Data as a data scientist recruitment tool

Posted in: Business Insights

Everyone knows that data scientists are in high demand and recruiting them is very challenging these days, especially if you’re not a huge sexy brand-name company. What are these data scientists looking for in a company and how can you make sure you can deliver what they want?

I was talking to a client yesterday about his data scientist recruiting challenges and he told me a story that really resonated. He works for a hugely successful software company, his offices offers that wonderful mix of fun, but not over-the-top, located in a great part of town. Everyone I met was incredibly nice and looked happy to be there. They are VERY committed to differentiating themselves based on data– from the CEO down. What could be better than that as a set up for recruitment of a data scientist?

He told me that they had just been turned down by two data scientist candidates, not for any reason you’d expect but because the company couldn’t convince the candidates that their data was good enough to support a productive data science initiative. That was the first time I had heard that, but it makes total sense. Talk to any data scientist about their frustrations at work and most of them will talk not about their internal clients or the company valuing their work, they’ll talk about how much time they spend finding, cleaning data and integrating data. They’ll talk about not having access to enough data and about how long it takes to run their models.

So if you have a data lake with all the data in it. If your data is clean. If your data systems are powerful enough to deliver results within a reasonable time, you should make this a big part of your recruitment process. I know from experience that most companies are not yet this mature in their analytics platforms so you’ll have a real recruiting edge.

And of course the converse is also true. If you don’t have a well architected data platform and you want to move into advanced analytics, start now to get this addressed. Not only will you be able to attract the best talent, you’ll also make them much more productive and when they deliver results sooner, you will also a win.

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About the Author

Lynda Partner is a self-professed data addict and experiences the power of data every day as Pythian’s Vice President of Analytics-as-a-Service. The author of Pythian’s Love Your Data mantra, Lynda understands very well how data can transform companies into competitive winners and she was the driving force in adding an analytics practice to Pythian’s database focus. Lynda works with companies around the world and across industries to turn data into insights, predictions and products, and is the co-author of Designing Data Lakes in the Cloud.

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