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How to Evaluate Data Scientist Job Offers

December 3, 2018

This post is contributed by Burtch Works’ data science and analytics recruiting team.A few months ago I wrote a post about how data scientists and analytics professionals can manage multiple job offers, but what happens when you get to the next stage – offer evaluation and negotiation?There are several elements to consider here, including compensation, benefits and other perks, relocation, and negotiation, so I’ve addressed each area separately below. It is especially important to keep all these areas in mind when comparing offers. Just because a company offers a higher salary does not necessarily mean it’s the right move for you!

Areas to Consider when Evaluating Data Scientist Job Offer Packages

Compensation: Salaries & Bonuses

As we discovered in our most recent Burtch Works Studies, salaries for data scientists (primarily working with unstructured data) and salaries for predictive analytics professionals (working with structured data) have remained steady for the most part. So what does this mean?

  • Yes, salary is important, but it should be considered a subset of the overall offer. Especially in swiftly-evolving areas like data science and analytics, prioritizing opportunities to learn and grow your skillset is crucial to staying on top of changes in the market.
  • If salary bands are fixed, some employers may turn to bonuses as a sign-on incentive, and this is something you can ask about during the negotiation process!
  • If you’ll be leaving a bonus on the table to start your new position, not all employers will be able to reimburse you. Especially if your expected bonus is months away from your start date, your new employer might not be able to accommodate reimbursement for it.
Benefits & Perks

With salaries mostly steady, we’ve also noticed that some employers are turning to non-traditional benefits or “perks”, such as flexible work schedules, free food, etc., and this should be taken into account when evaluating an offer package!

  • What traditional benefits are important to you (401k, health insurance, etc.), and what does this potential employer offer?
  • Are there non-traditional “perks” that might improve your quality of life? Catered lunches could save you money (and time!) and a company that allows you to work from home one day per week might help ease your work stress.

With data science and analytics initiatives continuing to grow across the country, relocation is not always a must, but it can open up more opportunities.

  • What type of area would you prefer to live in, and how will this affect your commute? Lots of companies have been moving their headquarters to urban areas, but there are still plenty to be considered in suburban or “near urban” areas. Some companies have also adopted “hoteling” workspaces in cities to give workers more flexibility without relocating their entire office.
  • If you are relocating for a role, I’d recommend doing reimbursement rather than a lump sum, because then you get the actual amount instead of having taxes taken out, but whether this is available to you might depend on your employer and what’s best for your situation.
  • Are you able to do a house-hunting trip? If your new employer works with a relocation vendor, they may be able to assign you a realtor to schedule a trip to evaluate homes and get to know the neighborhoods in the area.

When it comes to negotiating job offers, you may think data scientists have it made! The market is strong and opportunities are seemingly endless, so this means you’ll always get what you want – right? Not necessarily!Part of getting what you want out of a job offer means knowing what you want, and being willing to compromise. Even in a strong market, it’s rare that an employer will be able to hit every item on your checklist, so, in light of this, here are some tips for negotiating.

  • Don’t negotiate unless you are serious about taking the offer! If an employer is able to take the time and get approvals for a good amount of the items you’re asking for, it will leave a sour taste in their mouth if you turn down the offer.
  • Know that not every employer will be able to negotiate, as there are often strict salary bands for different job levels, especially at larger companies.
  • If you’re going to negotiate, pay attention to how you present your message. Being tactful is more likely to get the results you want than being aggressive. Negotiation can be your first real experience with a new employer, so don’t paint a target on your back before you even start by being overly pushy or ungrateful.
Other Things to Consider
  • Do you like the people you’d be working with? Do you feel the organization is a strong fit from a company culture standpoint?
  • Particularly in data science and analytics, keeping up with the latest tools and technologies is incredibly important. Is this a role that will allow you to do that? Will they let you choose which tools you use, and do they encourage learning different methodologies?

Overall, whether the role is the right fit for you is entirely your decision. I often tell my candidates to go with your gut! Sometimes you just know, after a set of interviews, that this is the right opportunity for you. Evaluate all the pros and cons, but trust your judgement.Looking to hire data scientists or analytics professionals, or looking for new opportunities? Be sure to connect with us.

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