What skillsets or backgrounds should I look out for when hiring for people analytics long term, especially initially at entry/mid level?

People data and analytics are becoming more and more central to HR, but there’s not a lot of consistency in what job titles are, educational backgrounds, or experience. What should I look for when trying to hire for people who would be good performers in this field? What about long-term, given how you see the future of this field shaping up?

Thank you!

Thanks for your question. In short, growth mindset. This field, given its nature and rapid pace of change, will require an insatiable curiosity and willingness to learn. Related to this, it will also require a clear stance on ethics, privacy, and social responsibility. People-related data is getting “better” in that it’s shedding more light into human behavior – activity, relationships, etc. – yet it’s also, from another perspective, getting more invasive. This could erode trust which, of course, will almost certainly result in adverse outcomes for leaders and the organization. Thirdly, there needs to be an uncommon level of resourcefulness and creativity. The very nature of “analytics” suggests insights needs to be discovered. This means having the ability to devise numerous ways to solve a particular problem or take advantage of a particular opportunity. People Analytics professionals need to also be collaborative, trustworthy and, yes, likable. Analytics is a team sport and ongoing, thorough, proactive communication is a must.

Lastly, the People Analytics profession, as I shared in another post, has a wide range of jobs. Some jobs are more appropriate for people with a more introverted disposition. Others are better suited for those with an extroverted disposition. Such diversity is important. Slow thinking is required, for sure. Fast thinking, at times, is also important. In the end, the make up of the team is going to be as important (arguably) as the individuals you hire. After all, all are going to need an environment, including teammates, that compliment their skills and ways of being. In turn, they, and you, will set yourself up for success. Hope this helps; and again, thanks for your question.