Evaluating Analytics Professionals by Proxy or Directly?

IIA Faculty Member Bill Franks, recently led an outstanding discussion titled, “What Makes a Great Analytic Professional”? Judging by the attendance and lively discussion, this was an important and timely discussion.

Analytics Professionals Struggle to Hire Just Like Non-Analytics Professionals

What struck me about this discussion is that analytics professionals (with the world of analytics solutions at their disposal) are having the same conversation non-analytics professionals have every day. The dilemma? How to reliably predict top performers when hiring.

It wasn’t lost on me that this traditionally difficult challenge, might provide an outstanding opportunity for the analytics community to teach businesses how to hire effectively – using an analytics approach.

Questions to answer:

  • How to quantify the evaluation of analytics candidates?
  • How to move beyond using proxy measures during the hiring process?
  • How to create rigorous benchmarks that reliably predict top performers?

Evaluating by Proxy

Measures used today to spot the elusive ideal analytics professional span a range of “proxy metrics.” Some scan resumes for computer science, math or machine learning on resumes, others give puzzles to applicants. Some try to intuit whether a candidate is intensely curious. Others look for a storyteller – someone who can tell a good story using real data.

Bill Franks has had good success hiring outstanding analytics professionals. Among other traits his experience shows that outstanding analytics professionals are creative, suggesting that you “ask if they are artistic, or musical or have some kind of other creative experience in their background”.

It is possible, simple even, to come up with a benchmark of analytics professionals. Analytics professionals solve these kinds of problems all the time. It is this community’s strength and could be a time to shine as an industry, in a whole new category with the potential to affect bottom line business results and dramatically change the hiring industry.

Challenge to the Analytics Community

We suggest a challenge for the Analytics community can to solve together. What if we could use our own analytics methods to quantify the human characteristics that lead to success in our own field? This “benchmark” could lead to better hiring; reduced attrition and more focused professional development. Armed with a methodology, results, and the charts and graphs to prove it, we could lead the charge to introduce and implement similar analytical processes into the hiring processes of organizations at large.

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  • BobHatcher

    Greta, rather than just pose the question (in the last paragraph) I thought for sure you would propose something based on your methodology.  Come on, be bold.  Tell us from your perspective what a good analytics professional would look like!

    Bob

    PS, I am not sure “analytics” can ever be real until spell checkers recognize it as an actual word!

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