Hiring a Senior Web Analyst? Here's a Suggested Job Requisition / Description

DSC00103 smallThere are a lot of jobs posted in different places essentially looking for the same kind of person: Web Analyst. Someone who can come in and provide insights to companies who have massive amounts of clickstream data, insights that will be used to drive actions which have a reasonable chance of success when measured by key site outcome metrics (Revenue, Conversion Rate, Problem Resolution Rate, Customer Satisfaction etc).

It is interesting to note that all these job requisitions are different and have various points of emphasis in skills or other things. So here is a suggested job req for your consideration (and use if you want to). It is not better than anything else out there, but hopefully it is brain food.

There were a couple of important points it is trying to hit with this requisition:

  • Over communicate to the candidate. Lots of job reqs don’t do this. They talk about the employer and the jargon of greatness and couch in sometimes ambiguous terms what the job actually is. This job tries to be very explicit about what is expected of the candidate and what their life could look like (Typical Deliverables).

  • It deliberately tries to emphasize roundness in experience well beyond ClickStream and knowledge of a standard web analytics tool. It emphasizes Trinity experience. It also stresses team and leadership skills (the implication being that a Senior Analyst will not be a report writer / publisher).

  • There is much less clickstream analysis experience (to try and get people will less deep entrenched mindsets in old web analytics), asks for traditional Business Intelligence experience (both to look  for experience in analysis and also because I predict the future will be less in web analytics tools and more outside in BI type environments) and seeks atleast basics in SEM, SEO, Competitive analysis, Testing etc.

  • It is hard to do this in the req but in the interview but I would deeply investigate if the candidate is just a sophisticated "numbers person" or had business acumen. I would look for 70 % of the latter and 30% of the former in a Senior candidate. You might put a different % but please look for raw business acumen / savvy.

 Here’s the req / job description……..

Senior Web Analyst

Job Content & Scope:

    Support the analytic needs of a business unit by analyzing web traffic using clickstream tools such as ClickTracks, Omniture etc. Use standard BI tools, such as Brio or Business Objects, to produce reports relating to outcomes.

    child statueCreate holistic dashboards by pulling data from different data sources and websites for presentations to senior management team.

    Collaborate with external partners such as Agencies to assist with data collection and reporting.

    Lead driving core insights from the data to suggest, create and execute multivariate or a/b/c tests that drive fundamental improvements to the site experience.

    Exhibit a high level of expertise in driving the data strategy across multiple “listening posts” (websites, surveys, testing, CRM systems, market research etc).

    Senior Business Analysts will typically focus on multiple business unit websites and support all facets of the decision making platform (clickstream analysis, outcomes analysis, search analysis, multivariate testing analysis). They will also work with the website technology team closely to identify gaps in the data capture strategy and collaboratively implement enhancements. They will also be expected to partner outside the business units and outside the company to ensure that best practices in metrics and decision making are being exposed to the BU management and core website decision makers.

Typical Deliverables:

  • Weekly, monthly reports (excel, BI tools, clickstream analytics).

  • Lead development of senior management dashboards.

  • Website behavior and customer experience analysis.

  • Data consolidation and validation.

  • Coordinating tags, tracking parameter implementations.

  • Lead creation and completion of Multivariate and A/B testing documents (from hypothesis creation to influencing creatives to identifying success metrics) and post test analysis.

  • Business requirements synthesized from multiple sources including product managers, development teams, and functional group members.

  • Documentation relating to existing processes and suggestion / presentations for improving those processes.

  • Effective and persuasive presentations (verbal and written) for project teams and business leaders.

Knowledge / Background / Experience:

  • Bachelor’s degree (MBA preferred).

  • china acrobatics1Atleast three to four years of working with standard clickstream analysis tools: Omniture, ClickTracks, WebTrends, HBX, CoreMetrics etc.

  • Two years of experience in advanced web analytics methodologies such as experimentation and testing, competitive analysis, surveys and market research.

  • Three to five years of experience in one or more roles in an online ecommerce or online support environments.

  • High level of expertise with Business Intelligence tools, two plus years, such as Brio, Business Objects, MicroStrategy, Cognos etc with experience writing and tuning sql queries in a online or offline environment.

  • Three to five years of experience in using the Microsoft Office suite with very strong Excel skills.

  • Three to five years of business analysis experience in large size companies with multiple functions / business units preferred.  

  • Mid-level expertise in the SEM (Search Engine Marketing) / PPC (Pay Per Click) and SEO (Search Engine Optimization) strategies and a minimum one year experience measure success of SEM/PPC and SEO campaigns / efforts.

  • Excellent communication skills and ability to interact with all levels of end users and technical resources.

  • Exposure to project management skills, business process redesign principles, tools and techniques a plus.

Team / Leadership Skills:

  • troy 2DsmithWorks effectively both independently and as a member of a cross functional team.

  • Uses sound judgment to identify issues and escalates when appropriate.

  • Contribute to improvements in processes (technical or business) used by analysts.

  • Drives focused decisions within specific areas and is a key contributor to decisions beyond specific scope of role.

  • Ability to identify key needs or gaps and provide leadership to close those gaps.

  • Resolves disagreements and conflicts constructively, knows when to involve others.

  • Learns from mistakes, takes action to apply the learnings and provides peer and team wide feedback for those in immediate area of focus.

  • Identifies and communicates specific personal growth goals for self.

Technical / Functional Skills:

  • Understands relevant technology applications in their area.

  • Using strong analytical skills provides insights as well as recommendations for changes and convinces key Company decision makers of business benefits of the proposed solutions.

  • Identifies and drives requirements trade-offs by proposing solutions to BU/FU leadership.

  • Handles multiple tasks, switches priorities and focuses as needed.

  • Exhibits high degree of pro-activeness in analyzing customer behavior using available data to influence changes on the website.

  • Understands the complex web ecosystems and best practices and applies this knowledge to their work.

  • Collaborates on creation of project plan and tasks for the team.

It is important to note that it would be hard to find a candidate that would would meet all the desired attributes described above. As always there will be a give and take as you consider candidates and hire for the best fit in your company. But hopefully there is a framework of desired attributes that might help in your hiring process.

If you are a Web Analyst and want to be Senior then above is a suggested guide post of what you might do to build your skills to get to that level.

What do you think of it? Too long? Too short? Good? Bad? Brilliant? Unreasonable? Unfillable? What’s missing? How can I make it better? Do you meet the skills outlined (if yes send me your resume!)? Please share your feedback and critique via comments.

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Comments

  1. 1
    Aman Sandhu says:

    Hi Avinash

    Excellent Career Guide:). Now I know what skills I need to work harder at.

    I really enjoyed this article by Jason Burby where he talks about Web Analysts' required to be adept at Actuarial, Accountancy, Planning, Parole Officer, Statistician and Website Manager skills.

    As always, excellent post.

  2. 2
    SFD says:

    I meet most of the requirements and work for a Fortune 500 in Chicago. The only discrepancy is that I only have 2.5 years of experience in the U.S. but I have 2 masters, one of them being an MBA.

    I am curious to see what people think: what salary range would such a person command? I personally think I am way underpaid…

  3. 3
    SFD says:

    One more thing…

    Once you are at that level, I find it very difficult to move into management with direct reports.

  4. 4

    Hi Avinash,

    Phew! Like SFD, I am very curious to know what that kind of person (or extraterrestrial ;-) ) could fetch in salary (disclosure: I'm getting calls from US headhunters, and it's hard for me to evaluate salary scales being from Canada).

    Anyway, great post; it sure pointed me towards several points of improvement!

  5. 5

    [Wisecrack]
    For such a person I would say $250k in salary, 25% annual bonus, four weeks of vacation, company car (preferably a Prius, I am into hybrids) and a pony. :)
    [/Wisecrack]

    It would be hard to come up with some standard salaries mostly because there is no such thing. There are geo differentials, there are company and industry differentials, and then there are people differentials (with the exact same degrees and resume you might get paid more than me).

    If you think you are underpaid my "dear abby" guidance is to go to your manager and:

    1) Share a list of your accomplishments that have been accretive to the company's bottom-line ($$$'s work).

    2) Tell them you feel you are underpaid.

    3) Share with them any industry data you can find (the Yahoo Web Analytics Forum had data in a recent post, I think Dylan posted it).

    4) Share with them what you think would be a optimal salary level, what would make you happy.

    5) Give them a chance to think your boldness through and get back to you. Be a tiny bit patient.

    6) Look for another job if you don't like the outcome, if you are good (and I am sure you are) then you won't have any problem finding a better fit.

    I do recommend doing it in the order listed above. I say that as a Director / Manager and I say that as a co-worker.

    Hope this helps in some way.

    -Avinash.
    PS: Not true about the difficulty to move into management, your only hindrance might be your "people expertise". Analysis and reporting expertise is not a leading indicator of people management potential, but if you have that you can absolutely move into management. I say that from experience. :)

  6. 6
    Aaron Shear says:

    What it sounds like you are looking for is a Business Intelligence position.

  7. 7
    Steve says:

    The 2c observation I'd make, is that you haven't tried to sell why an "I" would want to work for a "You".

    In bad times you can be as strict about requirements as you like, in the good times the employer needs to sell the job to "me".

    Why should I want to work for you? I can do the same job in lots of other places. It's not just the $$$. If it was, I'd be earning an extra $30 an hour elsewhere… ;-)

    Ok, I'm speaking from my experiences and skill set etc; but I regularly turn down jobs because the job is a very poor sell. Not just in the advert, but in the interview as well.
    My primary criteria in these good times, is for a job that allows me to innovate, continuous improvement and drive forward positive changes.

    You may not be surprised at how many employers seem to want to crush that desire. :-)

    The 1c observation I'd make, is that too explicit a list of skills reqired can be very offputting. To a certain extent it exposes organisational culture.
    It's a fine line between assuming skill-sets and specifying them. IMHO.
    Avinash, you know my skill set: If I ever saw a job ad for someone like me that specified Office/Excel skills, I'd laugh my head off and delete the job straight away. This being the point I'm trying to make with this 1c observation. :-)

    – Steve

  8. 8

    Aaron: No and yes. :) Not looking for a BI position but yes looking for someone with some BI experience because of the "thinking rigor" that having been exposed to the BI world would expose a candidate to.

    I have to also admit that I am on record saying that holistic analysis is going to rule the roost in a few years (non-web data, multi channel, deeper hard core true analysis tied to complex outcomes). A world which might look more like the Biz Int world than Web Analytics. In as much with this type of a req there is desire to staff for what is ahead not just what currently exists.

    Steve: You do make a good point. In the US almost every job req / description I have seen starts with flowery prose (or sometimes poetry) about the company. So that first set of info is covered. It would have been rude for me to have included it in this post.

    In the interview both parties are equal and each should question and stress the other to ensure there is a fit.

    As regards to Excel/Office, sadly it is a way of life much as we would not like it to be. Sometimes as a presentation layer, sometimes as a analytical layer, sometimes as a hack and a crutch. But its there. If the candidate is not extremely proficient at excel it is likely to hamper their "real world" productivity.

    Thanks so much Aaron and Steve for your thoughtful comments and feedback.

    -Avinash.

  9. 9
    Steve says:

    Fair cop. I'd go further on the Flowery Prose line and suggest that that misses my point. In a nice way naturally. :-)

    We get those flowerly intros over here as well, and they appear to be standard boiler-plate, insert name here, paragraphs. Center of Excellence. Employer of Choice. Blah Blah. Ho Hum. Seen it all before.

    That's really not what I meant. More along the lines of: "You" are after a pretty specific sort of person. The Best of the Best.
    What drives the sort of person "you" want?
    What sort of environment, not necessarilly company wide!, can "you" give them that they want to work in?
    What's "your" role as the manager of that sort of person, and how is that a positive for them?
    And so on.

    Using the generic "you" and "me" and "I" above.

    It's rare, but occaisionally I do see job ads that try and address those sorts of issues, and then some. Which in turn gets back to the 1c point, because by addressing the drive of the person they're after, the skill set is strongly implied.

    eg. The adverts that Google put out for folk with my skills and the methods they use to get us, hits right to the core of the sort of people we are. Extremely clever job marketing. I've never been sooo tempted by job adverts in my life! :-)

    You won't their job ads on standard job boards or via headhunters.
    They really don't describe what they want. Rather they describe what "you'll" be doing. Sure they gloss over the skut work, you can't hide that, rather the sell is on the very fun and challenging stuff.

    Hence, to even be able to do the work, implies a range of skills and experience. Every little skill needed is not spelt out. If you ain't got those skills, you won't even understand what the role does.

    My half-a-cent point? As someone who has been in the hiring chair a few times, give me the right attitude over experience any day. How one entices that sort of person to apply is the less well seen side of the job-battle. :-)

    Fascinatin' discussion!

    – Steve

  10. 10
    benry says:

    Feels right to me, but a bit too "ideal". What's missing in the search for analysts mix is a clear path for those starting out to gain the above skills and experience. Everyone looking for senior staff leaves little space for new or junior analysts to get their feet wet.

  11. 11
    Sumesh says:

    Avinash and guys, I learned a lot from you guys on this blog. I am moving into a web analytics position from being an analyst.

    Thanks for the info…

  12. 12
    Bruce Hermann says:

    I've "accidentally" acquired some of the job skills you talk about while wearing different marketing and internet hats for small companies…But some of these tools are pricey, so how do I go about getting "hands-on" experience with more sophisticated tools in the privacy of my own home to get to the next career level? None of the companies I've worked would bankroll these tools.

  13. 13
    blakes20 says:

    This position description is excellent. Do you have a description for eMarketing Specialist as well?
    -Thank you

  14. 14
    John says:

    You mention nothing about HTML or Javascript, the foundation of most web analytic tools out there. I think anyone who wants to do web analytic should have basic if not medium understanding of these technology.

  15. 15

    John: I am torn about that.

    I think some basic understanding will be very helpful (especially as the person morphs into experimentation and testing or on exit surveys etc – an understanding of javascript calls etc helps). But most people in web analytics are far too technical and I find that, consistently, they tend to be very savvy about tags and "code" but usually sub optimal analysts. I mean real analysts not structured report writers, of which they are plenty.

    So I put those two technical skills, html and javascript, in the "things of secondary importance" bucket. I focus on if the person can think analytically and has the capacity of being a Analysis Ninja. If they are that then I can reach them basic html and javascript. If they are good on those two things but not analytical then they are not much use in a Analysis Ninja role (though if they are really really good then of course there is a position in the team for them as a "implementation specialist" or a role such as that – which is important role and often required).

    -Avinash.

  16. 16
    John says:

    Not that understanding of JavaScript is that important, after all, JavaScript is fairly easy learn.

    The reason I stress the importance of technical understanding is that I’ve seen too many good things ruined by poor execution/implementation, especially in a large organization where there is usually a communication wall between marketing and IT. It would be great if the analyst has the technical understanding to oversee the whole process, and not just hand things over to IT.

    After all, this is a fairly new industry; standard process is still being developed. We need more of the “ can do it all” type of person to bridge different departments. This is my personal opinion.

    You had an engineering and a MIS degree, Eric Peterson was a developer, so as June Dershewitz. June was even majored in computer science if I remember our conversation right. I think Eric and June’s experience as a developer pay a large contribution to their current understanding of web analytic.

    We need a person who has the intelligence of both right-brain and left-brain. Having a technical background usually tells us he/she already has left brain intelligences.

  17. 17
    Ranjan says:

    Hi Avinash,

    I do work only on Google Analytics and again its all depends upon the client and his preference on analytical tool but every big companies always looking for tools like Omniture, ClickTracks, WebTrends, HBX, CoreMetrics.. so what to do?

  18. 18
    Savita says:

    As far as my experience goes in analytics world, I feel very disappointed, my analysis is always accurate for the given situation, but unfortunately the bureaucracy in the companies, are not letting you raise your voice. I mean you need to make your boss happy first, and then the developer happy.Even though you give the right analogy of the situation, its only accepted if your boss agrees to it.

    That leads to the point that its good to know the tools and present it in the form of reports and numbers, to show your analysis.

  19. 19

    Savita: It is a psychological problem to deal with your management team, less a data problem.

    Here my strategies to deal with that particular problem in unique ways and make progress:

    Lack Management Support or Buy-in? Embarrass Them!

    Hope this helps.

    Avinash.

  20. 20
    Marco says:

    Always great posts Avinash.

    I get up 6,30 am in the morning, go to work and come always back at 8,30 / 9 pm (love my job… yes… too much).

    The problem is that when I come back (first thing i do) I switch on my pc and look for posts in your blog, or videos of you in youtube or any info related to you! And a vicious circle starts all the times! :) From your blog to another post, moving onto external info, and more and more…

    I always go to bed always around 1 am!!! :)

    Is your blog covered with an insurance for the health of your readers? :)

    YOU ARE A GENIUS! :)

    If I was a lady, I would know who I want to marry! ;) ha ha :)

    Ciao,
    Marco :)

  21. 21
    Jeff says:

    Really…this post will help me for future

  22. 22
    Brijesh Tiwari says:

    Hi,

    I have been searching for this topic for 3 months but nowhere i have found reliable answer about it.

    But here i have got a lot information about web analyst and how to work effectively.

  23. 23
    Raghu says:

    Great description. I think most of these are apt for any role in Web Analytics(Sr, Jr etc…). I will definitely incorporate these in my quest to build out a job description. I think couple other things I would look for is

    1. Basic understanding of Website is a key. (HTML. JS etc…) Although it is a nice to have.
    2. Being pragmatic about the toolset and not in love with any one tool.
    3. Not scared to publicize the truth.

    I strongly believe in the 90/10 rule so this description is perfect for what I was looking for.

  24. 24
    harish says:

    hi Avinash,

    I have worked as a software engineer on websites with SEO (onpage and off page and smo) for 1.4 years.. Now I'm thinking to get into SEO or web analytics related job.. Can I? And let me know the scope if i get into?

    Thanks

  25. 27
    Celeste Markham says:

    You have mentioned a preferred MBA required under the 'Knowledge / Background Experience' section. And, I was wondering if you are opposed to a MFA instead of MBA?

    Thanks.

    • 28

      Celeste: I'm not sure what you mean by MFA, but in general having a masters degree of some kind (ideally MBA) will be quite helpful in your career as an analyst.

      It is not a degree that is mandatory, especially in starting positions. But as you start to get into Sr. and Director type roles it becomes valuable.

      Avinash.

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