A Primer on Cookies in Web Analytics…

Hiring in the competitive analytics industry is no easy feat. In most organisations, it can be hard enough to get headcount – let alone actually find the right person! These three foundational tips are drawn from successful hiring processes in a variety of verticals and organisations.

1. Be honest about what you need

This includes being honest in job description, as well as when you talk to candidates. Be clear about what the person will actually do and what your needs are – not what you wish they would get to do!

I have seen highly qualified candidates promised exciting work and the chance to build a team, only to find out “Director” was an in-name-only title, and in reality, they were nothing more than a glorified reporting monkey. Unsurprisingly, these hires last just long enough to line up a better opportunity, and leave with a bad taste in their mouth (and a guarantee that they would never recommend the company to anyone.)

2. Separate ‘nice to have’s from ‘must have’s

A job description is not your wishlist for Santa, and unicorns don’t exist. You are not going to find someone with twenty years Adobe Analytics experience and a PhD in Statistics who is also a Javascript expert (and won a gold medal for basket weaving!) This may sound like a ridiculous example, but so are most of the supposed “requirements” for analytics roles these days.

Start by detailing the bare minimum skills someone would need to have to be effective in the role, and focus the role to address your greatest need. (Yes, I understand you “may not get another req for years!” But by refusing to prioritise, you guarantee that this req will 1) Take forever to fill, and 2) End up being filled by someone who may meet some of your requirements, but perhaps not your most critical!) Do you need someone technical? More business oriented? Devoted to testing? (Resist the urge to throw in the kitchen sink.)

Keep in mind, if candidates have other skills that makes them desirable, they will mention them during the interview process, and you can then factor them into your hiring decision.

Focusing on your most pressing needs will also make sure other interviewers besides yourself clearly understand what is necessary to succeed in the role. There is nothing worse than having another interview provide poor feedback about a candidate you love, because “They didn’t know R” – except that wasn’t something you truly needed!

3. Focus on relationships, not recruiting

Managers who hire well understand they are always recruiting. While you may not have an active req open, you should continue building relationships with others in the industry. This will allow you to move more quickly, with some great candidates in mind, when the time comes.

Managers who do this well are constantly on the lookout for, and evaluating, people they meet for a potential hiring fit. They take the time to catch up with contacts from time to time, whether it’s a quick phone call to check in, or catching up for lunch. They also openly discuss the possibility of one day working together! Be clear that you’re not hiring right now (you don’t want to lead anyone on) but talk through whether there’s even a fit in terms of skills and interests on both sides.

On the flip side, managers who struggle here tend to blow off connections until they need something (for example, they’re actively hiring.)

What do you think?

Please leave your thoughts or questions in the comments!

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