Every company is only as good as the people it can recruit. At Tamr I am very grateful to have fun, intelligent, interesting co-workers. But recruiting those people is not an easy task, especially since the skills we’re looking for are exactly those skills that are hard to point out on a resume. These are skills like the ability to learn quickly, to connect and consult with customers on their data architecture and strategy, and to use machine learning and analytics to help customers realize the value they can get from their data. One of the best sources we’ve found for candidates like this has been the Insight Data Science Fellows Program.
I first learned about Insight as as graduate student at CERN thinking about leaving academia and jumping into a career in data science. I loved the idea of doing a 6-week program during which I would be introduced to people from a variety of companies, because without that I didn’t feel like I knew enough about any of those companies or the jobs available to be able to make a decision about where I wanted to go. After applying and getting into the program I met Andy Palmer, the CEO of Tamr, and was offered a job at the company. He felt that hiring someone who had already been selected by Insight was an effective pre-screen and valued that I had been accepted to the program. I was unsure about whether or not to take the job; although I found it interesting, I still didn’t think I knew enough to make the choice. I only made up my mind to take the job at Tamr after receiving an email from Insight’s Jake Klamka congratulating me on my offer at Tamr and encouraging me to take the job rather than pursue the Insight program.
Since then I’ve learned about Insight from the other perspective. Several times a year we go to Insight and talk to the fellows there about Tamr and the jobs we have available. A couple weeks later ~10 fellows visit our office and present the projects that they’ve worked on during their time at Insight. We typically invite back several candidates from each session for interviews and hire at least one (we’ve hired fellows out of both the data science program and the data engineering program).
It’s a very painless process for us and the Insight fellows we have ended up hiring have done very well here. Currently, nearly 10% of Tamr’s employees are Insight alums — with PhDs ranging from Cognitive Neuroscience to Physics to Linguistics. The Insight alums we’ve hired have impressed me for reasons well beyond their education and training. The fellows are more diverse with a better balance between genders than we’ve typically found looking at resumes from most recruiters. They also have strong research backgrounds, which means that they have experience grappling with ambiguous problems, understanding them in depth, and the fortitude required to work at those problems for years. More specifically they also have experience programming and working with data.
We’ll be heading over to the Insight offices to meet the next round of fellows in June and I’m looking forward to it!
Clare Bernard started at Tamr three years ago as a Field Engineer from CERN doing both presales and postsales implementation work and oversaw Tamr’s first deployments at GE. She progressed from an individual contributor role to manage the Field Engineering group over her first year and a half at the company, then moved into Product Management. Clare now runs the Product team @ Tamr. Clare’s career progression is a role model for what we aspire towards at Tamr – hungry, humble and smart people developing fast by creating dramatic outcomes for our customers.