Why Are Data Professionals Leaving Your Business?

Data professionals who do not feel valued will look for an exit

What are the desirable aspects about Data jobs? Well, in short, they are classed as some of the best paid and ‘sexiest’ jobs going around. Working alongside equally skilled colleagues and the chance to show off expertise are also pretty cool too. So why would they be keen to exit your business?

It is a little surprising that a good percentage of data professionals spend hours per week actively looking for a new job – 13.2% to be precise, according to Stack Overflow. Machine learning specialists are slightly higher on the list. As we reported in a previous blogpost, a lot of these skilled individuals are also passively looking for another role and will wait to be approached by recruiters.

The sad fact is that there are lots of companies who are doing Data and AI because it’s the hip thing to do. Now we are not saying that using data to improve your business is the wrong thing to do if you are unsure of how to go about it. We are also not saying that the businesses that are doing it because it is ‘hip’ would have no use for data within their business. What we are saying is that these companies start off with the wrong intentions. Having bragging rights over a competitor is not a great place to start from. Understanding must come before infrastructure.

Data experts may join a company due to false promises. Perhaps they came in expecting the infrastructure to be there but find that they themselves have been tasked with actually creating that infrastructure. Companies can be guilty of ‘cold starting’, which basically means that they have nothing in place when their new hires come in. Add to that that the hires are often junior, taken on before senior roles are filled, and you can just imagine the resentment that may build and the inevitable result of data experts looking elsewhere.

They can also become disenfranchised with the lack of opportunity to make a difference to the company they have been hired by. Imagining hitting the ground running and then suddenly hitting a brick wall where the reality is that they have to do hours of thankless and misunderstood tasks in order to even dream of beginning the project they were excited to start, can be dispiriting.

Database, analytics, you name it, it may be required of a data expert to wear many hats, including ones they are not confident to wear, do not desire to wear or were not hired to wear. Because it is little understood, data can mean many things to management and if they need something doing within that realm, they will call the data expert, pulling them away from their important project. The requirement to please higher-ups with tasks that are not within their remit, is one more reason that those data experts will be sending their resumes out speculatively.

Office politics can take their toll on data experts who simply wish to show their abilities and make a difference. If those who have power over the team or departmental budgets do not see quick results or do not understand the processes involved, life can become difficult for data teams. This can require pointless reports being produced for the purpose of vanity. It is all about perception and keeping the right people onside becomes paramount yet this ultimately drains time and effort and can lead data professionals to look to the door.

Whether it is office politics, misunderstandings or perhaps the fact that the data team feels isolated from the rest of the company, one thing is clear here: it does not have to be this way. It is hard to find and attract a great data professional to a company in the first place, so they, and their discipline, should be respected. A specialist data recruiter should act like a broker, working hard on the company’s behalf to ensure that things match up between expectation and reality. There needs to be mediation between a client, who expect certain things in terms of data results, and a candidate, who can achieve different things. Understanding and helping create a fully-functioning team within the body of the business is a skill that comes from experience and it is definitely something you should consider if the future of your business depends on data.

Curious about how Zenshin Talent can help your organisation? Contact us today for a no-strings conversation about your needs and our experience.

Do You Really Need Data In Your Business?

Data can be confusing to businesses that do not feel they need it

Whilst more and more businesses are unfreezing their Data projects and hiring teams, other companies remain stuck in their ways and are still denying their need to prioritise data within their business. Who is doing this and what are the long-term impacts it will have on them?

It may seem really obvious but those from the old school who prefer tangible products are usually the ones holding back from taking the leap into a datacentric future. That is the case, even though a recent Deloitte survey found that 49% of those surveyed boasted that data helped them make better business decisions. It is clear that if you are on the outside, you do not know what a difference it makes. The Bank of England surveyed banks and found that while around 50% predicted increases in Machine Learning and Data Science in operations in the future, just one third had DS or ML projects planned. It just does not make business sense.

Data’s role in the modern business is to help those leading the business to make informed decisions not so much based on gut instinct or guesswork but based on statistics or facts. We concede that someone thinking for the first time about how data can improve their profits may get a headache and may back away from the decision, unsure about which direction to take and fearful of wasting resources on it. Strategy is important and taking the wrong route is as foolish as not starting in the first place. How does one cut through the nonsense and begin building their datacentric future?

Firstly, it is understandable that a business with limited cash should hold off. This is wise, but ‘holding off’ does not mean ‘doing nothing’. These companies should be researching, seeking advice and contacting those with expertise in the field of building Data teams. There is a belief out there that small and medium businesses would not benefit from data but this simply is not true. Used correctly, these types of companies can use data to find new customers, increase retention, anticipate trends and manage social media better.

Those who do have the means to invest, should make inroads to do so as soon as possible. Data used in this way is unlikely to be a short-term proposition and, when in place, it will weave within your business, becoming an integral part, aiding in smoother running and growth into the future. The investment amount may seem scary but when the long-term investment may mean the future of your business, the reasoning becomes more obvious. The problem is that companies have yet to reach the point where they understand that their competitors possess the foresight they do not.

The big question is: “At what point do you wake up and ask if this is really ‘critical’ to your business?” Is it now or is it when it is too late? Would you treat any other part of your business the same way that you treat data? Imagine your competition starts outselling you. You find out that they are using data science to sift through their customer information and it has helped them predict sales trends in a way that you could not. At this point, you choose to invest, out of desperation. You spend the money and take months frantically trying to hire the correct team. Finally, the project comes online and you feel you are now on a level playing field with your competitor. The thing you did not anticipate was that in those months you were taking to get to their level, they had another project, which is ready to roll out tomorrow. You are now in a constant game of ‘catch-up’.

The point we are making is that if you are in a position to take data seriously, do it. Waiting around and being afraid are not going to benefit your business in the long-run. Expertise is out there if you need it. We understand that getting those first candidates is daunting but the first step is asking for help and then taking steps to build a team, build a partnership and build your future.

Curious about how Zenshin Talent can help your organisation? Contact us today for a no-strings conversation about your needs and our experience.

Why Use A Recruitment Agency?

Recruiters and companies are working smarter together

Recruitment is an industry that has been constantly growing for many years and there are around 75,000 companies in Europe alone. Companies that hire recruiters seem to encounter the same bugbears time and again (Not cost effective, inefficient, lacking the expertise for the sector, etc) but throughout the Covid-19 crisis there has been a need for a change. Companies are scrutinising whether they really need to hire in an agency to recruit candidates.

There are a few reasons why they don’t make that leap. These include:

The best recruitment agencies do not just send out job ads onto online recruitment platforms, they nurture clients in order to find specific people for the job roles that are opening up. A company doing this on their own would spend so much time and money just getting started. Expert recruiters can even find those prime candidates who are not even on the job market yet.

Resources such as time and money are two major sticking points for another reason. Every internal team still needs to do its day-to-day work and having to keep hiring new recruits for growing teams can seriously eat into other important workloads.

When there is a talent shortage, recruitment must be fast and agile, changing quickly when the challenge changes. Some recruiters excel in this arena and have the experience to adapt to overcome different problems. Especially within a job market like that of Data & AI, the need for recruiters with a specific skillset makes perfect sense.

When a business finds its perfect match in recruitment, that can lead to a mutually beneficial relationship. Internal teams can underperform but must still be paid. A recruitment agency that matches your business in terms of vision and work ethic may cost more but will save the company money in the long-run as they are working solely on recruiting and must deliver results.

The industry seems to be moving away from a ‘finder’s fee’ model as it is not sustainable for many recruiters to chase after one opening with only one of them being victorious and the others working for no pay in the end, which can also lead to desperation and low quality candidate shortlists. The alternative to this is partnerships between companies who need recruitment and recruiters who are in a position to propose such an arrangement. This is especially true of recruiters with real expertise in certain sectors. They have the skills that are worth the money they make and can demand to be recruitment partners with companies in need of their expertise. Things like Exclusivity Clauses, Retainer Fees and payments made at each stage of the process are all common agreements.

The better recruitment agencies are breaking from the over-bloated and slow-moving recruitment companies as they know that they need flexibility in order to move and flow with the changing recruitment industry. With flexible working across the whole job market, this can aide recruiters when they are required to fulfil recruitment for large projects and scale-back for day-to-day operation. Long-term relationships and exclusivity build trust and causes a switch from the transactional to the partnership. These more intimate experiences translate to the search for candidates. These prospects are more likely to research the company online and find reviews from previous employees. Having recruitment experts involved can mitigate negativity from ill-suited workers and boost the confidence of those who are looking to work with the employer.

If you’d like to hear about our experiences of working closely in partnership with companies to hire the brightest and best for their teams, feel free to contact us via email and phone or check out our other blog posts.

Curious about how Zenshin Talent can help your organisation? Contact us today for a no-strings conversation about your needs and our experience.

Partnerships Are The Future of Data Recruitment

The future is bright for those engaging with recruiters correctly

If you have been struggling to recruit data talent, there will be a really obvious reason for that. The fact of the matter is that the roles that require data talent far outnumber the amount of top quality talent out there in the job market. So that is the problem, what is the solution?

When we started our company, the concept was to specialise in Data, AI and Machine Learning. We noticed a lack of specialism within recruitment and a need for companies to find prime candidates or build teams quickly. The problem with traditional recruitment companies is that they are too general in their approach. The reality is that businesses need a partner rather than an agency.

The marketplace has stalled due to the Covid-19 crisis but things have started to pick up. Businesses who mothballed their data projects are bringing them back online. With this surge in activity, comes a need for talent. Competition for these high-skilled individuals is becoming competitive. Ultra-competitive, in fact. Even in 2019, the Royal Society reported that the demand for data specialists had tripled within five years. Even though we do not have the hard data for 2021, anecdotally we at Zenshin can see the growth and it is becoming clear that companies are missing out on great talent because their strategy is out of touch with reality.

One reason for these recruitment failures is the fact that businesses are not partnered with recruitment experts but send out assignments to a glut of online recruiters. These recruiters follow a pattern which, certainly within Data & AI, is becoming out-dated. On the other hand, some recruiters, when they have a technologist on their books, will market them around to all the companies they can. Both of these styles are transactional processes. They are not partnerships.

The main problem is two-fold. The transactional nature of the relationship means that neither side cares much about the other apart from getting the result. Secondly, the way things are done is not time efficient. Having to wade through unsuitable candidates takes up a lot of time and resources because the initial search was inefficient and failed to zero in on prime candidates. This slows down the project the company is recruiting for and sometimes results in making an offer to a candidate who is not perfect for the role. If no offer is made, it means another round and more time and money down the drain.

A major reason that a company cannot find the perfect candidate for the job, and this is a thing that online recruiters miss, is that the perfect candidate may not be on the market yet. These candidates may be ‘passively’ looking but they are relatively happy where they are and nothing has pushed them to update their resume. This brings up two interesting points. Firstly, if there are still high-quality candidates on the job market openly applying for these sought-after roles via online recruiters, why have they not been snapped up yet? Is it that they are lacking some required skills? Secondly, is the reason that the qualified and passive candidates are not making the leap because they are scared to make a move because they are not confident about companies whose job ads display a lack of understanding of data? Perhaps they are used to transformational projects and have not been persuaded by a recruiter that a project geared up to do something seemingly more mundane like save money for a business is a great move for them.

Bearing these issues in mind, if you are seeking data experts and that search has not bore fruit yet, remember that the best way to find something is to task a specialised expert in finding it because they know where to look and the best relationship is a partnership so that both sides are equally invested in making the search a success.

Curious about how Zenshin Talent can help your organisation? Contact us today for a no-strings conversation about your needs and our experience.

Online Recruitment Sites Are Not As Helpful As They May Seem

For those looking to hire, there are many drawbacks with online recruitment

We caught up with a management partner recently and after an interesting chat, we thought it may be a good idea to address the realities of using online platforms for recruitment.

There is a misconception that using online recruitment platforms takes the hassle out of finding new employees. It can actually consume more time and resources than hiring a specialist recruiter.

Let’s use an example of an online job ad that draws in 1500 candidates. Some draw in less and some draw in more but we will use an example like this because, we have noticed due to Covid-19 furloughing and businesses folding, there are more active job seekers in the market. These would probably be whittled down to 8 candidates to take through to the next interview stage.

To whittle those 1500 down, you will require someone to dedicate their time. An HR Manager on their own probably couldn’t get through it in a timely fashion whilst also fulfilling their other duties so they would probably need an assistant to help. This is already costing the company time and money. These services are not cheap either. Obviously, prices vary but for those fees you would expect to be provided with some kind of admin to help you sift through the applications.

How do you know you are getting the best and not missing out? Well, you don’t. Sometimes a candidate will apply to a job without reading the job ad and isn’t actually interested in the job when they find out more information. If this type of candidate is removed from the equation, it will save the company some resources.

Some of these sites work primarily for social networking with added job search functions so they do not help you build trust with prospects. They do not help persuade a candidate. They do not help you highlight the perks of working for the company without having to oversell.

According to Glassdoor, 35% of those in full employment would switch jobs without the need of a pay rise, so you are actually missing out on great prospects who are not actively looking for a job yet.

It may be so obvious but good candidates are hired quickly. If you have 1500 applications and you are working through them as quickly as you can, even two people working full time will take around a week to finish this task. In times like these when there are quite a few job seekers and where companies are confidently seeking out the exact right candidate to fill the role, it is safe to say that they can get the exact candidate but only if they move quickly and decisively to capture them. Wait around and they will have been approached and signed up by another company. Those other 1499 candidates are standing in your way.

The spray and pray approach, where you are targeting a large group and hoping to find someone with the relevant skills, can work sometimes but, more often than not, it results in wasted resources and little result to show for them.

Sifting through that amount of candidates is just too impersonal. To move at pace and get through them all, each resume will only get a few seconds to make an impression before moving onto the next one. If someone’s CV is not great or has not been updated recently, they are on the rejection pile automatically. What is needed, and what this approach prohibits, is deeper research. Traditional recruiters still have those skills that are needed. They still search and research, they still communicate, they still talk on the phone and via video call. They can read between the lines when it comes to a CV or cover letter.

Junior candidates and graduates will often find jobs by other means, set alerts or go directly to company websites, so using the online recruitment services may be missing out on a huge demographic. At all points, opportunities are missed when using online recruitment sites. A company must weigh its options and work out whether it is really saving time and money that way.

Curious about how Zenshin Talent can help your organisation? Contact us today for a no-strings conversation about your needs and our experience.