HiringSolved comes to MLconf for—you guessed it—hiring
Shon Burton, CEO of HiringSolved, has an interesting challenge. His startup, which specializes in sleuthing out hidden talent using machine learning, needs to find that hidden talent to help fuel the company’s momentum. Guess where he comes to find it—MLconf.
Of course, the CEO sees the irony. “You can’t exactly post a job posting when you’re HiringSolved. MLconf is how we do hiring,” he says.
An Arizona-based company that has sponsored MLconf three times and served clients as prominent as Google, Twitter, and Yahoo, HiringSolved does rely on its own data mining tools and resources for hiring. “But at the end of the day, the best way to hire people is get into the space where they are, meet them, and see them,” the CEO says.
Expecting “high signal to noise ratio”
MLconf, the four-year-old niche event for data scientists who want to dig deep, is what Burton calls a “high signal to noise ratio place. It’s a chance to get in with a lot of people who are very, very focused.”
“You’ll see people with notebooks, writing equations,” Burton says. “For us in that environment, it’s great. Data science is a hugely hot market—and it’s new. The people in it are interested, they have a passion. They’re coming out of physics and molecular biology. The talent is very in demand and hard to find.”
Burton adds another voice to the choir praising MLconf for its smaller scale. “It’s not trying to be all things to all people.” This intimacy lends to ease of networking, he explains.
“Last year we ran into amazing people who helped influence our product literally right there on the floor,” he says. “We had conversations we had that you just don’t get anywhere else—sort of serendipitous connections and bouncing ideas off people. We identified great talent but weren’t at a place where we were hiring. Now we’re scouting talent.”
Seeking the X factor
Burton says that in hiring, his company looks for what he calls the “X” factor. That’s that special tangent to a candidate’s formal training that sets them apart and demonstrates their passion. He says if you’re an aspiring data scientist, you can cultivate the X factor by:
- Connecting to the community by going to events like MLconf, contributing to open source, etc.
- Showing what you’ve accomplished beyond your degree—beyond going to class and going through the curriculum.
- Engaging: getting on Twitter, talking to speakers at events. “Ask the intelligent question, and get them to respond,” Burton advises.
— Natasha Petroff
Natasha Petroff is a senior writer at Kitterman Marketing. Kitterman is a marketing and advertising agency that blends strategic messaging and creative with the latest technology and analytics to create campaigns that deliver measureable results.