As Edward Snowden’s international game of hide and seek has highlighted, the increase of “Big Data” brings complexity and complications, including the challenges it poses to the privacy of individuals, businesses, and governmental institutions alike. But there’s no arguing that the advent of large amounts of traceable data and analysis have also been incredible assets, especially in the realm of business. More data can help a company better serve its customers and elevate itself above the competition, which by default increases the value of those who can analyze it and communicate it effectively. Enter the strategy consultant.
Data and its analysis are the bread and butter of consulting firms, and the means by which consultants can give valuable recommendations and insights to their client. With that, we as an executive search firm are often surprised when we notice a lack of emphasis on data in an equally important area: the search process for a new opportunity.
Rather than taking a job because you’ll be able to work with your friend from consulting, or the one that offers the most flash on the surface, here are a few ways to further elevate data in the job process:
1) Take the call, go on the interview. Just because a company or opportunity is not something you initially thought of in passing does not mean it’s a bad one for you. Similarly, if you’re happy at your current role and hadn’t planned to move, there’s no harm in checking out an opportunity or two to get a sense of your market worth (ex. Bryan Falchuk, Head of U.S. Operations at Beazley PLC, revealed in our interview that he initially shirked early outreach for his first role at the company because he wasn’t looking at the time). Taking the opportunity to learn more means that worst case scenario, you know what a real offer looks like to compare to others down the line. Best case scenario, you’ve landed yourself a new, great opportunity that has put you on a path you might not have considered otherwise.
2) Do your homework. When considering an opportunity, or weighing options against one another, scrutinize the company, its position in its respective industry, and the people within it. What are this company’s real odds for success and growth compared to its competitors (versus promises or wishful thinking)? Have they hired consultants previously? What is the growth path for your role, and is it proven? The valuable data you gain from this exploration will help set apart the good from the bad beyond your gut feel.
3) Tune up your own visible data / brand. In looking at new opportunities, it comes without saying that the company you’re interested in will gather data about you as well. It’s important to check on your personal brand, and how you might appear both digitally and otherwise. Make your data work for you and give them the best impression before you get in the door.