Our Top Five Tips For Your Data Scientist Interview

Wesley Taupin our consultant managing the role
Posting date: 3/28/2019 11:38 AM
The role of Data Scientist is one of the most in-demand jobs in the tech world now. But, given that it is still a relatively new job, in a relatively new field, a lot of companies are still struggling to source enough quality candidates for their team.

Despite the demand, tech companies are very specific about the candidates they’d like to hire. Passing a Data Science interview can be very tricky, especially considering that businesses are looking for the right technical knowledge, business sense, and culture fit. 

With this in mind, here are five key tips for the Data Science interviewing process. By making sure you are prepared for the below, you’ll be able to ensure that you don’t sell yourself short.

Have A Concise Overview Of Your Project Experience


It’s imperative you prepare an overview of your successful Data Science projects. Hiring Managers aren’t interested in getting into every detail of your completed projects, but they do want to know that you have the right experience. Focus on key factors, highlighting the types of projects you’ve been working on and the successes you had as a result of those projects. Keep your achievements clear and concise.

Show Your Communication Skills


A good Data Scientist is more than just a good programmer. You need to be able to show that you can translate your findings into insights that can be understood by non-technical people in the business. During your interview, Hiring Managers may test your ability to step away from role-specific language. This is to asses whether you know how to engage with non-technical colleagues and parts of the business who may not understand the value of Data Science to the company.

Bring Out Your USPs


Companies will potentially be interviewing several candidates for a specific role, so it’s important that you are able to stand out. Consider what you have achieved that your fellow interviewees may not have. One good way to stand out is to have articles published on popular Data Science websites/blogs. From my experience, Hiring Managers see this as a big plus and it makes for a great talking point during the interview process. If you are looking to do this, you should always choose a unique topic and not something that is already explored a lot by others. On a similar note, you could highlight the Data Science projects you’ve achieved outside of work through platforms such as Kaggle.

Know Your Computer Science Fundamentals


Having a decent knowledge of Computer Science fundamentals, like algorithms is essential, especially if you are interviewing with tech companies. Whilst there are other elements to the role, you can expect questions related to programming, so for a Junior Data Scientist, I’d recommend practicing coding for a few days before your interview (if you are not doing this already in your day to day job).

Have An Understanding Of How You’ll Fit In At The Company


For some Tech companies, particularly start-ups, cultural fit is just as important, if not more so, than how good you are at coding. They’ll want to understand how you would react to different scenarios at work and whether or not you share the values of their company. For this reason, don’t be surprised to see a few team members join the interview as they look to see how you’ll fit in. Make sure you take a look at the company’s website, read their blogs and articles, and check their social media feeds in advance so that you have a good understanding of what the business is like. Remember, culture is a two-way fit so it’s about making sure the business is right for you, as much as it is right for them.

The interviewing process can be tricky but, at Harnham, our expert consultants are here to support you through the entire recruitment process. We will always make sure you are prepared for your interview and will run you though the topics you can expect to come up.

If you’re looking to take the next step in your Data & Analytics career, take a look at our latest opportunities or get in touch with one of our expert consultants to learn more. 

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With over 10 years experience working solely in the Data & Analytics sector our consultants are able to offer detailed insights into the industry.

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How To Hire With Video Interviews

Virtual interviewing may have erupted over the last few months but the trends are showing that this is something that is likely to last well beyond the remote reality that many people are facing. Virtual interviewing is not as easy as it seems, in fact we’ve found our clients asking us over and over again for advice on how to run an effective video interview process. With that in mind, we’ve compiled a list of some of our top tips for clients and hiring managers for a successful video interview:  1. DON’T FORGET THE PRE-INTERVIEW PREP Confirm: Just like you would confirm a face to face interview with an email with the right address, instruction of how to get there and what to expect – the same applies for virtual interviews. Ensure to email candidates in advance with a link, information about who they are meeting and, most importantly, what you expect from a dress code. One of candidates biggest areas of concern is usually about what to wear for a virtual interview, so setting this out clearly in an email is a great way to start the process off on the right foot.Do not forget to provide instructions for using the video conferencing platform. Whether it is zoom, skype, google hangouts or another – keep in mind the candidate may not be familiar with your platform of choice.  Test:  Make sure to log onto to the interview early to ensure your camera, microphone and set up works. Be sure to ensure that your image is clear and that the volume is adequate. It is likely that the candidate will do the same and will ensure that the first few minutes of the interview aren’t focused on the technical side of things and ‘can you hear/see me?’.  2. PROVIDE A CLEAR STRUCTURE Opening: A usual face to face interview provides opportunity for warming a candidate up, however this time there is no shaking of hands and asking about commute.Just because you are video interviewing does not mean therefore that icebreakers shouldn’t exist, consider still incorporating an icebreaker to put the candidate at ease.  Ease concerns: One of the biggest concerns that candidates have when video interviewing is that there is a lot more out of their control in comparison to sitting in a meeting room opposite your interviewer. To ease any worries that the candidate might have, and to create a great candidate experience, let them know that background noise is okay and not to panic if the connection drops out. It’s likely that the candidate will have done everything they can to stop both of these from occurring, but ultimately, they could happen and it’s important the candidate knows that this will not negatively affect their outcome.  Set the agenda: Once you are through the icebreaker and have eased concerns, make sure to set an agenda for the interview. Let the candidate know what to expect. For example, introduction, CV run through, competency questions, Q&A and end. End the interview the right way, finish up by telling the candidates about the next steps and the timescales that you expect for that.  3. PREPARE THE QUESTIONS IN ADVANCE Due to the nature of video interviews, you will find the experience quite different to what you were used to. Usually you would have the CV and question sheet in front of you on the table, or on a laptop and the candidate separate to that. This time, you will potentially have all of that information on one screen. Preparing for how to optimise your screen and information therefore is important so that you can focus more on the candidate.  Read up on the candidate: Complete your CV read through and background prior to the interview to ensure that you do not need to rely wholly on the CV to make sense of the candidate’s answers. Don’t try and wing it: Prepare your questions in advance, have the questions in front of you and use them to help you to keep the interview on track and ensure all your questions get answered.  4. BE AWARE THAT EYE CONTACT IS DIFFERENT One of the biggest issues that clients and candidates alike feedback to us is that the concept of eye contact when video interviewing has as slightly different meaning. Having real eye contact in a virtual interview is challenging, because it means that you are going to be looking at the camera and not at the candidate, which takes some adjusting to.  Top Tips: Train yourself to look at the camera when you are talking, as this will give the candidate more of that personal feeling.Avoid the temptation to gape at your image on the screen, or the candidate when  you are speaking. If possible, turn off your picture so that the only image that shows on the screen is that of the candidate – this avoids the very familiar desire to look at oneself.  5. AVOID DIGITAL DISTRACTIONS There’s only so much you can do to stop your child running into the room, or your partner forgetting you’re on an interview and heading to the fridge but you can control the digital interruptions. It is important that you give the candidate your full attention. If your entire process is virtual, these are the sole ways that the candidate has to judge whether this is the right opportunity for them – so remember that this is a key part of their experience. Turn off notifications: Interviewing on a computer means that you are more likely to be distracted by your emails, IM messages, we’d advise turning off your notifications for both emails and IMs and closing all unnecessary tabs. Turn your phone onto airplane mode or DND. Harnham are currently supporting our clients within the Data & Analytics space on running completely remote interview processes for candidates. If you're looking to hire we can help you optimise your process in order to get the best talent then get in touch with one of our expert consultants. 

How Web Analytics Can Help Grow Your Business

Six months ago, many businesses had big plans for the new year, and the new decade. Little did we know the year had big plans of its own. So, how can businesses put their best foot forward now? Web Analytics. Understanding your Web Analytics helps you understand your customers. And, as everything stays online for the foreseeable future, you’ll be better placed to understand what demographics and desires drove the customer to your site, how you and your business can improve, and you can ultimately grow your business. So, how can Web Analytics help you? Understand Where Your Customers Come From Enhance Their Experience. Consider how your visitors come to your site – phone, tablet, laptop – and how you can optimise your site to best suit these devices. When you understand their demographic – age, gender, interest, location – you can use this information to enhance their experience through your customer-driven business decisions.  Know What Your Best Content Is and How it Draws Visitors to Your Site Visitors, views, page actions, and more all tell your business how your site is performing and what people like see and read. For example, if you have a ‘best day’ or ‘most read’ tag, find out what it was people identified with, and do more of it. Keep things fresh. Curate Your Content with SEO in Mind When you know your visitors, you can use search engine optimisation (SEO) to gain better visibility, rank higher on search engines, create content focused on what customers want to know based on their demographics and interests. Track and Analyse Your Metrics Align Analytics with Your Business Strategy  By aligning your data, analytics, and business strategies, you’ll have a clear view of your mission, your business objectives and goals, and data-driven solutions to inform your business strategies. Trust Your Team to Make Informed Decisions from the Frontlines Standardise Processes and Tools Explain Clearly to Eliminate Roadblocks to Change  As businesses return to a new normal and begin to rebuild, leaders will want to reassess business models. Though ways of doing business are new for everyone, many consumers say they’ll continue to use digital channels into the future. Make AI and Web Analytics Resources a Priority Look For and Hire Talent from Unexpected Places This has been a time to reassess change in not only business practices, but careers. Distance and remote learning have provided opportunities for those interested in pursuing new paths to upskill themselves for future jobs. Or if you see a professional in your business with potential, this is also an ideal time to reskill those workers ready for a change. Offer training, classes, and more to help drive interest. Build Your Data Strategy More Aggressively Identify risk through an audit of your existing models at the operational, risk, and financial areas and keep a close eye using model-validation. Having this information can help your business to better inform your decisions and reassess your business practices from just a few years ago. Don’t get caught up in one form or another of Data. Be sure to include both external and internal Data in your audit. Having this information can help you decide which Data should be cleansed, what information should inform improvements, and how standardisation can help ensure your Web Analytics metrics keep your business running for the future. From stakeholders to business leaders to employees on the frontlines, everyone is learning at a rapid rate. Ensuring everyone is on the same page with an eye to processes and standardisation can help to position your business for scalability.  Much has changed from January to June, but if you’re ready for the new normal, we may have a role for you. If you’re interested in Big Data & Analytics or other Data professional opportunities, take a look at our latest opportunities or get in touch with one of our expert consultants to find out more.  

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