CB Resourcing – the challenges of hiring thought leadership research analysts
At CB Resourcing we help many of the world’s most successful consulting and professional services businesses hire for Thought Leadership Analysts, usually in professional services or consulting but also in other industries.
There are many great research firms with excellent Analysts to approach but when hiring thought leadership analysts for a consultancy or professional services firm there are recurring challenges:
Understanding the skill set you need - Analysts are very different depending on background
- Analysts coming from industry analyst research firms are often focused on a small subset of an industry for instance a life science Analyst may only really cover oncology or a telecoms/ TMT Analyst may only cover fixed line or mobile services. In a large consultancy usually the Analyst will need to either cover the entire scope of an industry such as TMT and much of the time many industries.
- Sometimes hiring an ex fee earner such as a consultant is a great move, they know the content and are close to the business. They must however really want the job and not just be suffering from consultant burn out. Thought Leadership Analysts need to love the job and not just be doing it as an escape route.
- You want someone who can write beautifully, great with data, deep industry insight and the ability to present. All of this doesn’t always come all together, decide where your compromises might be early in the process so that you can react quickly to the available talent before your competitor.
Making the cultural fit work:
- On the face of it, some Analyst job specs may seem similar however you must be mindful of the challenges of hiring for the big 4 or top tier consulting firm’s vs a firm focused on the mid-market for instance. The types of companies covered are different as well as the challenges faced.
- Hiring an expert into a firm of experts – the hardest part of hiring from a smaller industry research firm into a large professional services business. The Analyst is used to being the go to expert for their topic area. Joining a large professional services firm the Analyst becomes one of many experts on their topic.
- Helping the Analyst understand the mind set of considering internal fee earners as their customer. They need to engage and build a personal brand internally, helping Analysts understand this from day 1 makes a big difference to on boarding.
- Analysts who are used to following a rigid research agenda may struggle responding to fast changing requests from fee earners – explore this early on with candidates.
Selling the opportunity and keeping them interested:
- Hiring laterally from other firms thought leadership teams. Analysts are by nature astute diligent people, a lot of thought needs to go into how to sell the role as a career move as most won’t want to do a side step unless there are other factors at play.
- Selling the opportunity - as service based firms we all take pride in our organisations. Sometimes it’s easy to fall into the trap of “who wouldn’t want to work here?” or “why can’t they see the opportunity”. From the beginning of the process hiring managers need to be thinking about how to sell an opportunity to the best talent, because all the top firms are competing for the best talent. Think about your job spec, your personal brand as a hiring manager and what does your interview process say about your organisation? Engage with your recruitment contact and give them proper context on all the projects your planning and how the role may move someone’s career forward.