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What to Know About Hiring a Data Analyst

Wesley Anderson

17 Aug 2022

•

3 min read

What to Know About Hiring a Data Analyst
  • Hiring

What to Know About Hiring a Data Analyst

Data analysts are known for their data processing and analytic skills, which help small and large organizations make informed decisions. They are the unsung heroes driving major business decisions, from when to launch a new product to whether or not to go into a big merger. Companies that do an excellent job in hiring the best data analysts enjoy several benefits in the long term.

On the other hand, it's estimated that the average cost of a bad hire is 30% of the employee's first-year salary. For a data analyst making $100,000 annually, that's around $30,000 lost. This is quite costly, and considering the employee was a mid-level manager, the damage could stretch further to include employee disengagement and subsequent turnover. If you are actively hiring for a data analyst position, there are certain things you should prioritize. We have covered more on this below.

Data Analyst Job Role and Requirements

Before hiring a data analyst, you should first understand your unique business needs. This way, you will know what to expect from the talents you want to hire. For instance, maybe you are dealing primarily with unstructured data that requires knowledge of specific databases and tools to manipulate. Here, you may specify in your job description that you're looking for a data analyst familiar with unstructured data and who is an expert in NoSQL databases.

Typically, the data analyst's job role will vary depending on the business type, the types of data, projects you are working on, expected results, etc. Even so, major roles like turning raw data into insights and developing analysis & reporting capabilities do not change that much. Here are the typical data analyst job requirements:

  • Work Experience. A competent data analyst should have field experience in a relevant business setup or industry.

  • Technical Expertise. The data analyst should deeply understand the various types of data. They should also be proficient in database design development, segmentation techniques, and data mining.

  • Analytical skills. The data analyst should be able to collect, evaluate, organize, and disseminate vast amounts of information with keenness, accuracy, and precision.

  • Coding and Data Management. A strong understanding and expertise with reporting packages such as Business Objects, programming languages such as python & JavaScript, and databases such as SQL & NoSQL are critical.

  • Background education. A great data analyst has a background in mathematics, computer science, economics, statistics, information management, or engineering. They should also be good at report writing, asking questions, and presentations. 

Understanding the Hiring Process

Whether you have an in-house hiring committee or are partnering with a search firm to recruit the best data analysts, the process will often follow four significant steps. These are:

  1. Screening 

After the candidates have applied for the job position, the screening process follows afterward. This involves perusing the CVs to identify the most qualified talents. Critical things to look out for include work experience, education level, leadership capabilities, list of references, etc. The process can be done manually or digitally, i.e., using screening software. Often, the screening process doesn't involve contacting the candidates unless you're hiring for top executive level positions and you need to double check on something, e.g., their work experience, education, etc.

  1. Candidate Assessment 

Once you have a list of ideal candidates, it's time to assess their fit for the job. You or your recruiter should focus on the candidate's personality traits, culture fit, practical skill assessment, leadership capabilities, and more. To effectively navigate the assessment stage, you want to keenly compare each candidate's skills, experience, and personality to the data analyst's job description. The aim is to come up with a list of the best candidates without necessarily comparing their individual performances.

  1. Interviewing 

This is an integral part of the hiring process where you meet and talk with candidates in person or virtually. A well-conducted interview process can help the hiring panel learn more about the candidates and even get more insights into their capabilities, personalities, culture fit, etc. Proper preparation often begins with identifying and knowing how to ask the right questions. Some topics you want to prioritize include personality-related, culture-fit, and job-related questions.

  1. Selection 

After the interview process, what follows is to compare each candidate's performance and rank them accordingly. You want to check the candidates' expectations and how each of them progressed. During the selection process, you should ensure fairness, honesty, and transparency at every decision level. For instance, minimize unconscious bias by embracing diversity and inclusion within your hiring panel. Your hiring team should be well represented to boost confidence among your underrepresented candidates and let them know you are conscious of diversity and inclusion in your company.

The Bottom Line

Hiring some of the most competitive talents in today's labor market can be challenging. The pandemic-induced labor shortage, the great resignation, the high inflation rates, and a looming recession are forcing employers to rethink their hiring budgets. Those companies that are bold enough to hire at these uncertain times will reap the benefits. You should also pay attention to the tips above every time you hire a data analyst, whether for an entry-level or senior-level position.

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Wesley Anderson

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