If you're going to build a Predictive Analytics Center of Excellence, as Peter Hahn at Zurich North America is, you're going to need a load of exceptional analytics talent. So what defines the best of the best? That's something Hahn has thought about a lot lately.
Hahn, who joined the property and casualty insurance provider this past spring as head of predictive analytics, is recruiting for a data scientist team and a risk insight team -- all levels welcome. "We're recruiting at different levels for each of those teams to make sure we address the opportunities for analytics talent that's out there and in different stages of their strengths development and professional development," he told me in a recent phone interview.
The job candidates who stand out will possess four defining characteristics, Hahn said.
- Ability and aptitude. First and foremost, the analytics professionals Zurich hires will have an understanding of the business -- or know how to get it if they don't already have it. "We're not necessarily looking for folks who have years of experience in the P&C insurance industry... but we are looking for people who have the curiosity to understand the business needs and the business opportunities our organization is going after," Hahn said.
- Creativity. Zurich wants people who can think creatively about potential solutions as well as the types of datasets and data sources that could inform business opportunities and business needs. "So we're looking for people who are creative thinkers and for those who can push our collective thinking."
- Insight-centricity. Zurich's analytics hires will be focused on generating insights. And by this, Hahn said, he means he's looking for people who get excited not only because they understand the business problems and the data sources but by coming up with the solutions to solve the problems and address the challenges.
- Communications savvy. Zurich wants people who can translate and communicate the insights that the CoE generates, said Hahn, adding that this is one of his most important criteria. "They have to be able to communicate and influence the broader organization on what the insights are in terms of how they apply to their day-to-day decision making and in a way that's consistent, compelling, and coherent to the rest of the market."
To summarize, Hahn spelled out the type of folks he hopes to find:
So, we're looking for people who understand the business and who have the aptitude to understand the business needs and opportunities. We're looking for people who are creative, and who can push the value of our thinking. We're looking for people who are excited by coming up with solutions and insights. And we're looking for people who are very good at synthesizing and communicating the insights and influencing and working with the broader organization to drive adoption and consistent execution.
Where are the hard skills, you might wonder -- knowledge of a particular toolset or programming language, for example? Zurich, and Hahn himself, are "very open-minded and open-ended on tool requirements," he said. "We believe in equipping our data scientists and our risk insights [teams] with the best-of-breed and best-in-class tools they require to generate the most distinctive risk insights."
That means, if you like to program in SAS using certain techniques, Zurich will support your choices. And if the guy or gal in the next cubicle over likes R -- well that's OK, too.
Hahn, I think, paints a rather compelling picture of the CoE team members he's looking to hire. As analytics professionals, what do you like or dislike about the type of people wants on his data science and risk insight teams?
— Beth Schultz, , Editor in Chief, AllAnalytics.com