The demand for top data and analytics talent is only going up, so how do you make your data culture irresistible to the best candidates? Here are a few messages I like to share with prospects to entice them to join the team.

  1. You get to build it. If you’re part of a new data culture, and many are these days, it’s a true positive to be able to say, “If you join us, you get to help build the organization.” That's really appealing to a lot of people. You can market that you’re building your own little startup inside of your company, but it’s a start up that will change how the whole company operates.
  2. You get to be creative. There’s an innovation component that data people thrive on. They like to be given a little bit of freedom to get creative with data, whether that’s with dashboards and visualizations, models and analytics, or getting to collaborate on new product creation for the solutions business. Combine that carrot of innovation with a culture where you’re not going to be taking orders from people and it becomes an appealing proposition.
  3. You get to drive adoption of what you build. A huge attraction point for people is that you'll be on the hook for adoption. That resonates well with people, because the last thing a data engineer, data scientist, or analytics professional wants is to build a killer dashboard or whiz-bang statistical predictive model that beats the sales forecast every time – and then no one uses it. That's such a downer at any level, whether you’re in a junior or senior position. I've been focused on adoption for most of my career, something I owe to my consulting roots, because consulting is all about adding value, selling the next job, and getting the add-on. But the same philosophy applies to all organizations.
  4. You get to change the corporate culture. Highlighting that we are the champions of data culture, and we're going to use it to change the corporate culture is a very attractive message. Help job candidates connect the dots here: the better people in our corporate culture can make decisions, the more the company succeeds. If you believe that people should be making mostly data-based decisions with a little bit of qualitative and gut feel thrown in, this is the place for you.
  5. You get to contribute to revenue and profitability. I like to extrapolate the culture change argument to say, "If we do follow a mindset based on using data to make decisions, this company will be more successful. We will take more market share. We will be more profitable, and that's a win-win for everybody."

I admit to being a bit cheeky in a recent LinkedIn post for a data scientist. I said something along the lines of, “Hey, we're hiring data scientists. Who isn't? Ha ha ha.” But then I added something I truly believe: Come be part of this company, because we’re all about adoption." I hope that that message resonates with people who feel like they've been in a role where they've been a data scientist, but their work has been underutilized. Who wouldn’t want to be part of a company where their efforts are celebrated instead?

Heidi Lanford is the Chief Data Officer for Fitch Group and is responsible for transforming the way Fitch leverages data across the enterprise to enhance current products and internal applications, and exploit the value of data for new product development. She joined Fitch from Red Hat (IBM), where she was Vice President of Enterprise Data & Analytics, and has held executive-level positions with Avaya and WPP. Heidi is a board member of the University of Virginia’s School of Data Science, and serves as a Scout for HearstLab, where she advises teams of early stage, women-led startups.