Evaluating Your Next BI Resource – Three Common Comparisons

Whether you’re tasked with bringing on a consultant, or filling a permanent position on your analytics team, it’s imperative that you determine the candidate’s holistic skill set prior to extending an offer. As many hiring managers know, it can be a tall order to precisely align role requirements to a resume (or even throughout the interview process). While each job posting calls for different needs, there are common traits and skills acquired by industry experience that contribute to an individual’s overall makeup. If these are analyzed and interpreted correctly, it can pay off in spades for your organization. Below are three common experience comparisons, to aid you in the process of evaluating your next BI resource.

 

1)      Implementation Experience vs. Production Support

Being aware of the difference between Implementation experience and experience supporting a deployed solution is vital. Managers often use years of experience as a measuring stick for fit. While this is a useful tool in hiring, it shouldn’t be relied upon as the only measurement in the Analytics space. Implementation and product support experience can vastly differ in terms of deep-seeded diversified knowledge. An individual who only has three years of implementation experience, in any given analytic application, vs. one with seven years of production support experience, is quite possibly the stronger candidate. And here’s why - when you’re supporting a solution, the system has already been built and customized to the organization’s needs and the segregation of duties are well defined. This not only silos employees to just one aspect of the analytic application, but results in repetitiveness in the candidate’s every day activities, growing complacently and not being ahead of the curve.

With implementation projects, the system is wide open and you have a better chance of wearing multiple hats and seeing every aspect of the application in play. This coupled with the rigorous implementation life-cycle (gathering requirements, uncovering system constraints, developing, etc.) makes for a well-rounded candidate.   

2)      Small-Medium Companies vs. Large Corporations

While company names like Google, Apple, Amazon, etc. look great on a resume, experience at smaller sized companies should not be underestimated.  Sticking with our theme of deep-seeded diversified knowledge, in a lot of cases large corporations are so big (and often have a high offshore presence) that an individual working within an analytic application on X, has no idea how the team in charge of Y is delivering their contribution to the solution, effort involved, their touch-points, etc. Also, in more extreme cases, the relationship between cross-application teams are almost non-existent due to the culture of the organization or geographic barriers.

With smaller organizations, an individual who is tasked to preform report development (for example) has a better chance of being in the loop on business requirements, security and administrative tasks, thus strengthening one’s skill set. Sometimes, they may even end up working hand in hand with those teams to drive home an indirect report development resolution. From a geographical standpoint, more often than not, teams are either located in a close proximity or tightly integrated. This allows for accessible counterparts, face-to-face meetings, or the ease of just simply walking over to the other team’s work-space. Consequently, there is a higher probability of cross-application expertise in a smaller size business environment.

3)      Previous Client Side Experience vs. Consultant Only Experience  

Short tenured candidates who have only worked in consulting do not always have the traditional upbringing and instilled traits of ownership, discipline and integrity as those who have spent time on the client side. This is simply attributed to how one embraces and tackles the occasional nature of the beast. Waiting for instructions from the client (resulting in forming a reactive, not proactive attitude); not appreciating the long-term ramifications of applying band-aid fixes or taking short-cuts (low quality of work); loose oversight by client management (forming bad ethical habits) are a few examples of the personal reconstructing the new organization might have to undertake.

 On the other hand, if you have a candidate who has had previous client side experience, they are more likely to have inherited traits that are geared towards long-term success. While this point really depends on the individual, his or her manager and the employer, I believe it holds true for the masses.   

 

Hiring the right resource is a manager' goal. While every organization and individual has their own recruiting method, I encourage the traditional thinkers to look outside the box every now and then.