Matchmaker, Matchmaker, Catch Me A Data Scientist

There’s a new matchmaking service in town — one that promises to deliver qualified data scientists to employers — saving time and money for the marketers who need them.

Correlation One launched last week as a way to separate the wheat from the chaff in the highly competitive search for data scientists who actually know what they are doing. As with many fields that are declared “hot jobs,” many people put data scientist on their resume but can’t actually work with data.

The ability to visualize and correlate the right points of data is increasingly valuable to marketers seeking to identify new insights and maximize their marketing efficiency by focusing on what works.

That’s where the new service comes in. Before they can become part of the Correlation One database, candidates must complete a series of hands-on tests to demonstrate their skills in solving real-world problems with actual data sets. Each test ranges from three to five hours in length and yields a report card for prospective employers, summarizing strengths and weaknesses across 4,000 factors.



The work Is evaluated by data scientists at Correlation One and a panel of advisors. The other part of the service pulls data points from the candidates’ resumes to match against industry and job type.

According to Sham Mustafa, cofounder and CEO, the company has about 800 vetted data scientists on its site and is adding 40 to 50 per week. Correlation One hosted a “datathon” — a hackathon with data — in New York on Saturday. The winning teams got to present to finance and media leaders.

We spoke with Neal Ostrov, vp of growth at GONG!, to find out about his experience working with Correlation One. GONG! is a news-sharing app allowing people to animate and share stories with GIFS, captions, Internet memes, and more.

How did this compare with other ways you have looked for data scientists?
In a nutshell, it really simplified and streamlined the entire process and allowed me to continue focusing on the 100 other things I had on my plate at the moment. I don't have much of a data-science background, so it really helped working with a team that does. They helped save me an enormous amount of time by weeding out candidates who weren't at the skill level we needed. Through a multi-faceted testing process, Correlation One tested the candidates’ skills in multiple areas of data science, something I wouldn't have been able to put together myself. 

What was the cost?  
Close to a third of what it would have cost if we went through a recruiter. 

Are you satisfied with the candidate you hired?
Extremely. As an early stage startup, we needed to find a full-stack data scientist who can wear many hats and work on multiple areas of the data pipeline. The most difficult part was working within our budget. Data scientists are in high demand and skilled ones command extremely high salaries. They were able to find not only a skilled candidate but one who was also a fit within our budget.

Do you anticipate getting in front of more data scientists?
If we grow the way we hope to, absolutely. We plan to be an extremely data-driven company.

How difficult is it to find a qualified data scientist?
For a startup in the U.S., with limited funds, it's extremely difficult. Not only are you competing with companies like Facebook, Snapchat, Amazon, Google, etc., a highly skilled data scientist usually requires a large salary which can really strain a young company's funds. 

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