Experience: More is Not Always Better

We have had several experiences recently that spotlight this issue. Three of our clients over the past few months have given us interesting analytics roles to fill with the same notable problem: They were insistent on too many years of experience.

In one case the client was looking for marketing modelers at the senior analyst level (SAS/R & SQL environment). The roles paid $85 – $95k base salary + a 10% bonus target in San Francisco. The HR team did some research and decided that they needed at least 5-years of post-academic experience.

In our initial conversation, we let them know that this was not realistic, but we decided to do some work and show them the market. We submitted great candidates with 1-3 years of experience that would fit their budget and check all the other boxes. HR held the line. They would not interview anybody with less than 5-years of experience.

I called the hiring manager and explained again: NOBODY with 5-years of marketing modeling experience in San Francisco wants a $95k senior analyst job… and if they do, you probably don’t want them. “There’s nothing I can do,” he said, “My hands are tied.”

HR is trying to do the right thing here. They are holding the line for more experienced people, thinking that they are raising the bar for only the top tier of talent. Instead, they have ensured that only the bottom tier would be interested.

They are also trying to save the company money by offering a below-market salary for their requirements. Instead, they have cost the company money because these key roles will stay open for many months.

This may not be true at the executive levels, but in the professional analytics ranks (analysts up through directors) it is usually better to hire a great analytics “athlete” who is motivated to step up into a role of greater responsibility and scope… rather than hire one who has been there and done that.

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