Big Data Scientists - How to Hire the Perfect Fit for Your Company

By Molly Owens

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Big Data Scientists - How to Hire the Perfect Fit for Your Company

Big Data Scientists are quickly becoming number one on many companies’ wish lists. According to 2012 projections by Gartner, 4.4 million jobs will be centered around big data by 2015. As a hiring manager, that means you will likely be looking for either your first or your next big data scientist.

Finding the right fit for any position, at your company, requires an understanding of what personality types succeed in any given position and your big data scientist search is no different. This understanding will be especially important, considering recent research by SAS that suggests that big data scientists are “exhibiting high levels of work-related stress” due to being out of their personality comfort zones. SAS found that over 50 percent of the 600 big data scientists they studied admitted to either mild or high levels of stress in the workplace.

Considering that a mismatched or “bad” hire can cost your company nearly $50,000, it is imperative that you understand what makes a big data scientist tick before you begin your data mastermind search.


The Big Five and big data scientists

While there is no “must-have” personality type for any position, there are personality traits that make a candidate more likely to succeed, especially in big data positions. Both the Big Five personality traits and Briggs Myers personality typing offer hiring managers a glimpse into what make big data scientists tick.

The “Big Five” - extraversion, openness, agreeableness, conscientiousness and neuroticism - are a set of characteristics psychologists use to describe personality. These traits can be used to determine how a candidate will fit into your data team. Big data scientists tend to be more introverted, open and conscientious than candidates in other fields. They use alone time as a way to focus their minds and are thorough, organized and insightful.

As you interview candidates, look for opportunities to test how well they organize information and their ability to see the big picture. Because big data scientists are often more introverted, do not be dissuaded if candidates are slow to open up. Instead, use the opportunity to determine if the candidates are comfortable reaching outside their comfort zones. This will help you understand how each candidate will fit into your team and whether or not they will succeed.


INTJ, big data masterminds

The Briggs Myers system of personality typing provides another useful framework for hiring managers. This system looks at four facets of personality, what can be thought of as Energy Style (Introversion/Extraversion), Thinking Style (Sensors/Intuitives), Values Style (Thinkers/Feelers) and Life Style (Judgers/Perceivers) to measure how people make decisions and view the world. People are designated as one of 16 types based on their preferences for each style, which can provide hiring managers with insight into a candidate’s likelihood for success.

Big Data scientists need to be logical and analytical in order to succeed. In practice, many tend to be what Briggs Myers calls INTJs (Introversion, Intuition, Thinking, Judging). INTJs process information abstractly, aggregating data from various sources (past and present) to make decisions about the present and future. They value logical reasoning and objectivity, focusing more on hard facts to back up opinions than emotional pleas. Finally, they look for structure in the workplace and tend to focus on their work and their ideas, which makes them vocal about their opinions.

Understanding the personalities of your big data mastermind candidates will help you more efficiently match the needs of your organization to your next big data hire.


Finding the right fit for your organization

Even though INTJs appear to be a perfect fit as big data scientists, remember that each organization is different. Maybe you need a a big data scientist who is comfortable with pitching new ideas to management and/or leading a team? If so, an extraverted ENTJ could be your best bet. By determining which personality traits will fit the roles you are looking for, you are saving your organization money and your next hire stress.

In the end, your organization’s needs should drive your data mastermind search. Take the time to determine what roles your big data scientist will play in your organization and look for candidates with the traits that will help them succeed and your company prosper.


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