Many companies struggle to hire the right Head of Business Intelligence (BI) because HR managers don’t know what tasks the position fulfills. If you start from that disadvantage, then you will need to learn more about the position and how to focus on the perfect candidates. Finding the right person for this role is critical because it's likely a key part of your business' broader BI implementation and team-building strategy.
For those of you who want a quick read, here's what we found to be the best practices for hiring the right Head of Business Intelligence:
Table of Contents
- Write a Head of Business Intelligence Job Description
- Include the Traits You Want Most in Your Job Ad
- Ask What Tools Candidates Use to Make Business Strategy Decisions
- Choose a Head of Business Intelligence With Experience in Your Industry
- Look for a Head of Business Intelligence that Matches Your Corporate Culture
- Look for Someone Who Plans to Stay With Your Company
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Write a Head of Business Intelligence Job Description
Talk to managers and IT professionals within your organization so you will have the right information to write a job description for your Head of Business Intelligence.
Some of the skills that you might include in your BI job description include:
- Strong communication skills that help turn data into actionable plans.
- Ability to notice industry trends and make adjustments to keep up with changes.
- Problem-solving skills for finding innovative solutions to new issues.
- Evaluate huge amounts of information from a data warehouse.
- Leadership skills that make it easier to get everyone to agree with new policies.
- Ability to manage a team of professionals.
The specific skills that you include in your job description will depend on what your company needs. Always have managers evaluate job descriptions before you advertise the position.
Include the Traits You Want Most in Your Head of Business Intelligence Job Ad
Turn your Head of BI job description into an ad that will attract the right candidates.
You want to cast a wide net so you can pull in, experienced pros. At the same time, you want to limit applications so you don’t waste time with unqualified people.
When you write the ad, include all of the mandatory and secondary skills that you want to see from applicants.
Once you have your ad listing, post to popular job-search sites like:
If you know of any industry-specific sites, post your advertisement there. Don’t forget to add the open position request to your company’s website.
Ask What Tools Candidates Use to Make Business Strategy Decisions
Your company may already use specific tools to gather and analyze data. If you do, then you should look for a Head of Business Intelligence who has experience with those tools.
Some of the most popular business intelligence tools include:
A BI professional who has worked with one or more of these platforms probably has the experience that your company needs. It’s nice to hire someone who can start working immediately, but the software options have plenty of overlapping features that experienced new hires can learn quickly.
Keep in mind that the top business tools will change over time. It’s more important to hire a Head of Business Intelligence with a general understanding of processes than someone who has experience with a specific software suite.
Choose a Head of Business Intelligence With Experience in Your Industry
Analytics strategies can change dramatically from one industry to the next. You should, therefore, look for a Head of BI who has experience working in your industry.
You don’t need to get too strict about this point. A candidate with e-commerce experience might not have the skills to work for a real estate business. That person probably knows more than enough about Salesforce to work for a large retail company, though.
Once a candidate reaches the interview phase, ask them how their past experiences will help them achieve goals within your company.
Ask for Proof of Results
The best way to validate a candidate is by looking at their previous successes. How have their BI skills helped their previous employers or clients? What are their accomplishments? What were the outcomes of their recommendations and findings? The more proof a candidate can show you of their experience, the more confident you will be in their expertise. Proof could be through an online portfolio or case studies. The more tangible results, the better.
The key to hiring the right Head of BI is to make sure you're really acquiring the skills you need. People who've had success with previous BI projects, projects they've led, or companies they have worked for, have a proven track record that will help your company achieve its goals.
References are very important, so ask for at least three from the candidate's most recent positions in most cases. The more recent the position, the more useful references will be. Find out if they are current or former co-workers or bosses.
It’s always a good idea to talk to former employers, colleagues, and clients; it helps validate the candidate's skills and abilities. People who know what the candidate can do will have a better insight into how they work. If they are willing to talk to you, that means they think well of the candidate. It’s good if they provide direct contact information so you can talk with them directly and get an honest assessment of your candidate.
Discuss Recent Training and Professional Development
Business intelligence is an evolving field. There is always something new to learn and new regulations and technologies to implement. It’s crucial that you hire an expert who has recently received training and professional development in areas like big data, data visualization, predictive analytics, or reporting.
As organizations are forced to become more data-driven, it’s a must that your organization is able to retain BI pros who are constantly learning the latest techniques and trends in the field. Ideally, your candidate will regularly participate in professional development. If they haven’t recently taken a training course then you may want to consider other candidates.
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Look for a Head of Business Intelligence that Matches Your Corporate Culture
Company culture does much more than influence policies related to dress codes and employee benefits. It can also affect how your business behaves.
A company with an assertive company might want to take more risks. In that case, you would look for a Head of BI who likes aggressive policies. A company that moves ahead carefully might want to hire a Head of business information that spends a lot of time analyzing opportunities before pursuing them.
A candidate’s resume and cover letter may offer some insight into whether they will fit into the corporate culture. Once you reach the interview stage, you can ask more direct questions about their preferred policies.
Consider the Candidate’s Personality
Does your candidate have personality traits that are important for the role? Consider your needs before making any final decisions because personality is also a factor that should play into your decision. Will they be a team player? If they have trouble working with others, then you should definitely keep those factors in mind. Will this person mesh well with the rest of your team? If they won’t fit in nicely, then they will not provide the perfect fit for the role you need.
Long-Term Plans to Stay With Your Company
It can take months for a new Head of business information to become familiar with every project. Since onboarding takes so long, you need to find an applicant with long-term plans to stay with your company. You don’t want to lose someone immediately after they get used to the job.
Analytic specialists also get paid fairly high salaries. A management analyst can expect to earn a median $87,660 per year. The ones talented enough to take leadership positions make even more money.
Since your business will spend more than $80,000 on the new Head of Business Intelligence, you must choose someone willing to grow with the industry. Anything less than five years will put you at risk of losing your investment in the employee.
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