How to Hire a Data Analyst

Does your growing business need a data analyst? Data analysts apply statistical analysis to a wide variety of data to provide you with information that impacts strategic business decisions.

Here are some tips to help you find great data analyst candidates and make the right hire for your business.

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Data analysts searching for jobs on Indeed*


job seekers that clicked data analyst jobs


resumes for job seekers with data analyst experience on Indeed


data analyst jobs that received clicks

What is the cost of hiring a data analyst?

  • Common salary in US: $75,276 per year
  • Typical wages range from $24,000$154,000 per year
  • Find more information on Indeed Salaries

*Indeed data (US) – December 2020

As of December 2020, data analyst jobs in the US are less competitive compared to other job markets, with an average of 65 job seekers per data analyst job.

Why hire a data analyst?

Adding new staff members can affect your existing team structure, workflow and your finances. A great data analyst can help your business by:

  • Preparing data by extracting it from a database and cleaning it
  • Helping with projections and forecasts
  • Using data visualization tools to build dashboards for communicating to non-tech staff members

Deciding between a full-time vs freelance data analyst

Before writing a data analyst job description or interviewing candidates, decide if you need a full-time or freelance data analyst.

Hiring a freelance data analyst may be the right option if you need someone to work on one-off projects, such as analyzing a specific data set or developing a forecasting model. A full-time data analyst may be a better option if you need someone to clean, analyze and/or visualize data on an ongoing basis.

What are the different types of data analysts?

When hiring a data analyst, it’s important to understand the specific kind of data professional you need for your business. Whether you need someone to clean data sets or build predictive models, there’s a data professional that can get the job done. Here are some of the most common types of data professionals to help you find one that meets your needs:

  • Business intelligence analyst: Uses historical data, industry trends and competitor data to identify areas for business improvement and where costs can be reduced
  • Data analyst: Cleans, analyzes, transforms and models data to support business decision-making. 
  • Data manager: Manages a company’s data systems and analyzes a company’s needs to collect and organize the right data. May supervise data analysts.
  • Data scientist: Often considered more senior than data analysts, data scientists use data to build models that can predict the future. 

Where to find data analysts

To find the right data analyst for your business, consider trying out a few different recruiting strategies:

  • Ask for referrals: Ask your current team if they’ve worked with any data analysts they’d recommend. Reach out to your network of connections to see if friends, family, coworkers or other professionals you know can refer someone to the role.
  • Recruit at nearby colleges: Attend career fairs and post flyer on local college campuses to attract people graduating with relevant degrees. 
  • Post your job online: Try posting your data analyst job on Indeed to find and attract quality data analyst candidates.

Skills to look for in a great data analyst

A great data analyst candidate will have the following skills and attributes as well as work experience that reflects:

  • A bachelor’s degree in analytics, statistics, computer science or an equivalent area of study
  • Advanced knowledge of SQL and Excel functions
  • Familiarity with ETL processes
  • Knowledge of Tableau
  • Ability to well in a fast-paced environment
  • Ability to prioritize projects
  • Excellent communication skills
  • Basic knowledge of one or more programming languages

Writing a data analyst job description

A well planned job description is important for attracting qualified data analyst candidates. A thorough data analyst job description includes a compelling summary of the role, a detailed list of duties and responsibilities and the required and preferred skills for the position.

When writing your data analyst job description, consider including some or all of the following keywords to improve the visibility of your job posting. These are the most popular search terms leading to clicks on data analyst jobs, according to Indeed data:

  • data analyst
  • analyst
  • data
  • sql
  • business analyst
  • remote work from home
  • sas
  • statistics
  • tableau
  • data analyst intern

Interviewing data analyst candidates

After reviewing the resumes of your top data analyst applicants, schedule interviews to learn more about them. Strong candidates for data analyst positions will be confident answering questions about:

  • Excel
  • SQL
  • Statistics
  • Data analysis process

Need help coming up with interview questions? See our list of data analyst interview questions for examples (with sample answers).

FAQs about how to hire a data analyst

What programs do data analysts use?

Data analysts typically use programs like Microsoft Excel, Power BI, Tableau, SAS and SQL. Consider including the programs you’d like your data analyst to know in your data analyst job description. Keep in mind that even if a data analyst candidate doesn’t have experience with a certain tool or program, they can often learn to use it on-the-job.

What is the cost of hiring a freelance data analyst?

If you’re looking to hire a freelance data analyst, they will likely charge by the hour or per project. According to Indeed Salaries, the average hourly rate for data analysts is $37.28. However, data analysts with more experience may charge more. Another common way freelance data analysts charge clients is per project. Per-project fees can vary widely depending on the type of project and amount of effort and time required. However, common ranges for data analysis projects are between $400 and $2,000+ per project.

Do data analysts need to be good at math?

Not all data analyst roles are math-focused, so it depends on the specific role. That being said, a strong knowledge of statistics, multivariable calculus and linear algebra can help data analysts succeed in nearly any data analyst role. Data scientists, on the other hand, often need to know more math than data analysts.

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    Last updated: Apr 21, 2021