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The Care and Feeding of Data Scientists by Katie Malone, Michelangelo D'Agostino

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Chapter 3. Interview with the Data Scientist

Your recruiting strategy has finally paid off! You’ve hooked that candidate—the one you’ve been trawling for and piqued their interest. How do you reel them in?

It all starts with the interview, and the interview starts before your candidate even applies: it starts when they read your job posting. A well-written job posting convinces candidates that you and your company actually get what data science is all about and have realistic expectations for the role. We all know that the best data scientists wear many hats, but writing a concise job posting that emphasizes the most important things and foregoes an overly long list of “nice to have” requirements shows that you know what you’re looking for and helps the right candidates apply to your role with confidence.

Begin by having an honest conversation with your team—and with yourself—about which skills are really essential for someone to have right off the bat versus those that they can pick up after they join the team; unicorns are great, but they also don’t exist. And, importantly, research has shown that women and minorities are less likely to apply for a job when they don’t meet every single qualification that you list, so be careful not to scare away diverse candidates with a needless laundry list.

A handy framework for organizing your thoughts is to classify what you want in terms of knowledge, skills, and dispositions. Knowledge is, in a sense, book learning—familiarity with machine ...

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