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Business Intelligence Careers

The Best Advice from Analytics Recruiters

10 min readView all articles
By John Pauler
Jun 9, 2020

As we continue to interact with more and more students, it has been really great to learn about the different areas where people are looking for help. A few major themes are starting to emerge. One of those themes is students asking for help with more than just the technical skills an Analyst needs. We are hearing a lot from folks who want more career guidance, and especially more advice on navigating the early stages of the Analyst’s journey.

Good news… we can help!

This is really important stuff, and the entire Maven team is excited to start creating more content designed to help you get answers to these types of career questions.

Today we’ll go deep on one specific question that has been coming up…

Is networking with Recruiters worth the effort?

I’ll answer this question with the early career Analyst in mind, but a lot of what we discuss applies to everyone.

We’ll also share some of the best advice we’ve heard for young Analysts, from Recruiters who focus largely on Business Intelligence and Analytics roles.

There’s a lot to cover, so strap in!

What does working with a Recruiter look like?

You’ll meet them(probably virtually), talk about your skills and career ambitions, and then they’ll either share some current job openings or keep their eye out for positions you might be interested in. When they bring you an opportunity you are excited about, they will introduce you to the hiring manager. They will also advocate on your behalf, selling the employer on why they think you are a great fit for the role. Think of the Recruiter as another person in your corner helping you secure the next opportunity.

How much does it cost to work with a Recruiter?

It’s free! At least in the US, employers typically pay the Recruiter’s fee. So candidates take advantage of the services they provide entirely free of charge. To the candidate, the total downside risk here is the 15-30 minute chat they’ll have with the Recruiter. That’s the only thing it “costs”. Imagine if that 15-30 minutes leads to your dream job!

When is it a good time to talk to a Recruiter?

The most important answer is “before you need one”. It never hurts to open doors for yourself, and you have no obligation to walk through them until you are ready.

What if you are happy in your role, and not looking to move? How about if your company is doing well and you’re feeling very secure? What if you love your boss?

You should still be networking as much as you can.

At some point, something will change. The perfect boss might leave. The company could fall on hard times. You may get bored because you’re not learning anymore. Something will change.

You don’t want to wait until you’re frustrated with a job and want out quickly to start having conversations. That’s not a good position to be in. Finding opportunities takes time, and you never want to feel desperate. You want to feel strong, and opportunistic. It’s much better to field conversations regularly, while you’re still happy. Sell as many people as you can on how great you are. Open those doors. Do it now. One day you’ll need a change, and you’ll be happy to have a network and some options ready to go in short order.

Recruiters sound great. Where is the catch?

There really isn’t one. Recruiters offer their services to you for free, your time commitment is minimal, and they can be great advocates for you finding that next great role.

Any tips? Anything I should look out for when working with a Recruiter?

My one big piece of advice here is to look for Recruiters who specialize in your field, and stay away from more “generic” Recruiters.

There are plenty of Recruiters that specialize in Analytics and Business Intelligence, Data Science, or maybe slightly more broadly in recruiting for tech companies or eCommerce shops, or Marketing (or whatever other industry you want to be in). These are the ones that you should be talking to. They specialize in what you do, and they have very deep networks within their fields, so they can set you up with some great opportunities.

Stay narrow here. Stick to your field. The more focused, the better.

Clearly, I’m bullish on Analysts leveraging the help of Recruiters. I think it’s great. There is almost no downside. I’ve done it a lot in my career, and am grateful I did.

We have reached out to a number of our favorite Recruiters and asked them to give some career advice to Analytics professionals and aspiring Analysts. The tips they came back to us with are amazing, and turned out to be way too much content for a single post. So we’re going to turn this into a series of articles we’ll put out in the near future.

Introducing our Recruiter panel

  1. Each of these people is at the top of their game. They are Founders, CEOs, Partners, Managing Directors, VPs. We brought you the best!

  2. They have a TON of experience. The MINIMUM experience in Recruiting for this panel is 15 years. The Max. 30 years! These people know the deal. Listen to them.

  3. They all specialize. Remember when we talked about focus being your friend? These are niche players. That means they have deep expertise and a vast network in a specific area. This is the type of Recruiter you want to connect with.

  4. I recommend each one of these people and stand behind that recommendation. They are great Recruiters. If you’re looking to make connections in their field, these are great people to talk to.

We interviewed these Recruiters and the advice we heard from them was extremely valuable. At some point, I think we’ll need to do a deep dive into each one of these excellent Recruiters. Today, we’ll talk about their respective answers to one specific question…

If you could only give one piece of career advice to a young Analyst, what would your best advice be?

The answers from some of our favorite Recruiters will be shared here in no particular order. They all offer some great tips!

Tim Walsh is a Partner at MICA Consulting Group, where Marketing Analyst positions are a major area of focus. I have known Tim for over 10 years, and he has been a great line to opportunities throughout. I’m also a huge fan of his advice to young Analysts…

Seek out roles with companies whose product, service and/or mission genuinely interest you. Just as importantly, ensure there is a strong mentor (or mentors) present in your early-career positions. View the first five years of your career as the time to master as many technical skills as possible; this will position you for success in the next stage of your career.

Larry Kahn is Vice President at New Dimensions in Technology, which focuses on placing technical talent and technical business people, and they work with candidates from junior levels all the way up to executives. His advice to stay technical really resonates with me...

Always keep your technical skills modern and sharp. Become a life-long learner. Avoid moving away from being technical even as you advance in your career and take on other responsibilities. Professionals who keep themselves abreast of modern technologies tend to be able to find jobs much more easily even in an economic downturn.

Jamie Bernard is the Managing Consultant at Intellec, a niche technology recruiting firm specializing in Data Science. In terms of the Maven core audience, her focus could not be more spot on. She gives great advice about going beyond the technical, to understand and influence the business...

In addition to analytic expertise, I think that it is equally important to understand how these skills make an impact on the business. Telling a story with data is an important skill set to have and differentiates you from others.

Dan Foley is the Founder and CEO of Curate Partners, which specializes in serving organizations seeking digital transformation and technology innovation. A major component of their business is Data and Analytics roles, and they also handle Product Management and User Experience, which is great for those in our audience who consider themselves “quant business people” rather than pure play Analysts. Dan has a ton of experience, and offers some great advice about how to use trends to navigate opportunities…

Follow where money is being invested. Right now, the future is in Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning. All companies will be exploring ways to engage in these paradigm shifts. If this is in your toolbox, you will have multiple opportunities for work.

Scott White is a Senior Vice President at HireMinds, which focuses on Marketing, Digital, and Communications searches, largely in the Boston area. They work with candidates with a wide range of experience. If you’re looking for work in the Boston area, HireMinds is very well connected, and Scott is a great person to know. He offers this advice on interviewing…

There are loads of articles on the web and scores of specific questions you are likely to be asked. Study them and be prepared. More importantly, make a genuine connection with the people with whom you are interviewing. Yes, companies will hire people with the best skills but if they have two people who are equally smart with the right skills for the job, they will pick the person they like the most and who will add something special to their culture.

Next up, we have Howard Fishman, Managing Director at Analytic Recruiting. As the name suggests, his firm is very focused in Analytics, and recruits for a wide range of roles including (but not limited to) business intelligence analysts, data scientists, data engineers, and operations research folks, etc. They operate across the entire US. Howard is a great connection. In the past when friends have been laid off and have reached out for guidance, Howard is often the first person I turn to looking for roles to help them get back on their feet. It feels very fitting that he offers some great advice for the tough situation a lot of people are in right now...

The current climate is challenging right now to the COVID-19 pandemic BUT the market will rebound and the demand for people with data analytics skills will continue to grow. So don't be discouraged. Continue to invest in your quantitative skills set and continue to reach out and network with prospective employers and recruiters like me.

David Honig is the Founder and President of MarketSearch. He focuses on Marketing roles, where ability to work with data is often a core competency. For folks who consider themselves (or want to become) “Quant Marketers”, like me, David is a great guy to know. His firm works with experienced candidates (at least 3 years of relevant experience) who can hit the ground running as immediate contributors. I love his advice about staying current, which is great for young Analysts and also very much applies to those of us who have been in the game longer…

The best advice for a young Analyst I could give is to keep current with the tools and what’s being used in the marketplace for measurement. Technology, especially in everything A.I. driven will not look the same within the next 5 years, if not even sooner, then it looks like now. Do not get comfortable, no matter how experienced and at an expert level you think you are. Stay current and stay invested in your tools learning.

Last but not least we have some fantastic advice from Robin Anthony, Vice President & Senior Recruiter at MLB Associates. Robin’s firm specializes in recruiting Direct Marketing professionals. As anyone who knows me is aware, I think Analytics folks make the best Direct Marketers. We just have an unfair advantage that non-quants can’t compete with. If you’re a Quant Marketer, or an Analyst looking to make the switch, Robin is a great choice to connect with. I saved her advice for last, because I think it is really important, so it’s the last thing I want you to hear. These are fantastic tips on avoiding becoming (or staying) a back-room Analyst...

Be a bridge! Sitting in the back room crunching numbers or in a corner office looking out the window envisioning a beautiful brand isn’t as fulfilling as being able to work with data AND help drive solutions. Be a coder AND know how to explain things to a creative. Be the glue. You’re already curious, that’s why you love to use numbers to give you a meaningful answer. Be that person in your company – it’s a super valuable person to be! Don’t allow yourself to be isolated from the business, because if you are, your data and analyses are meaningless. Ad hoc is okay sometimes, but don’t allow yourself to get stuck doing non-ROI delivering projects.

If you made it this far, bravo. I hope you found this all useful. I certainly loved hearing this fantastic advice from a group of people I respect a great deal. May this advice serve you well as you continue to pursue a career in this extremely rich and rewarding field we have chosen.

Trying my best to sum up the things you should take away from all this...

Find a role you can be genuinely passionate about. Become a life-long learner and never stop developing your technical skills. Stay current on trends and try to anticipate where things are headed. Never settle for being a “back room Analyst” with a low ceiling. Use your data skills to become an advocate for the business, and learn to rally people around the insights you are finding.

If things seem hard for you in the current environment, they will get better. Stick with it. Getting the first job is the hardest. The second one is easier. By the third, you’re beating off employers with a stick and having a blast getting to choose the most fun and challenging problems.

You’ve picked a great path. Use this advice to help you make the most of it.

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John Pauler

John brings over 15 years of business intelligence experience to the Maven team, having worked with companies ranging from Fortune 500 to early stage startups. As a MySQL expert, he has played leadership roles across analytics, marketing, SaaS and product teams.

John brings over 15 years of business intelligence experience to the Maven team, having worked with companies ranging from Fortune 500 to early stage startups. As a MySQL expert, he has played leadership roles across analytics, marketing, SaaS and product teams.

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