The Perfect Analytics Candidate

When you are recruiting for a key analytics role, it is very tempting to simply target people who are doing the same job for a competitor. They will have solved similar problems, worked with similar stakeholders… maybe even have experience in the same industry and with the same tool stack.  People like this are plug and play.  They hit the ground running and start improving the function very quickly.

Two problems:

  1. They may not exist.  No two analytics jobs are the same.  Org structure and culture create huge variations in seemingly similar roles across companies.  When you are trying to hire hard-to-find analytics experience in ADDITION to qualifications around industry experience, tool stack, team size, location and seniority level you can sometimes leave yourself with few-to-no qualified prospects.
  2. If you manage to find a few prospects that check all of your boxes you may have an even bigger problem:  Top-notch analytics talent doesn’t want to go do the same job for someone else for a few extra bucks.   They want new challenges, new learning and growth opportunities, significantly larger scale, etc.  So even if the skills and experience are a perfect fit, you will often have a fundamental mismatch in motivation.

The solution:

  1. Understand your market.  How many people fit all of my requirements?  What is the size of my potential talent pool?  Do I have to evaluate my priorities and compromise on some of my requirements?   Do I have to work with my talent acquisition team to coach them on how to position/sell my role?
  2. Once you get square on skills and experience, you have to align the role in terms of motivation.  Who is this role going to appeal to as it is written?  Top notch analytics professionals get two job inquiries a week.  Give them a compelling reason why this one might be interesting.

If you want a top performer, it is sometimes best to flip the script and focus on candidates with the best BIG skills (intelligence, intellectual curiosity, work ethic, technical and quant skills, leadership, etc.) and give a highly capable person a learning opportunity.

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