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Bridging the gap between Data leaders and Recruitment Heads

bridging the gap between data leaders and recruitment heads is an ongoing process and requires relentless effort. Organisations should establish a framework for regular communication and collaboration, and periodically review and adjust as necessary. Additionally, it's important to involve both data leaders and recruitment heads in the decision-making process and make sure that their voices are heard and considered.
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“The first way to bridge the gap is to understand the other perspective.” 

Bridging the gap between data leaders and recruitment leaders is crucial for any organisation that wants to stay competitive and make data-driven decisions. Both data leaders and recruitment leaders play a vital role in the success of an organisation, but their responsibilities and priorities may not always align. By understanding and addressing the reasons for the gap between these two departments, companies can improve communication, collaboration and achieve a better outcome. The gap between data leaders and recruitment heads can be attributed to a combination of factors but with proper communication, collaboration, and understanding of each other’s roles, the gap can be bridged.

Organised by AIM Recruits at the Machine Learning Developer Summit, 2023, AIM Recruits held a roundtable discussion on, ‘Bridging the gap between Data leaders and Recruitment Heads’. 

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For this conversation, we invited data leaders from the AIM Leaders Council:

Sayandeb Bannerjee, Co-founder and CEO at TheMathCompany, 


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Suguna Jayraj, SVP, Head of P&C Analytics at Swiss Re, 

Shan Duggatimatad, Data & AI leader – Senior Director at Ascendion, 

Ravindra Patil, Group Leader, Data and AI at Philips and 

Bala Natrajan, Vice President – AI & Analytics at Capgemini. 

On the other hand were also accompanied by recruitment heads:

Rosina Jose, Associate Director HR at Rakuten India, 

Lijosh Varkey Joseph, Director – Talent & Culture at Flutura Decision Science & Analytics, 

Amitabh Ghosh, Ex-Head of Talent Acquisition at Anheuser – Busch InBev, along with 

Mohit Juneja, HR Leader – Engineering and Technology Centre & Org Capability – MEIA at Ingersoll Rand. 

The session was moderated by Kashyap Raibagi , Manager – Research & Advisory at Analytics India Magazine.

This round-up style article mentions best quotes from these leaders.

From hiring to finding talent

We’ve been setting up teams with three separate job descriptions like data scientists, data engineers, and data analysts. So, when the resume comes, it’s quite mixed. While at a CV level, it’s hard to differentiate because the boundaries are also merging somewhere. Segregating that and getting the right fit becomes a challenge, especially when the pipeline is huge. And the second key challenge that we see is fake CVs. So, in two forms, one is either a copy project from a hackathon or a ready-made data set. 

—Suguna Jayraj, SVP, Head of P&C Analytics at Swiss Re

Roadblocks in mass recruitment

Ability to upskill a recruiter is a must and that has led to the result of what we did as a Gemba walk. We show what an AI model is, how it works, what a data engineer is, what it looks like. Then, we created a hiring playbook where every role within the landscape of data is mentioned and what question do you need to ask [for the specific role]. 

—Ravindra Patil, Group Leader, Data and AI at Philips

I feel the challenge is how we can come closer to each other. What is critical is the conversation that is happening between a data leader and an HR leader, when it is not a recruitment conversation. There is a way to explain in a layman’s language, what this is about and the same holds the other way around that the data leader takes ownership of the talent they need to build the product and solution. So, that nuance changes. A recruiter can’t be blamed that he or she was in a particular environment where bulk recruitment was happening and now you’re suddenly in an environment where you need 10 [profiles], but super specific. The transition is not automatic. I think we have to appreciate that.

—Sayandeb Banerjee, co-founder & CEO at TheMathCompany

Upskilling recruiting teams

We hire a small number of people across domains. It’s very difficult to have specific creators who know one particular area. So, the fundamentals of  having a good hiring strategy meeting, good job description in place and a well-defined tool come in place, which help the candidate understand what the role is. What they also do is segregation in terms of what are the essential skills and what are the desired skills. So, that’s where the recruiter will be able to judge with respect to the profile. These questions actually help recruiters, who are general recruiters, to do a thorough investigation. They may not be 100% successful, but it does help to an extent that probably improves the ratio of the quality of profiles which they bring. They will understand the profiles more over a period of time. Some of these actions actually help bridge the gap and reduce the time to hire over a period of time.

—Mohit Juneja, HR Leader – Engineering and Technology Centre & Org Capability- MEIA at Ingersoll Rand

Expectations from younger recruiters

The skill universe that the team of recruiters is looking at is quite large. They get allocated to certain sets of skills. The metrics tend to be around monthly and in the last three years, the demand has been off the charts. I don’t think the junior recruiters are measured on the candidate conversion ratio. They’re just given an absolute number, on the number of people to be brought on board at the end of the month. We spend a lot of time trying to work through a problem, particularly when we see the first few applicants getting turned down. Many of our customers want to interview the candidates, even if they’re already within the system. When early rejections happen, we intensify that interaction with the hiring team. It could either be to localise certain pockets from where you can hire or it could be about a particular combination of domain along with skill. It depends on what the customer is looking for, then we will have to do those interactions. Without that, you will not see good outcomes.

—Bala Natrajan, Vice President – AI & Analytics at Capgemini

Identifying the right tech role

The first step from any recruitment team perspective is to understand the role that has many proper debriefs to understand the role, its nuances and specifics. Second, it is more essential for a recruiter to understand what kind of skill set you want for your team. If you say I need somebody from a Python background—what is the kind of experience you need in Python? What is the kind of product or project that you’re looking at? If you’re clear on that, it helps equip the recruiter to screen the profiles properly. I think the recruiter or the team should work with the business together to prepare the screening questions. So, the skill sets are different. If you educate your recruiter that way, it will help you get better screening profiles. That is one of the key essential things that I would want in my team to deliver the best to my business.

—Amitabh Ghosh, Ex-Head of Talent Acquisition at Anheuser – Busch InBev

Expectation in complementary roles like recruiting

There’s another request, which always comes along with tech. To consider the cultural fitment, because some hires just come in, it could be a disaster for the team [if they do not understand the culture of the organisation]. So, for example, we asked the recruiters to sit along with the business and understand the culture. As an organisation, there is a macro culture and within specific departments, there is also a micro culture. I think it’s very important for recruiters to also understand the culture of each department that they’re catering to. We need multiple training sessions for that to ensure that not just tech but even this side of things are taken care of.

—Rosina Jose, Associate Director HR at Rakuten India

Only tech?

I would expect my recruiter to look at the softer aspects more than the technical aspects. There could be one or two skills, which are in depth and then look for horizontal and broader experience. For that, I don’t need a technical recruiter. I don’t expect my recruiter to do a deep technical discussion, rather look for the softer attributes of an associate. So, those are the aspects that I would emphasise for our recruiter to focus on rather than the technical skills, because technical skills change. 

—Shan Duggatimatad, Sr director at Ascendion

Outcome and expectation

Data leaders must essentially play a part of that role in that continuum. There has to be an effort, in that both sides have to try to explain what we do better. Data leaders have to understand nature and Recruitment leaders have the responsibility to sometimes train or make the data details come to ground and say that this is the ground reality that is out there. 

—Sayandeb Banerjee, co-founder & CEO, TheMathCompany

We need to come together as a community and have a uniform definition of what is data science, who is a data engineer, because for every organisation, the definition changes, and that’s where technology changes. If all the data leaders could come together and unify the definition, that would be of great help to us. 

—Lijosh Joseph, Director – Talent & Culture at Flutura Decision Sciences & Analytics

Lastly, it’s important to note that bridging the gap between data leaders and recruitment heads is an ongoing process and requires relentless effort. Organisations should establish a framework for regular communication and collaboration, and periodically review and adjust as necessary. Additionally, it’s important to involve both data leaders and recruitment heads in the decision-making process and make sure that their voices are heard and considered.

Furthermore, it’s important to have a clear understanding of the key skills and expertise required for data roles and make sure that the recruitment team is aware of these, as this will help them to identify and attract the right candidates. It is noteworthy that providing training and development opportunities for both data leaders and recruitment heads to learn about each other’s roles and responsibilities can help bridge this gap and improve collaboration.

More Great AIM Stories

Anshika Mathews
Anshika is an Associate Research Analyst working for the AIM Leaders Council. She holds a keen interest in technology and related policy-making and its impact on society. She can be reached at anshika.mathews@analyticsindiamag.com.

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