21 Comments
Sep 23, 2022Liked by Benn Stancil

Very interesting post Benn. I'm long overdue writing up a tool we built and out-sourced while I was at Expedia Group which is similar in intention - I've finally published it. This was built for internal use, but also had the concept of a Portfolio or Repository of work. While not intended to be presented outside the company it was intended to help Analysts present their work as a story and to help with review cycles and internal moves. I think it would be trivial to clone the repo to something personal, 'sanitise' it and create a portfolio for external hiring. It's open source, so feel free to engage, suggest and contribute!

https://medium.com/@maxillis/introducing-insights-explorer-f8e7d732a3d5

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author

Oh nice, thanks for sharing. I've seen a few analytics repos like this before (the airbnb one got a lot of attention way back when), but never thought about using them as a way for analysts to build personal portfolios. That makes a lot of sense though. (It reminds me a bit of how Facebook manages performance, where employees have to have a kind of portfolio of work every review cycle to show what they've done. The way they do it is pretty stressful apparently, but I think that's because it's so heavily tied to promotions, bonuses, etc).

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Sep 25, 2022Liked by Benn Stancil

I can't deny that Airbnb's Knowledge Repo wasn't a source of inspiration!

And that's interesting about FB - I didn't know that and I can imagine it's pretty stressful for those involved

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Aug 5, 2022ยทedited Aug 5, 2022Liked by Benn Stancil

Great post benn!! But I have a genuine question -

How much time do you think any average hiring manager is willing to spend on literally the first step? Like taking time out to actually read through?

Companies gets swamped by applications and they have deadlines to close positions. So we as humans start using shortcuts to accept/reject anyone and make "famous college/company" based decisions.

Moreover taking a look at an analytical portfolio takes way more time compared to website/design portfolio. Have you heard similar concerns from fellow analytics hiring manager?

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author

Eh, maybe. Even a 30 second flip through a portfolio seems more useful than scanning a resume. Sure, it might be quick, but no worse than a resume. And unlike a resume, once someone got past that initial review, I suspect people would return to them a lot in the course of the interview.

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Aug 5, 2022Liked by Benn Stancil

Can we start a LinkedIn competitor with portfolios (and other artifacts) vs resumes alone?

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Aug 8, 2022Liked by Benn Stancil

have you heard of polywork? ๐Ÿค“ https://www.polywork.com/jillasophical

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Now I have. Pretty cool. ๐Ÿ’œ

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author

I would love a dribbble for analysts that didn't become some Kaggle math Olympiad type deal.

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Aug 19, 2022Liked by Benn Stancil

I attempted something like this a few years ago when trying to tell a better story about my myriad of experience. I don't think it yielded any material leads (probably for reasons other commenters have mentioned + the broken expectation of receiving a deck instead of a resume).

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author

Interesting. And yeah, I think it'd take some changes in how we hire to make this really work. But that's a bummer it didn't help out more.

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Aug 20, 2022Liked by Benn Stancil

On the plus-side, it's a nice artifact to have on hand for a quick answer to "tell me about yourself" in less formal settings vs sending a resume or long text blurb.

Re: changing practices, have you seen woventeams.com before?

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author

I haven't seen that, though I've seen similar coding problem sites before (and a couple for data teams). No idea if they work though, and don't know many teams who use them.

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Great post. As a professional with ~14 years of experience in various data functions , I have always been in a dilemma on whether creating a portfolio would be of any value . This post definitely gave me that push to create a portfolio .

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Aug 7, 2022Liked by Benn Stancil

This is a fantastic idea. I am fan of portfolio sites, but this solution fits everyone. And, the format you suggested is a good jumping off point.

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Aug 7, 2022ยทedited Aug 7, 2022Liked by Benn Stancil

What's interesting is that a lot of highly payed Engineers don't share any portfolios. Their code is locked in within corporate environments of FANG. It is the engineers working at start-ups who share code.

Curious, what makes Analysts different? My gut feeling is that the answer is "nothing". Both SE and Analysts can be and are evaluated on the strength of their thought process during interviews - exception being, when someone actually comes from FANG. Much of FANG talent is allowed to cruise through the interviews on the strength of their supposed work experience - which could be questionable.

So what we need is portfolios for the type of group that needs it the least to get a good job. True for Engineers as much as for Analysts.

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author

That's an interesting question which I know nothing about. Is there the same potential problem in engineering? My guess is yes, but to somewhat of a lesser degree because (I'd think but don't know) that technical aptitude corelates better with candidates quality in engineering. It's obviously not the only thing, or even the most important thing. But seems closer to the right thing than it is for analysts.

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Aug 5, 2022Liked by Benn Stancil

I like the idea, but at the same time analysis is also often confidential.

Every deck I have includes "Confidential" on every slide as this is the branded template.

It also goes into other problems. Not all analysts are deck-based. For the first half of my career, my deliverables were numbers and reports(sometimes very challenging details), not decks.

These aren't "hard problems", but it will create an issue because pedigreed analysts with "confidential" on every deck are more likely to have the required skill than those who would benefit from the change.

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I think this is a bit of a problem, but I'd imagine people could still describe their work pretty well without giving away confidential info. People already do this when you ask them about their work in interviews or casual conversation. Maybe they can't include charts, but they can usually tell the story.

I don't think I agree with the second point though. Employers should look for people who've thought about problems well; I don't think that correlates with people who work on more or less confidential stuff. We might think that - good people do important work, and important work is secret - but I think that's just a perpetuation of the same bias that gets people from big companies interviews over other people.

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Aug 6, 2022Liked by Benn Stancil

"We might think that - good people do important work, and important work is secret - but I think that's just a perpetuation of the same bias"

So that argument seems correct. We likely should expect that people of the better "pedigree" are better on average.

I see your point as being that the bias is inefficient. So, top firms may tend to have top people, but communication skills, technical skills, and aptitude are found at all places. Identifying actual quality better helps everybody.

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