Business analysts provide a deep understanding of businesses and specific industries, which is critical in the fast moving tech world. It’s also no secret that great analysts are tough to find. Part of the challenge stems from a tech talent shortage impacting the world’s most innovative companies. According to a recent study from LinkedIn, only a small portion of candidates consider themselves to be “actively” looking for a job — which means that employers need to conduct significant outreach to connect with top talent. The fact that candidates need more than technical skills to succeed (they need to be influencers and data storytellers too) only adds to the challenge.
As you can imagine, finding a candidate that possesses this unique combination of skill sets is like finding a unicorn. Therefore, the approach to finding talent needs to be creative. Here are a few strategies to consider to recruit business analysts:
1) Recruit Candidates with Non-Traditional Degrees
However, there are other degree programs that empower students with similar skills. Today, many social science programs are becoming increasingly quantitative. The Demographic and Social Analysis (DASA) master’s program at the University of California at Irvine, for instance, focuses heavily on coursework in regression analysis, information systems and quantitative research design. DASA students are prime candidates to become business analysts, because they learn to work with data in a variety of settings.
With the right training, a candidate from a non-traditional background may be the perfect fit for your IT or analytics team.
2) Ensure Your Candidates are Lifelong Learners
When hiring new team members, many companies seek candidates with specific technical skills. Finding this specialized experience is tricky, because different companies work with different systems. There is always a learning curve associated with new organizations, technologies and roles.
That’s why it’s important for recruiters and hiring managers to seek candidates who love to learn and aren’t scared of unforeseen challenges. It’s this ambition and tenacity that will help new business analysts succeed.
When hiring managers screen primarily for aptitude rather than skills, their jobs become easier. It’s often more beneficial to find skilled candidates who are ambitious and willing to learn than job seekers with perfect experience pedigrees.
Look for candidates with tangential, rather than direct, experience. These individuals could be marketing managers, accountants and marketing automation specialists who would be equally successful in a more technical role.
3) Focus on Potential
Potential trumps experience, and one way to find potential laden candidates is to look for communities that attract passionate people. These communities include classes through peer-to-peer education organizations like General Assembly, online learning platforms like Udemy and GitHub, and local Meetup groups. You can also connect with students who are taking free online classes through tools like Udemy and Coursera. These information-hungry learners will have the fire and troubleshooting grit to learn the skills they need to plan strategies and execute quickly.
Potential candidates could also be internal employees who already have a thorough understanding of your business, or even outside candidates with slightly askew experience but strong industry knowledge. Additionally, consider those who have traveled and experienced other cultures. These outside-the-job-description personal traits can be indicative of a team player and proficient business analyst.