How to Spot an Industry-Leading Big Data Candidate

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24 March 2015

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It’s no secret that big data professionals are in-demand. Companies are practically tripping over themselves to locate top analytics talent to manage, organize, and analyze the data they collect on their customers (and even their employees).  Unless you are a company like Google that has been dealing with big data for years, you may not know what to look for in candidates.

Use these tips to help you locate the right analytics team members for your big data positions:

  • Look for Open Source Participation (And Go There) – It’s frustrating, but true: most experienced, qualified big data pros are already employed. That means networking to connect with skilled talent. Typically, big data professionals immerse themselves in their field. They join open source communities to work on projects like Hadoop and NoSQL databases. Find these communities and get in front of them. Consider hosting happy hours and attending industry events to start connecting. Look for individuals who have made a name for themselves in the community and who younger professionals look up to and emulate.
  • Look for Graduates of Intensive Professional Programs – Unfortunately, many colleges and universities are behind the times when it comes to equipping graduates with the right skills to succeed in big data. While college degrees are essential, look for professionals who have taken it upon themselves to graduate from well-respected industry certification programs, such as Mu Sigma University.
  • Self-Starters are Often Self Taught – One trait of top big data talent is the ability to self start. Big data professionals who go the farthest in their careers know what they don’t know, and take it upon themselves to learn it. Ask candidates about a skill they taught themselves, just because they wanted to learn it. This can tell you a lot about their drive, professionalism, and even their work ethic.
  • Strong Educational Backgrounds – While experience helps and can’t be taught in the classroom, a high-level degree from a respected institution brings creditability. A Master’s or Ph.D. in a quantitative area of study forms a solid foundation for a high-level candidate.
  • Be Willing To Hire From Other Industries – The most desired candidates often bring industry knowledge and expertise as well as statistical and predictive modeling skills. But don’t be afraid to consider candidates from other industries. Some industries are more advanced in their use of data analytics, and acquiring this expertise can help your company.


Big data professionals are in extremely high demand, and there is a well-documented shortage of qualified professionals to fill open positions. If your enterprise is looking for talented data scientists and analysts to join your team, contact OnBoard Recruitment Advisers today. We specialize in analytics and data-related positions in a variety of fields, and we can connect you with talented individuals who will help you achieve your long-term goals.

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