We all know that finding the best Data & Analytics talent is tough.
There is a talent shortage all over the world and ravenous competition as the demand for Data-Driven decision making becomes the norm for all organisations (or at least that’s what say!)
In my eyes, there are three key areas to consider:
1) What attracts talent?
2) What should your organisation be doing?
3) What you should look for in a recruitment partner?
If you want the best talent, then I can assure you that in 99% of cases, you’re not going to find that through direct applications from adverts. These people simply aren’t looking and never have to.
Every now and then (like during COVID, for example) some may be forced to find a new role, but they know they’re great and I guarantee that they aren’t sat on the job boards looking at your advert. They’ll be leveraging their network and educating themselves about which organisations are at the forefront of the market when it comes to data, which leads me to my first point…
(…but before I do, it is also worth noting that not every organisation needs and/or wants the best talent. Sometimes, good enough will suffice and there is nothing wrong with that!)
What Attracts Talent?
Long gone are the days are when you can attract the best by paying them more than the competition. Sure, it helps, but if that is your proposition, you’re in a world of trouble.
Money is money and to be honest, most organisations are paying within a similar range. The same can be said for “flexible working”, a beer fridge, bean bags, table football, pool tables, free fruit, holidays etc – that stuff is all pretty standard nowadays, so stop trying to spin it as a competitive advantage.
So, what do they want to know I hear you ask…?
Well, there are a few key things (beyond the standard stuff highlighted above):
- Now more than ever these people want to know that they will be able to “see” the value that their work has added – what was the outcome? (So many businesses fail at this!)
- That the organisation truly believes and buys into the fact that data is and should be the lifeblood of the business and that it’s not just boarded the bandwagon to keep up with the trend.
- What the long-term goal for the business is, how Data & Analytics aids that and how they as an individual helps the organisation get there?
- What is the Data Strategy and Roadmap?
- The data maturity and literacy of an organisation (board, stakeholders, users)
- Where the organisation ranks amongst its competition and the plan moving forward
- Who they’ll be working for and if that person has any pedigree with the Data & Analytics community?
- How they can improve upon their skills and/or experience
- What the progression routes are, and how they can be developed
- The structure of the Data & Analytics team(s) and where that sits within the wider business.
- How much autonomy they’ll have and if the business values experimentation
- The tools and technologies being used, and the projects being undertaken
What Should Your Organisation Be Doing?
The reality is that you aren’t going to be hiring constantly. There will be peaks and troughs in your requirements for when you need to attract Data & Analytics talent through your door. However, that does not mean that you should only be thinking about the above when you have active requirements.
We hear a lot nowadays about the power of “employer branding” and “personal brand” and bringing those two things together on a consistent basis through a social presence is what makes the best talent out there attracted to your organisation – the perceived brand.
Remember earlier when I said that the best talent isn’t reading and applying to job adverts, even when they may be actively looking? Well, that’s because these people THINK they know which organisations they should target based on the organisations ability to articulate and be front of mind on all of the points above.
The reality of course is that there are many more organisations out there that likely tick those boxes, but they aren’t demonstrating it via the social mediums of today and are therefore overlooked.
Being Present: Employer Brand V Personal Brand
For most organisations, its business is not data and/or analytics, it’s Finance, Retail, Telco, Automotive, Banking, Healthcare, Logistics etc, and that is where often lies the problem.
How can a business that makes cars or sells clothes create an employer brand that speaks to the Data & Analytics community? It’s tough, there is no doubting that, but it can be done.
Your organisation needs to be “present” on the mediums that the Data & Analytics community congregates in and provide insights into what your organisation can offer when it comes to the things listed above.
This immediately shows that you’re taking the time to openly communicate with that audience in that way, to highlight the amazing things the organisation is doing with data, which in turn puts your organisation in a list of businesses which take data seriously and can answer the all-important questions.
The aim is for you to get the best talent approaching your organisation rather than you having to go and find them!
You should also try, wherever possible to have a dedicated internal recruitment resource that can build a personal brand doing the same thing.
Again, it’s tricky because internal recruitment teams often have 30+ open roles to try and fill across the entire business spanning every single department, division and business unit, and therefore must “speak” to multiple different communities of people. It is an unenviable task!
But, if you can have a dedicated resource that becomes the face of data for your organisation who can communicate with that audience on the organisations behalf with their own social presence, then you’ll be able to target your audience much better.
Every single leader within the realm of Data & Analytics will undoubtedly state that hiring great people is one of their biggest challenges. And often, these people know exactly what the best talent wants to hear about (the list above) and are undoubtedly best placed to address that audience.
Yet, I can count on one hand the number of those ‘Data Leaders’ that are socially visible, articulating what they and the organisation are/is doing from a data and analytics standpoint and giving context to the key pieces of information that truly great talent wants to hear about.
If you want to hire the best talent then make sure that the decision-makers/hiring managers are visible, telling the story, attending events, speaking as much as possible, being the face of data for the organisation and ultimately positioning themselves and the brand of the organisation as a key player within the Data & Analytics community.
What to look for in a Recruitment Partner
If you’re working with a “specialist” recruitment business to find you the best Data & Analytics talent that specialises in anything other than Data & Analytics, then you may have to rethink that strategy if you genuinely want the very best people.
For example, there are many “technology specialist” recruitment businesses now turning their hand to the Data & Analytics scene. I understand why, it’s a trending area but ultimately technology is merely an enabler to allow organisations to do great things with Data & Analytics, nothing more.
How can a business specialise in “technology”? There are thousands of different types of technologies and no one agency can know every candidate, across every location within every technology across every discipline (Infrastructure, Support, Cloud, Cyber, ERP, Data, Development, etc etc)
It is therefore impossible for that recruitment business to communicate with and market themselves to a specific community of people because their audience is so varied.
This results in them just becoming another recruitment business that is a jack of all trades and a master of none and sought-after Data & Analytics talent can see straight through that.
Identification V Engagement
Even as little as 10 years ago, the success of a recruitment business often came down to how strong its database was; how many candidates it had access to. That was often the difference and USP between recruitment businesses. When tools such as LinkedIn were widely adopted, that to a large degree levelled the playing field when it came to being able to identify the best talent for any given role.
This is where most organisations (and recruitment businesses in my opinion) get it wrong. Being able to identify a strong candidate for a role is the easy part. But, as we discussed earlier, the best people aren’t looking and even if they were, they’ve already made up their own minds about which businesses they’ll approach and because they know they’re great at what they do, that is enough to get a new role at one of your competitors!
So, what are we talking about here?
The ability to identify the best isn’t enough. That won’t get your story heard or your brand awareness raised, and if they aren’t listening, then it’s impossible to get them through the door.
The question you ought to be asking your recruitment partner (and yourself) is how they are engaging these people? Will they pick up the phone to you, respond to your emails, texts, or your outreach on LinkedIn and more importantly why?
Bear in mind these people get bombarded with calls texts, emails, LinkedIn messages every single day. How does your recruitment partner stand out with all of that going on around them?
So, what should you look for in a recruitment partner?
In its simplest form, it is quite simply someone who has the ability, reputation, brand and presence to engage and be heard, which leads us back to my earlier point about branding and social presence.
Being present and visible on the social channels where the Data & Analytics community congregate; writing articles, sharing industry insights, going to events, hosting events, interviewing thought leaders etc – all of this adds value to that community.
Ultimately, when you become that source of value-add, it makes for better engagement as people recognise and respect the brand/name and are willing to, at the very least, hear what you’ve got to say because they understand that person is at one with the community.
That, in turn, will lead to more conversions (getting the best people through your door) but will also build the brand of your organisation in the process.
Ultimately, beyond giving your business the best chance of securing the best talent through better engagement, your recruitment partner should be able to give you industry insights, build your organisations brand, provide competitor analysis and market intelligence, advise, guide, support and provide your leadership figures with a voice to attract the best talent.
If you would like an obligation free conversation about Orbition Group can help you do all of the above, then please feel free to reach out to me.