As long as we're talking about this, I was really proud of the fact that Twitter had such a commitment to diversity. Right. Like we talked about that in the.
Devyn Mikell [00:27:04]:
Middle of the show is that we.
Brian Fink [00:27:06]:
Used to have a website, a part of the Twitter website that was diversity twitter.com. And it reported our diversity numbers in real time. It put our money where our mouth and it highlighted great people who were like James DeLuca and James, shout out to James. James now leads diversity, inclusion, equity, belonging at Nike. Part of the first layoff. Again, I know you're making that face, too. You're like, okay, I see you. But that page immediately pulled gone, right? And it just.
Brian Fink [00:27:52]:
Strange tides. Strange tides. That's all I can say, man.
Devyn Mikell [00:27:55]:
Yeah. Wow. I'm going to call a no huddle here and go to the next segment of our show because I feel like we're going to stay on it for a while. So I do a question of the week with every guest. The reason I do it this way is because you get the first chance to answer, but everyone else also gets. Everyone listening gets an opportunity to answer because I put a link to a little interview that you did. And basically they get their chance to give a best answer. And if they win, they can get featured on the show and they get a gift card.
Devyn Mikell [00:28:25]:
So if you're hearing that, that is the instructions. But, Brian, obviously you get the first pass. And so your question is, how do you ensure your candidate experience is consistently positive, even for candidates who aren't selected?
Brian Fink [00:28:39]:
I did not enjoy my time at AWS. I said it was a grind. It was hard, whatever. AWS taught me a really important lesson. And Devyn, it's called the two and five rule. And you can google this. And what it does is it is the idea that a candidate should know within two days where they stand in the process. Right? Five days that they should know five days after their final interview.
Brian Fink [00:29:09]:
Did they get the job? And if they didn't, why didn't they get the job? Okay, look, that is a hard standard to deliver to. I tell candidates, if I talk to you Monday through Wednesday, I say, look, I'm going to try to give you an update before we head into the weekend. If I talk to a candidate on Thursday and Friday, I candidly tell them, man, I hate that I'm going to.
Devyn Mikell [00:29:31]:
Do this, but I'm probably not going.
Brian Fink [00:29:35]:
To be able to give you an update until Monday. Are we good? Because I know me going into the weekend, I want to know what's going on, right. That's number one. Number two, recruiters want to be in the yes game, but by and large, we're in the no game. Right. You look on LinkedIn and you see a job that has. You see it where they tell you there were 1300 applicants, there's only one job you're going to give out. 1299 no's.
Brian Fink [00:30:00]:
Okay, right? How do you give out a no? Do you have a system where you hit a button and you say, you are not a fit for this role? Or do you send them a message and say, hey, Samantha, want to let you know you shine when it comes to this, this, and this. We decided to go with other candidates. Keep shining, keep climbing. I reject every candidate that I talk to on a personal level, and sometimes I even get on the phone with them. That should be table stakes. It shouldn't be a maybe, right? But when I say I get on the phone with them is, if you're a candidate who's gone through two or more interviews with us and you've met the hiring manager, I get on the phone with you and I say, how did you feel about this interview? Well, the hiring manager felt a little differently. This is the direction we're heading in and give them and be candid and constructive. Right.
Brian Fink [00:31:00]:
Sometimes it goes sideways. Sometimes candidates want to argue and say, but I did this. And I'm like, well, that wasn't the perception. Also about candidate experience. Something that we had at Twitter and we've now modeled and adapted here at McAfee, is that we did paired interviews. And a paired interview, Devyn, is where it sounds like a small panel, and maybe that's what it. But, like, what you would do is you would have. So you and I would jump on the call with a candidate.
Brian Fink [00:31:30]:
I'd ask them three questions and take notes, and you would ask them three different questions and take notes. And then afterwards, we get together and we compare our notes to make sure that we heard the same thing, that we eliminated the bias that comes from where we come from in our life and make sure that we really heard the candidate and heard their authentic and real voice.
Devyn Mikell [00:31:51]:
Brian Fink [00:31:52]:
And that's something that we've adapted now at McAfee that I was able to successfully bring over from Twitter.
Devyn Mikell [00:31:57]:
Sounds like similar to the concept of structured interviewing or maybe an adaptation of it, which we do in a way, as well.
Brian Fink [00:32:05]:
But when we're talking about structured, like, people don't realize how important it is to ask. Okay, first off, when I say ask the same question, I don't mean have every interviewer ask, why do you want to work at this company? Right. Structured interviewing.
Devyn Mikell [00:32:22]:
Ask the same way every time.
Brian Fink [00:32:24]:
Yeah, it's like, ask a candidate and be like, okay, I'll give you an example. Like, I'm working on this ML generative AI role, is that. I say, can you tell me a little bit about your research papers that you conducted in college?
Devyn Mikell [00:32:38]:
Brian Fink [00:32:39]:
Undergrad, they did research in it. Graduate school, they did research in it. Phd level postdoc stuff, they did research in it. It's the same question asked, right? Or can you tell me about how you used Python? It's the same question. It doesn't matter where you are in your career, either you have used python or you haven't used Python. If you haven't used Python. Sorry, this is not your rodeo, right?
Devyn Mikell [00:33:03]:
Yeah, exactly. I love that paired piece, though. The idea that you can check each other's bias because it's easy to do it by yourself and be like, yeah, I'm not bias, but it's not accurate, potentially.
Brian Fink [00:33:20]:
Yeah. So, I mean, it was really something powerful that I learned when I was at Twitter. Shout out to MGD on that.
Devyn Mikell [00:33:27]:
Yeah, I've heard these names. I'm taking all these names now. Well, cool. Brian, this has been incredible. We could likely go for an hour with ease. But in the interest of your time and everyone's time, I want to wrap us up here. So I know that everyone that's listening to the show is going to want to stay involved with you, stay in tune, if they're not already. What are the best ways.
Devyn Mikell [00:33:53]:
You've mentioned a few things that you're doing now, but what are some of the best ways to connect with you, and what are some of those resources that you have to offer the world?
Brian Fink [00:34:00]:
Okay, so real quick, LinkedIn. I'm on LinkedIn all the time. Like, I've got it up right here. I've got messages that are pinging me.
Devyn Mikell [00:34:07]:
Brian Fink [00:34:07]:
I'm on LinkedIn. If you want to find me on LinkedIn, find me at LinkedIn. I'm Brian Fink, and type it in, and I will be the first one that comes up. I'm not wearing glasses on that picture. They're in my pocket. I have somebody who thinks that's funny. Number two, you can find me on Twitter and Instagram and my peloton bike, which is somewhere right behind peloton bike. You can find me on those platforms at the Brian Fink.
Brian Fink [00:34:39]:
It's real simple. I didn't make it that difficult. I prefer to be hit up on LinkedIn. If you want to make time to talk on a Friday afternoon, my recruiter hours are from one until I say one to four. But I usually go to five, so, like, one to five eastern. And I'm happy to make time for anybody in our community. Whether you're struggling to find a job, whether you want to do interview practice, whether you got a question about how to do something, it's free and open to the public. It's office hours with Dr.
Brian Fink [00:35:07]:
Fink. And I don't call me Dr. Fink. Shavi Singh calls me Dr. Fink.
Devyn Mikell [00:35:13]:
Nice. I love it. And then you have a book. I mean, let's repub that.
Brian Fink [00:35:20]:
My wife is like, you've sold 4000 copies of the book, and you never talk about the book. Do you know how exciting people are about the book? Okay, so I have a book. It's called talk tech. To me, it is the nontechnical guide to technical recruiting. It is 500 pages long. Right? What I recommend is, I recommend that you get a marker and you get some sticky notes. Here's another book about cold emailing, because recruiters and sourcers email people, and you see all the sticky notes up in that junket. So talk tech to me.
Brian Fink [00:35:54]:
It's got everything about every role that I've worked on. I don't cover anything that I haven't done. I feel that that's a problem sometimes. I would recommend, like, if you're not a technical recruiter, jump to chapter nine, page 333, and get started there. It talks about some of the things that we've talked about on this call today, Devyn, is that we've talked about diversity, inclusion, equity, and I want to include belonging. I want to stress that b, not because my name begins with a b, but there's no point of being invited to the lunch table if nobody's going to talk to you. Yeah, exactly right. What's going on there? And I think the person who shares that lesson with me the most is probably torn Ellis, if you haven't gotten torn on the podcast.
Brian Fink [00:36:45]:
Yeah, you're smiling. All right. He's hiding the wings. He's a guy.
Devyn Mikell [00:36:51]:
Brian Fink [00:36:52]:
And the last thing I'd say to recruiters is, you know where to find me. Just reach out. Like, we'll get some time on the schedule. It may not be this week, it may not be next week. We'll get some time on the schedule. And if it doesn't have to be on, maybe it's not Friday, maybe it's some other day. I've stood on great people's shoulders, like Steve Rath, Steve Levy, Dean DeCosta, Shali Steckrell, Shannon Pritchett. Come stand on my shoulders.
Brian Fink [00:37:18]:
Let me hold you up in that chicken fight.
Devyn Mikell [00:37:19]:
Absolutely. This is awesome. Good stuff. Well, if you've loved what you heard as much as me, don't forget to, like, subscribe, whatever it is that you do on your platform, that you're listening to this podcast so that you don't miss another one of these types of episodes. Brian, thanks so much for being here.
Brian Fink [00:37:37]: