Growth through Talent

Attracting Data Scientists - Is there a science?

 14th Feb 2019

In case you didn’t already know, data rules the world. Every decision that’s made within a company is driven by data and data scientists are the brains powering most of these decisions. 

But, with the need for optimisation mounting, and the fight to attract specialists rife with competition; employers are now questioning how they win over the industry’s top talent. In fact, First Round suggests that many strong candidates are now receiving three or more offers, meaning success rates are often below 50 percent. So, based on this statistic alone, we can start to see why the battle to lock down candidate interest becomes problematic. 

But are the odds really against us, or, is there a science behind hiring data specialists? Pivotal London investigates.


Qualitative Benefits   

Candidates want to know what you can offer them besides full-time employment and a great salary. And, you’ll find that many candidates are motivated by a range of factors which is why it’s important to analyse what matters most to them. Here’s some tested solutions that have worked for many companies:

Flex it! – Arguably the most attractive benefit is flexibility. Specifically, working from home. From an employer’s perspective, you’ll find that data scientists will be more productive if they are offered greater freedom and trust to do their job.  

• All the Gear – Data scientists spend most of their time doing repetitive work and can get bored easily. This is why it’s crucial to equip them with all the resources they need to stay productive. Can you offer them a new computer or laptop? More importantly, is your company using the latest technology and software? 

• Reward great work – In an article published by Fast Company, it suggests that companies should highlight good work and show it off, by encouraging data teams to attend industry events to demonstrate their work. 


Decode your Culture   

Humans gravitate towards environments where they get a sense of belonging. Creating a culture where people feel valued can be easily achieved when they feel recognised and are in a position where they can create impact. While transforming culture takes time, here’s a couple of actionable steps: 

• Listen and Learn – Given the importance of data, make sure you put it to good use! Why not send your existing employees an engagement survey to understand what they like and dislike about their job. Are they happy? If not, why? This will give them an ideal platform to share ideas for improvement. 

• Test fit  – Generally speaking, incoming talent are not always looking for a traditional environment. Instead, they want a place where they can overcome challenges, develop their skills and make a real difference. Offering candidates an opportunity to work in your office for the day can give them a taste of the role, the team and operational structure. This way, they can see if the position truly aligns with what they want for their career.  

• Open Up!  – What better way to promote your employer value proposition than to host thought leadership seminars and workshops. Events have the power to attract open and passive candidates, while giving you an opportunity to build a strong network. is an effective site where you can promote your events and connect with these potential attendees. 

• CRAP Talks – Become a member of the CRAP community and get involved with discussions related to analytics, data, conversion optimisation and products. By getting involved, you will be able to connect with potential candidates, and position your brand as one that is engaged and contributing to a much larger conversation. 


Move fast and make things simple!   

Have you ever put yourself in your candidates’ shoes? Is the candidate having to repeat his or her experience multiple times to a range of decision makers? Creating a streamline process that is builds an enjoyable journey will maximise your chances of securing talent much faster than your competition. Here are some other solutions that are worth considering: 

• Better, Faster, Stronger – The speed of decision making during the interview process is critical. Not only will you secure talent faster than your competition, it will set positive expectations for the candidate because they will see a business that is agile and capable of delivering change in a quick manner. 

• Talent vs. skill –  Great communication and analytical skills are much harder to teach than technical programmes such as Python and Java. During the interview process, make sure you include questions that allow candidates to talk about their past experience and discuss how they overcome particular challenges. 

• Ticking over – Keep your hiring engine running even when you aren’t actively recruiting. This way, you’ll be able to create a consistent pipeline of talent where candidates will be more likely to approach you.

• Make a Splash – Dive into a larger talent pool and cast a wider net in your search for candidates. Still unsure of how you can do this? We suggest you read Hire Hive’s recent blog post

As you can see, candidates hold a lot of decision power within the data science space. However, employers still have room to regain control over the attraction piece. 

Hiring data specialists in theory is a combination of art and science. Why not start by getting to know your target audience! Then you can begin to align your business with what your candidates truly want, then demonstrate how you can deliver on this. 

If you’re a data scientist looking to connect with leading digital companies, or a hiring manager that is in need of data specialists this year, make sure you get in touch with our Pivotal team today 

View all of our available data analytics jobs here


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