If you’re struggling to attract the data scientists your organisation really needs, it could be time to look at your hiring criteria from a slightly different angle.

It’s easy to get hung up on qualifications or strictly technical knowledge when recruiting data scientists. While these are undoubtedly important, limiting your search to these criteria alone could mean you’re missing out on some brilliant thinkers and creative problem solvers.

With this in mind, here’s some food for thought on what makes an exceptional data scientist…

Critical thinking

The ideal data scientist is able to avoid forming judgements and suspend belief before analysing the cold, hard facts. They are able to focus on what is central to the problem and ignore everything else (unless it’s a relevant factor).

Exceptional communication

Many employers focus on technical skills such as coding during recruitment, but completely miss out communication. But it’s absolutely vital in this role, as a data scientist has to take very complex analysis and deliver it to stakeholders in a way they can understand. They need to be explicit and detailed at the same time and demonstrate how information can be practically applied.

Problem solving

Great data scientists not only need to ask the right questions and dedicate their efforts to finding solutions. They also need to have an in-depth understanding of the problem in the first place, as well as the ability to stay ahead of the curve in research in order to anticipate future problems. The right data scientist for your organisation is one passionate about finding the best fit in terms of the solution. They don’t obsess over finding the ‘perfect’ solution, which can be a real hindrance when it comes to bringing projects in on time.

Is your offer strong enough?

If you’re facing a skills shortage in data science, it may not be the quality of the candidates or the criteria you hire on that’s the issue. It’s worth looking inwards, to see how attractive your offer is to all candidates, not just data scientists.

According to experts speaking to CIO.com, people who are attracted to careers in data science tend to be those that value benefits other than remuneration. This not only means they take great satisfaction in their work, but are attracted to environments where they can learn, flex their creative muscles and be part of an organisation with an ethos that matches their own. So, if your organisation can’t compete with bigger players in the market in terms of salary, there’s still plenty you can offer in terms of job satisfaction and other benefits.

There’s also your strategy to consider, both in terms of recruitment and how you manage data within the organisation. The most in-demand data scientists will have their pick of companies, and are likely to prioritise those with a clear strategy and vision for making the most of data. They don’t want to be drafted in to sort out an existing disorganised system, which would be a waste of their talents.

You don’t have to face up to recruitment challenges alone. If you’re on the hunt for exceptional data scientists, get in touch with Expand Executive Search to find out more about our revolutionary Connect, Commit and Complete services.