On the back of a single-minded focus on customer needs, Intuit has made a name for itself for powering businesses with top-of-the-line data-driven products. And this is the result of careful planning right from the hiring stages at the California-headquartered company.
“While data science candidates can come from any educational background, our focus is on hiring talent with the relevant skills and expertise, who will have the same customer-focused mindset that we have cultivated in this company,” says Sanket Atal, MD of Intuit India.
In fact, unlike some companies, Intuit lays a lot of emphasis on candidates with varied backgrounds. According to Atal, they function better in the company setting and even have a better understanding of the customer’s needs.
“At Intuit, customer empathy is at the core of everything we do, and it is this approach that we apply even for our hiring processes,” he says. “We also look to see if a candidate aligns to our company values, which is important to our company culture,” he adds.
So what does the ideal candidate for a data science job at Intuit look like? Let us find out.
Ideal Data Science Candidate At Intuit
Intuit looks for a variety of technical skills in their data science candidates, including a background in AI, past experience working in software development, as well as key projects that they have accomplished. Aside from that, the company is also keen to understand how they work and approach problems.
“Especially with regard to engineering talent, we keep a lookout for candidates who exhibit the right level of eagerness and curiosity to solve problems,” says Atal. “Additionally, the willingness to work collaboratively as part of a team, think outside the box, and their agility and adaptability are other qualities we consider,” he adds.
While it may seem exhaustive, given the pace at which the data science industry moves, these skill sets will continue to evolve as it hinges on customers’ needs in the future. In other words, the company attempts to integrate the customer’s perspective in its end-to-end data-focused customer pipeline and experience. How does that percolate into the overall interview process?
“To factor that, we look for candidates who are innovative, who have expert knowledge of AI and ML techniques to solve complex questions or fuel new business opportunities, and the capabilities to deliver breakthrough benefits to users and customers using individual, enriched, and aggregated data, which can be converted into insights and action plans,” says Atal.
Furthermore, based on the seniority of the position, Intuit also expects its data science candidates to have experience in leading teams who have expertise in data mining algorithms and statistical modelling techniques, such as clustering, classification, regression, decision trees, neural nets, support vector machines, genetic algorithms, anomaly detection, recommender systems, and natural language processing.
How would these skill sets be applied in their jobs once hired?
Data scientists are expected to leverage machine learning to build decision engines and algorithms that learn from rich datasets to transform user experiences. Their daily work pipeline would also involve applying knowledge engineering and turning compliance rules into code, as well as using natural language processing to revolutionise how customers interact with products and services.
“At Intuit, we are reinventing ourselves into an AI-driven expert platform to find better ways to serve our customers and ensure their prosperity,” says Atal. “When we think of a team, we have to think about customer-driven innovation and that forces us to think about the end customer and value. Another aspect we look for are those who have the soft skills that will translate well into success at Intuit,” he adds.
Hiring Process For Data Scientists
The hiring process at Intuit is anchored around building a team of talented and diverse candidates for every job opening. This includes deploying a team of ‘Awesome Assessors’ to help the company evaluate the candidates.
But who are these Awesome Assessors?
“They are some of Intuit’s top-performing team members and are typically nominated by leadership,” says Atal. “These employees represent diverse backgrounds and departments, and help us avoid group-think in our recruiting and hiring practices,” he adds.
For instance, for engineering roles, the company’s engineers are actively included in candidate interviews as an Awesome Assessor (AA). The candidate will present their craft presentation to the AA, along with one-on-one interviews. Post this, the team decides whether or not to extend an offer within a 24-hour period.
“We are always open to experimentation when it comes to hiring methods. Our two successful sourcing channels are through our Employee Referral programs (30%), through interactions at external tech conferences, and direct sourcing through job portals like LinkedIn and internal databases,” says Atal. “Apart from these, we have organised multiple round tables in the past, especially when our global leaders come down. During these roundtables, leaders share details on what problems Intuit India is trying to solve, specifically those that directly impact small businesses and solve customer problems,” he adds.
According to the company, another great way of engaging with Intuit is by joining the company’s Talent Community.
“Companies are starting to use the idea of Talent Communities to keep future candidates informed of company news and highlight their own employee work to show the impact that they are creating,” says Atal. “These communities, then, become a rich source of engaged candidates that recruiters tap into as roles become available,” he adds.
Lastly, what insights has his experience in recruiting data scientists at Intuit given him about the general state of talent in the country when it comes to filling these positions?
“India’s pool of candidates with data science capabilities is on an upward trajectory. Data scientists are very keen on solving critical problems that will create a big impact in the industry,” says Atal. “This is why we make sure that we talk about the customer problems we are trying to solve to keep them excited and more focused on our mission of powering prosperity,” he adds.