You can do worse than focus on those looking to rise

How can you recruit leading Data Talent faster and more effectively than your competitors? Well, there are many ways and schools of thought regarding it, but one of the major factors, and it is one that many companies talk about but rarely back up with action, is hiring exciting talent by assessing the talent’s potential.

Recruiting in this way is initially difficult if you lack experience in it, and it is understandable why you would lack experience in it, as it is very much a ‘chicken and the egg’ situation: how can you start doing this, if you haven’t started doing it. In short, how can you prove it works, without taking the risk in the first place?

Recent research has highlighted that companies still favour academic excellence over potential, with over half of businesses polled stating they were looking for prospects with the skills already in place. Seeking the ‘ready-made’ candidates ignores potential. It ignores those who can and will get there.

Using the academic angles can exclude those outside of the highest socio-economic classes and those looking to move further up the career ladder. Cognitive ability is also an area that can trip businesses up, as that only works when the individual is measured against specific roles plus it is not always an indicator of success, just of measurability.

Intelligence is not intelligence. It is also made up of many factors, such as reason, verbal skills and memory, amongst others, so unless you are unleashing a whole suite of tests on a candidate, the confidence you have in ‘cognitive ability’ is not the answer to your problems.

You should never discount candidates for their lack of experience, but rather, grow your business with those who have the right mindset, enthusiasm and foundations. The reward for giving them the commercial exposure is that you are on at the ground-floor with a candidate that others may have discounted for the same reasons you originally did. Google took this approach when building their teams and have reaped the rewards since.

Recruitment processes that you have in place must take into account the whole gamut of behaviours the prospects can exhibit. Potential is major and goes hand-in-hand with values, soft skills and hard skills.

Many more companies are now working with Data which is creating a massive skill shortage in the marketplace for top tier candidates. By having the foresight and employing the skills to find the best of those at the early part of their career, you give them the opportunity to grow with the company. Yes, it is easier on paper to employ the candidates that everyone else is looking for but you will avoid the fight for the ‘unicorn’ candidates and the rewards in terms of saved time and saved money should not be ignored.

There are also a number of candidates from different technology backgrounds who have subsequently moved into typically Data Science focused roles. Whilst some of these individuals may be very good, a large portion of these do not have the core fundamentals to deliver cutting-edge Data Science related projects.

Gaining online certifications in Machine Learning without having the strength or qualifications or working experience of, say, Data Science, Statistical Modelling, Python etc. leaves you with candidates who, on paper, seem well-matched to the role but will reveal knowledge gaps once hired.

As the job market becomes more and more candidate-driven, and specialised candidates become harder and harder to find, and once found, harder to tempt to your company, you must engage a specialist recruitment partner who has the experience and knowledge to find the hidden gem candidates who are not yet on the market, and that includes the fully-formed and the ones with the right potential. You must be open to the possibilities for the future, if growth is your goal.

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