Capstone thesis due in 5 days; sometimes the light at the end of the tunnel is an oncoming train. (but I am still excited about the light!)
— Rachel (@rstephensme) April 19, 2016
Out of the thousand or so words that went into the job posting for our open analyst position, arguably the most important were eleven that were added by James. Under a heading entitled “The Role,” he wrote “We’re looking for someone that will make the role their own.” Some, maybe even most, of the candidates we interviewed asked about this, what it meant.
The short answer is that while the best candidates for us are those that prove to us that they can do this job, the ones that separate themselves are those that can do this job and do jobs that we’re not able to. We wanted our new analyst to bring something new to the table, not just skills we already have.
It would be easier, certainly, to simply filter our applicants to those that have prior analyst experience: we wouldn’t have to spend any time training new hires to be analysts. But as an analyst firm that sees the world through a very different lens than that employed by other firms in our industry we have to be more creative, which is why we deliberately cast as wide a net as possible. As has become typical when we hire, our inbox was full of resumes from all different educational and experiential backgrounds. DOD analysts. Major league baseball back office personnel. Nuclear technicians. Lawyers. Actuaries. Accountants. Professors. Developers.
And then there was this financial professional. Who’d been turned into a DBA. Who’d been trained in BI. Who was in the process of completing her MBA. Who knew how to use GitHub better than we did. Who had organized conferences. Who read through three years of the quarterly earnings transcripts from one of our clients as part of her application for the position, teaching us things we didn’t already know. Who was once offered a job on a flight by another of our clients. And most importantly, who demonstrated that she both understood and believed in what we do at RedMonk.
Hiring decisions are never easy, because serious applicants demand serious consideration, but the right candidates can make the decisions easier. When James and I were talking through the final set of candidates, we found ourselves getting excited talking about the different opportunities and potential projects for this one candidate in particular, and – remarkably diverse and capable set of candidates or no – our decision became clear.
Meet Rachel Stephens, the newest RedMonk analyst.
If you’ve been to the Monktoberfest, you have probably met Rachel already, as she has never missed one. She helped organize last year’s version, in fact. What you may or may not know about Rachel is that she has not just the skills to manipulate data but a true passion for using it to ask questions. Anyone who has opinions – strong opinions – on the differences in keyboard shortcuts between the Mac and Windows versions of Excel was likely to get our attention; the fact that Rachel also works comfortably in other tools from R to Tableau is gravy. As are contributions like her updates to Nathan Yau’s 2011 wunderground-scraping script from Visualize This (which I wish I’d seen before I blew an hour on that myself).
But apart from her hard core research skills and overpowering curiosity – attributes that we obviously prize highly – Rachel will also add an important new element to our work. With a long background in finance and with her MBA weeks away from being complete, one of the things Rachel will bring to RedMonk is a professional’s understanding of the balance sheet. This is an important skill in general, but it’s particularly relevant in emerging markets like cloud or Software-as-a-Service, where multi-billion dollar businesses are buried in filings under categories marked “Other.”
While Rachel is based out of Denver, you can expect to see her around at the usual conferences in the Bay Area, Boston, Las Vegas, New York and so on. We’ve told her what a great group of people we at RedMonk know and work with, and she’s excited to meet all of you. Those of you who know Rachel and the quality of person she is know what you have to look forward to. For those of you who haven’t spoken with her yet, you’re going to enjoy working with her, I guarantee it.
Rachel’s first day with RedMonk will be May 23rd, but until then you should feel free to go say hello over on Twitter at @rstephensme.