Unlike some technology trends, ‘Big Data’ is here to stay. It’s a deeply ingrained and always evolving information resource that lets companies bring structure and business sense to disparate data points.

It has become critical for companies to translate these different data points and use them as a roadmap for their business strategy. Given this imperative, data scientists or people who can decipher these numbers are the new high priests of the business world. And recruiting these high priests can be trying for some companies.

One of the key challenges for them is they have never hired data scientists before and therefore, don’t know where to look. Or more specifically, they don’t know what to look for in their new hires.

The good news is that these obstacles are not insurmountable, if you’re prepared to put in the time and effort to find these professionals who have such a valuable and in-demand skill set.

The not-so-good news is that data scientists know they are hot stuff in the job market and can afford to be selective about their offers. Typically, they are already in very good jobs and know future opportunities are a matter of when, and not if.

Having said that, it is important for companies on the hunt to remember to cast a wide net to hire these data scientists.

Here Are My Top 4 Tips On Where To Find The Elusive Data Scientist:
• In my multi-channeled approach, I scout data scientists at technology and business analytics conferences.
• I join and participate in a wide variety of user groups and message boards that cover big data.
• I am a heavy LinkedIn user, always looking for people who share the skill sets necessary to succeed in analytics.
• And knowing that Millennials and their younger counterparts are ripe for careers in technology and big data, I work closely with students and placement professionals in colleges and universities who offer analytics-related programs.

Given this multi-pronged effort, you should see results. And when you do find an interested candidate, here are my tips on how to make your company irresistible to any data scientist:

1. Be Flexible: One of the critical factors for snagging Millennials is to allow them workplace flexibility. Allow telecommuting, when and how they work, and managerial discretion.

2. Deliver The Right Tools: Invest in the tools that data scientists require to succeed, such as Hadoop, Dbase, Hive, and other in-demand analytics tools. Gain their input in selecting technology partners and tools—they’re the ones being asked to deliver on them.

3. Encourage Connections: While meeting with and presenting to senior management is an important element of the job, data scientists seek the company of their peers. Conferences, workshops, webinars, and seminars all provide the cultural interaction that keeps them engaged and innovative.

4. Challenge the Mind: The more interesting your challenges, the more intriguing the opportunity. Candidates and new hires need to hear your most pressing business needs. But once you articulate your objectives, give them wide latitude and let their natural curiosity help you realize your goals together.

5. See Through Your Customer’s Eyes: While money is important, the ability to connect with clients or consumers is an even more powerful motivation. Enable your data scientists to see the world through your audiences’ eyes and reap the benefits of this empowering perspective.

What are your tips for finding and hiring great data scientists? Drop us a line in the comments section below.

In my next blog post: ’I Hate Math! Can I be A Data Scientist?’ (And other such questions, answered.)

For an in-depth look at how to find and hire great data scientists, download my white paper here.