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November 9, 20222 min read

Finding a Data Scientist Who Is a Great Fit for Your Team

Data science and AI can have enormous returns for your organization, but to start seeing these benefits, or continue established programs, a strong team is crucial. Whether you’re just starting your team or adding to an existing one, there are a few key components to making a successful data scientist hire.


Academic experience is valuable because it typically demonstrates that an individual has the technical abilities to accomplish data science initiatives. An important consideration, however, is that your data scientists always stay focused on outcomes and business impact.

Data scientists with business experience understand that the operationalization of the found insights is where the true value lies, so we rate business experience higher than academic experience.

Hiring Tip: Ask your candidate to explain a solution they built or helped build from beginning to end. What was the problem? What were the technical steps in the solution? What business outcomes did they drive?  

Desire to Collaborate

Data science is often both a new department and competency, it is quite common for organizations to hire data scientists and keep them away from the rest of the team to work on a single, special project.

Keeping data scientists siloed discourages collaboration. You want to hire data scientists that are enthusiastic about collaborating with the rest of your team to drive outcomes for your organization.

Hiring Tip: Ask your candidate how they have collaborated with other departments or members of an analytics team in the past.

Training & Mentorship

Even before you hire a data scientist, you should have a plan in place for training once they join the team. If you already have a team of experienced data scientists, encouraging—or even formalizing—mentorship can be incredibly beneficial. Your data scientists will be able to get up and running faster as a result.

If you don’t have more experienced data scientists on your team, outsourcing a consultant for mentorship is a great option. Since you are focusing on business outcomes, consultants will help reinforce that key perspective.

Hiring Tip: Be ready to discuss continued training opportunities in an interview. Data scientists are detailed and thoughtful. The more concrete answers you can give about their path at your organization, the better.

Data scientists can bring tremendous benefits to your organization. By focusing on experience, desire for collaboration, and an ongoing plan for training, you’ll increase the likelihood of finding the best-fit data scientist to add to your team.

Now that you know how to hire a data scientist, are you wondering how you’ll keep those data scientists on your team? Download this guide for our tips on managing the full lifecycle of adding a data scientist to your team, from hiring through retention.



Tony Olson

I help companies make data-driven business decisions. I care about unbiased positive business outcomes through data initiatives. Whether it's through ML/AI or basic descriptive reporting, I believe the capability to execute data science initiatives gives companies a competitive edge and am passionate about helping companies build that capability.