Knowledge Center: Expert Guidance

Big Data & Analytics

Four ways to super-charge your big data talent acquisition strategy

Subscribe to Big Data & Analytics 11/6/2013 Joshua M. Clarke

For those who follow the field closely, it’s a given that the current talent landscape for big data and analytics is hyper-competitive. Companies with top caliber talent have a real cause for concern that they will lose their best people to not just competitors in their own industry but organizations in completely different verticals. In fact, these organizations are racing to transform their internal structures to better attract highly sought after leaders in this space.

In our role helping clients find the best candidates to fill these critical roles, we’re constantly asked how they can more effectively acquire leaders in the big data and analytics space. In my experience, there are really four things that a company should focus on when developing any talent acquisition strategy:

  1. Understand your competitive landscape.
    A data and analytics talent magnet will understand their competitive landscape not only from a commercial perspective, but also from a talent perspective. What other companies are targeting your current employees or top recruits, even outside of your industry? You may understand the compensation ranges at your direct competitors, but what about other organizations that may seek to recruit your leaders? Winning companies understand where they fit in the competitive landscape and position themselves effectively.

  2. Create a talent-specific SWOT analysis.
    Be honest in your assessment – no company is perfect and not every culture is right for everyone. What makes you distinct when it comes to your value proposition as an employer? What are some of your weaknesses? What type of employee would thrive in your organization and why?

  3. Move beyond buzz words.
    Don’t throw around the phrase “big data” unless your data assets truly fit the bill. Analytics is not necessarily just the new name for your research or reporting capability. Nothing kills enthusiasm faster than the perception that your company is on the buzz word bandwagon. Data and analytics problems come in many shapes and sizes and so too, will the solutions. It is important to be transparent about what your company is dealing with and what they aspire to create in order to engage with the data and analytics talent that will be the best fit.

  4. Be prepared to walk away.
    This may be counterintuitive, but could be instrumental to your long-term success. To describe the current talent acquisition climate for data and analytics leaders as an arms race might not be too much of an exaggeration. But in such a race, chances are there will always be a competitor with deeper pockets. The key to success for both employers and executives is to determine the best fit first and navigate the economics second.

Having a cohesive talent acquisition strategy is imperative for any part of your organization. It becomes especially important when establishing or growing new functions such as big data and analytics as it builds the potential for success over the long-term and demonstrates a level of organizational stability to interested candidates.


Joshua M. Clarke Partner +1 617 7376300

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