A data-driven culture starts with data-driven hiring: finding smart, analytical people and giving them interesting problems to solve. Elizabeth Crinejo, our Director of Client Operations, shows you what to look for.

From the session “Drowning in Data, but Thirsty for Insight?” given by Elizabeth Crinejo and Melissa Mines at ConnectToConvert, August 21, 2017.


So, one of the things I think is really important, and when I look at my role as director, one of the things I’m always having to do is look at hiring. What am I hiring for? What kind of skills am I looking for? It’s really interesting to understand what’s happening in the job market around data analysts, data scientists, and what that means for potentially the types of people we have on our team.

So, how many people have a team that they work with in marketing? How many people are like the guy who wears all the hats? Okay, got it. So, that’s something to understand as you look forward, so the people who are the guys who wear all the hats that you may want to hire in the future. One of the people I would hire is go hire an econ major or a stats major or a math major plus Excel skills.

So these are some of the job requirements, starting salaries, like that can be prohibitive. Like that salary for a marketing team may be a challenge, but what we’ve found is it’s way easier to teach marketing to math majors or marketing to econ majors or marketing to stats and finance majors. So, start looking in those worlds.

And you can have your job descriptions pull for those types of thinkers, but what you’re looking for are people who wonder about data. They’re not intimidated by it. They’re really excited when you’re interviewing them, and you give them a math problem. They really like it, and those are the kinds of people you want to have on your team.

So, if it’s the case that you are a team of one or even a team of ten, you want to have some smarty pants math people on your team because they love what they can learn from this stuff, and if you combine it with their understanding of marketing or have them be the voice of math on the team, it can actually really be a multiplier to what you’re up to.

So, these are just some tips that I’ve found. Give them some analytical puzzles. If you’re interviewing them, make sure you understand them and that you can see all the—because partially what you’re looking for is understanding the way they think. Ask them questions like, “Tell me about a time you had to deal with a big set of data and you had to synthesize it down to a recommendation or an observation.” Then mostly pay attention to the way they thought the problem through, okay?

So there’s some other things you might want to look at here. You want people who are really comfortable with Excel. If they’re starting to on their own, which a lot of people do because maybe they don’t have classes for it in their universities, start learning Python and R, and then you want to make sure you keep those people because you’re going to invest a lot as a business into them to learn marketing, to understand how they can really take their talents and have them deliver for your clients.

So, make sure you do what it takes to retain them. These people like good problems to chew on. Make sure you give those to them.