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As you probably already know, I’m always interested in gathering information from and about the analytic community. Our salary study for Big Data professionals is the biggest project we’ve taken on within this mission, but recently we conducted a very brief “flash survey” of our connections regarding a topic that I’m hearing about more and more: individuals’ experiences with being contacted by recruiters via LinkedIn. As a recruiter, I use the site quite a bit, and our staff has participated in a number of training sessions made available by LinkedIn. In these sessions, it’s frequently quoted that an overwhelming 95% of LinkedIn members say they are open to receiving messages from recruiters on LinkedIn.
 
In this brief survey, I asked our quantitative network three simple questions:
 
1. How often are you contacted about job opportunities through LinkedIn?
2. How frequently do you respond?
3. Are you actively considering a job change?
 
We received a great amount of feedback from this quick poll, and in the end we analyzed the responses of 481 analytics professionals. Using information from our database, we were able to categorize these responses further based on geographic region, and career level, using the same hierarchy of levels that we used in the Burtch Works Study. As a reminder, here is how we define job levels and regions: 

Individual Contributors (IC) are professionals without people management responsibility.
  • Level 1: responsible for learning the job and being hands-on with analytics (typically 1-3 years’ experience)
  • Level 2: hands-on with data, working with more advanced problems/models (typically 4-8 years’ experience)
  • Level 3: considered an analytics Subject Matter Expert (typically 9+ years’ experience

Managers(MG) are professionals whose responsibilities include people management.

 
  • Level 1: tactical, leading a small group within a function (typically 1-3 reports)
  • Level 2: leads a function and executes strategy (typically 4-9 reports)
  • Level 3: member of senior management who determines strategy (typically 10+ reports)
    We uncovered a couple interesting findings, so let’s take a look at what the data revealed.

 
   #1: How often are you contacted about job opportunities through LinkedIn? 
 
Key Insights
  • More than 25% of analytics professionals are contacted at least weekly, with an additional 63% reporting that they are reached out to at least monthly.
  • The most senior level candidates (MG, level 3) reported being contacted most frequently, with 60% saying they are reached out to at least weekly.
  • Overall, managers are reached out to more than individual contributors with an average of 42% of managers reached out to at least weekly, compared to only 21% for individual contributors. We have two hypotheses for why this may be: 
o   Many organizations look to put key leaders in place prior to hiring the core staff that will be doing a lot of the analytics. It may be that managers are being targeted now, and as those positions fill, the emphasis will trickle down to the individual contributors.
o   Job titles for management are much more consistent (i.e. Manager, Director, VP) than those of individual contributors, who notoriously have a multitude of titles (e.g. Analyst, Specialist, Scientist, Statistician, Consultant). This means sourcing by titles is more challenging at the individual contributor level.
  • Not surprisingly, analytics people on the West coast are contacted most frequently, with 93% of west coasters approached at least monthly.
  • People in the Northeast and Midwest were approached in similar amounts – roughly 89% are contacted at least monthly.
#2: How frequently do you respond?
 
 Key Insights
  • More than 50% of quantitative professionals report responding to recruiters’ message on LinkedIn almost all of the time or always.
  • Tactical 50% of quantitative professionals report responding to recruiters’ message on LinkedIn almost all of the time or always.
  • Individual contributors and managers, however, have very similar response rates overall.
  • West Coasters are the most likely to get back to their suitors on LinkedIn: 64% reply almost all of the time or always.
  • People living in the Mountain region are least likely to respond, with only 38% replying almost always and 53% replying half of the time.
  • Quants in the Northeast were fairly likely to respond (53% almost all of the time or always, 40% at least half the time), showing similar response rates as Midwesterners.
#3: Are you actively considering a job change?
 Key Insights
  • 69% of Quants are at least willing to entertain the idea of a job change, or are actively looking.
  • Even though 30% of respondents aren’t considering a change, many respond to messages anyway given that only 7% said they never answer these messages.
Conclusions
Over the years, LinkedIn has not only become a powerful networking tool, but also a key recruiting tool. Professionals from almost every industry have flocked to the site, set up a boiled down (or not) version of their resume as their profile, and used it to connect with colleagues, research potential employers, read business news, and search and apply for jobs. I keep finding myself asking, though: is LinkedIn too much of a good thing?
Recruiting firms like ours have leveraged LinkedIn for years in order to target specific individuals for specific roles for our clients. Corporations are adopting the same technique, except (in my experience at least) without the amount of rigor necessary to zero in on the proper candidates. Corporations are hiring sourcing teams to scour LinkedIn for talent, resulting in mass messaging to members who may or may not be relevant for the role they have open.
 
As we found in our flash survey, the rapidly escalating demand for analytic talent means over 60% of you are being contacted at least monthly via LinkedIn. This is generally a wonderful trend for our profession, but my fear is that “recruiter fatigue” may set in. Some of you may adopt a ‘delete all’ policy, scrub your LinkedIn exposure or even remove your profile altogether. This would be an unfortunate consequence of your increased visibility, but I fear this is where we may be headed. My advice is to know what your goals are and prioritize your options accordingly.  And of course, to stay in touch with your favorite recruiter!

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