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Win the war for top data & analytics talent!

How a streamlined recruitment process can help you win the war for top data & analytics talent.

Posted by Jared Cave, Senior Data & Analytics Consultant, Monday March 2 2020

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How a streamlined recruitment process can help you win the war for top data & analytics talent

As a Data and Analytics professional, it's a great time to be looking for a role. According to Moster's data, database management, BI/reporting and cloud computing were some of the most sought after skills in 2019, and this is set to continue. So chances are if you're on the search your next visualisation superstar or analytics ace, so too are your competitors. Data is an excellent example of a candidate-driven market. This can be a tricky environment to manoeuvre when hiring.

As a hiring manager, I imagine there are few things as disappointing as having your heart set on a candidate, only for him/her to accept another role with a competitor before you even get to offer stage. I've seen this happen a lot. Sometimes it can't be avoided, but there are definitely some suggestions which you can put into effect immediately to limit this.

The lowest hanging fruit is in how you plan your interview process. In such a competitive market, your plan should be candidate-centric. There are many considerations, but in data, the most pertinent seems to be speed. Of course, there's a balance to be struck between pace and diligence, but good candidates don't tend to stay on the market for very long. If you're looking for the top talent, you have to move quickly. So, where can we save some time? Here are 3 tips on how to speed up your recruitment process to make sure you don't miss out.

How many stages should you have?

The first one is obvious but worth driving home. Don't plan an extensive interview process. A typical interview process in data will consist of 2 stages and last no more than 2 weeks. If there is going to be an additional stage, there better be a good reason for it and it better happen quickly! It does not reflect well if you invite a candidate to attend a further stage, only to have another Manager ask him/her the same questions they were asked in a previous interview. It doesn't go towards flattering the candidate and may come across as unorganised. Not only will it lead to the candidate becoming frustrated and disillusioned, but it increases the chance of them being snapped up by a competitor while you prepare for a 3rd stage.

Where possible, stick a stage process and be clear on what you need to understand about the candidate's experience and character before the process is over. This way, you can move quickly to a verdict.

Interview Availability

Next, it is important that you manage interviewers availability. If you know several different stakeholders want to meet with the candidate before you make your decision, be sure to manage their diaries appropriately. Yes, they're busy. Everyone is. Wouldn't it be great if you had another pair of hands on deck?

Before you start recruitment on a role, make sure you know when people are around. If a key decision-maker tells you they are too busy, go to them with examples which demonstrate how this hire will save them time in the near future. Show them why it's important that you do this now and not in a month's time.

Technical Assessment

Finally, cut out any tasks. Out of the three, this suggestion is usually met with the most resistance. Since experience and proficiency with tools is important to understand before making a decision, there must be some way to evaluate these. Typically, if you're hiring an Analyst, maybe you provide them with data sets and ask them to draw insights from these. If you're hiring a Tagging Specialist, perhaps you ask them to review your website and come up with their own measurement and tracking strategy. This undoubtedly means there will be more time between the first and second stage interview as the candidate prepares their response to the brief you've set. If a candidate is interviewing for several roles at the same time, you run the risk of yours falling to the bottom of his/her list, as they choose to prioritise others.

I'm not suggesting that you reduce your level of scrutiny but to keep your vacancy at the top of their list and ease the process, rather than setting new work for them, have them talk you through a relevant project. You can be transparent with them and let them know the problems you face within your business to give them some steer on which examples to share, but give them freedom in how to respond. Now it can be an opportunity for you to test not only their technical ability but also their commitment to the role as well as their intuitions. If you have additional questions, you still have the opportunity to ask them. This keeps the interview engaging and indicates your interest in the candidate and their work. How you make the candidate feel will undoubtedly be a deciding factor. Fear not, the best candidates will always come prepared.

Planning an effective recruitment process is invaluable. Ultimately, if you can keep the process streamlined, uncomplicated and engaging, you'll provide the best candidate experience and give your self a better chance of bagging the candidate you want. In such a competitive, fast-moving market, you don't have time for delays and unnecessary steps. If you make it easier for candidates, you make it easier for yourself.

If you need assistance hiring for data & analytics roles, or simply want some advice, you can reach me on jaredc@reuben-sinclair.com or 0203 957 6425.

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