Weird Questions & the Art of Hiring an SIU Analyst

Posted by Kitty Stolle on May 20, 2021 8:04:58 AM
Kitty Stolle
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What is the primary quality that you look for in an SIU Analyst?  In my time as a Regional SIU Manager, as I hired many analysts, that question continued to present itself seeking my answer.  Experience?  Aptitude?  Attitude?  Education?   What is the key? 


An SIU Analyst for an insurance carrier is a somewhat unique position.  Typically, not that many exist within the company, so targeted experience, along with training, can be challenging.  Special Investigations Units, being a unique field, bring with them the need to think quite differently in analytics and take a variety of approaches in solving problems, or even more importantly uncovering a problem that you didn't know you had, and getting ahead of speculative problems before they even come along. 


So, what is it?  Let's start with experience.  Here you have to be careful. Someone with 'analyst' on their resume may have actually just built spreadsheets and presentations, versus actually digging into 'big data' to form conclusions and provide recommendations.  If you have experience, there are certainly parallels to SIU Analytics.  With strong experience, the foundation is set to do well. But we should keep in mind that SIU Analytics is bit of a different world. So, for me, the nature of and extent of experience was a strong bonus.  But it was not a driving force in my decision. 


Aptitude then?  Certainly, the ability and talent for numbers and analytics is a must.  What have they worked on in the past?  Sample tests and data for extrapolation during hiring will help.  Do they demonstrate a love of numbers and data in their responses?  It definitely has to be more than the 'I love a challenge' response. 


My bottom line - attitude is the real keystone for a great analyst.  And here I do not mean a positive, team spirit with all the right buzz phrases attitude.  Although you certainly want someone with a positive attitude.  But the key to hiring a great analyst is finding someone who is going to say with certainty:


"Oh wow, that's a cool idea / intriguing problem. I bet I can figure that out!"


Not necessarily the person who starts off giving you all the roadblocks as to why that can't be done.  Now don't get me wrong, understanding the roadblocks is important.  But the best SIU analysts are excited about a challenge and eager to figure something out.  


So how do you get to this in an interview?  Weird questions!  I have learned that something simple like a couple of 'weird question' can help you at least get a window into this with your candidate.  Many of my analysts heard the question - "How many quarters would it take if you stacked them up to the moon?"   Yes, weird…  But the actual answer is not important - it's how they react that gives you that look at their potential.  Do they just stare at you? Take a swag? Say I don’t know? Make a clever comment on an impractical question? Or do they get that spark and start asking their own questions?  Do you stack them flat or on end to end? From a mountain or a valley? Start looking at a quarter for the width?  Then do they send you a triumphant email afterwards telling you they figured it out?!


That's the key here for me - that real drive, the actual excitable desire to figure things out.  That's what I am looking for in an SIU Analyst.  With even a very limited foundation, we can train, coach, and teach the rest (and to add the requisite pitch- Globlue offers both free and cost analyst training!) 


 But the bottom line for me is - that innate desire for discovery is Analyst GOLD! 


 What do you look for in an SIU Analyst?

Topics: data analyst, leadership, manager, special investigative units

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