Microlearning Video: 5 Traits to Look for When Hiring a Data Analyst - Calabrio

5 Traits to Look for When Hiring a Data Analyst

You don’t need to hire a PhD to effectively run an analytics program. Learn the five most important traits to look for when hiring a data analyst.

Watch the video below to learn more.



5 Traits to Look for When Hiring a Data Analyst

You see the value and have convinced your leaders (those that control the purse strings) of this value. Sweet! Let’s hire that data analyst and get started… wait you’ve never been a data analyst… and you’ve never managed a data analyst… let along hired one before. You can put together a job description without much depth to your analytics knowledge but what’s next? There are hundreds of people who would love to work in this role for your organization but will any of them be again good?

Well Calabrio to the rescue! We know a thing or two about analytics and would be happy to share some insights from our experts.

Skills a Data Analyst Needs

So what does it take to be a good data analyst? You’d be surprised it’s not often the person with the most experience or from the most prestigious university. Of course those things can help but there is a collection of five traits that might actually make the differences between success and failure.

1. Mindset: The first trait a data analyst needs is the right mindset:

  • Patient
    Insights come from a process that may take a while to show results or might even seem to move the needle backwards before showing growth, also they collaborate with other team – on their schedules, and handle resistance without direct power.
  • Inquisitive
    Analytics is problem solving. They have to be able to ask good questioner, recognition problems, formulate and test hypothesis and have an open mind.
  • Methodical
    Analytics requires a systematic approach. If someone not methodical, is instead reactive and undisciplined, then they will tend to overact to natural blimp in data instead of digging deeper to find the root cause of problems.
  • Passionate
    Analytics has long periods of independent work. You want someone that lives and breathes analytics and thus is self-driven to continue diving into the data and trying (and retrying) to solve problems.

2. Domain Knowledge

The second thing a data analyst needs is domain knowledge of math. Unless you are building your own analytics tools in house that doesn’t mean they need to have a PhD in mathematics. They really just need to understand and apply some elementary math concepts:

  • Spot trends and notice patterns in the data
  • Categorization information by sorting information it into meaningful categorizes
  • Understand correlation vs. cause/effect
  • Understand sample size and that small sample sizes have more variability and then larger ones
  • Frame decisions with data so people can understand the context of the what is being discussed

3. Communication

Data analysts also need to be good communicators. Generally, data analysts do not directly control large segments of an organization. Instead they must explain and convince the organization of the insights they have discovered. What is more valuable? Someone who is able find 10 actionable insights but is unable to influence any group to act on them or someone who finds one actionable insight and persuades the entire organization to work with this insight?

4. Visualization

Closely related to communication, a data analyst must have a strong sense visualization. They need to conveying information quickly and clearly using visuals. A great analytics tool can greatly assist in visualization but if the person creating the reports doesn’t understand visualization it won’t help much (or might actually make it worse).

5. Business Knowledge

The last thing a data analyst needs is business knowledge and here we’re talking business knowledge of YOUR business and YOUR industry. This aspect of a data analyst skill set is often forgotten but a data analyst needs to know the business so they know what hypothesis to pose, where to dig deeper, and how to adjust as more insights are discovered. It can be difficult to hire someone with substantial knowledge of your business so most of the times this means you either train someone from the outside up on your business or you promote someone from within.

Super Data Analyst

And there you have it: your super data analyst!
Patience, curious, methodical, and passionate, comfortable and competent in math, understands how to visualize data, is a good communicator, and understands your business!

For more tips on hiring a data analyst, managed consulting services for analytics, or just general forward-thinking use of technology, connect with us.

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