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How can I attract Senior Database Administrator candidates? Expand / Collapse
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Posted Wednesday, July 25, 2012 10:09 AM


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I have a few full-time DBA positions open on my team, one of which is for a Sr. DBA. We have had a hard time finding qualified candidates to fill the position and I need the help sooner than later. The salary and compensation package is very good and the ability to advance, in one's career and skills, is great, but we just don't have that many applicants. What am I doing wrong, or what more can I do?
Post #1335260
Posted Wednesday, July 25, 2012 10:34 AM


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Let's start with the job description you are using when advertising the position.

Next, how about more about the company and benefits.


I'll will be honest, I'm not looking for a new position as I really like where I am working now. What I am interested in, is finding something to supplement my current income working evenings/weekends remotely.




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Post #1335287
Posted Wednesday, July 25, 2012 11:53 AM


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Check the job posting. If it's like the usual ones, it asks for a full set of skills that have nothing to do with being a DBA, as well as decades of experience with SQL Server 2012, and all that kind of thing.

It will also depend on what market you're in, and whether you're willing to pay (or at least help with) moving expenses if the best candidates live outside normal commute distance from you. Some cities have a lot of good DBAs, some don't, and this varies over time as well.

Also, keep in mind that skilled Lead DBAs are probably already working. It's a high-demand field with unemployment around 1% nationally (if you're in the US; I don't know numbers from other countries if you're not). So, not only do you need to find someone good, but you need to find someone good who's looking, or whom you can convince to leave a current employer/contract.

You might also want to get a good marketing copy-writer to look over your job posting and make sure it follows good marketing practices. I've seen dismal results turn into great results by doing that kind of thing (works on both job postings and resumes to treat them as marketing material). Doesn't have to be flashy, but does have to read in such a way that it will generate interest/excitement in the right target-demographic.


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Post #1335339
Posted Wednesday, July 25, 2012 12:41 PM


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You can also talk to friends, and ask them to ask their friends. Or look on LinkedIn and cold message some people that fit your needs. Recruiters do that, no reason you can't.

You can post the description here as well and we can give you feedback. As Gus mentioned, lots of extraneous HR stuff isn't interesting. Why would someone want to come work for you? Ask for real skills and real qualifications, but give them real reasons to answer your ad.







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Post #1335374
Posted Wednesday, July 25, 2012 12:42 PM
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I'm genuinely curious to see the actual posting. Can you throw us a link or, if it's not too long, just post it here?
Post #1335376
Posted Wednesday, July 25, 2012 5:24 PM


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bclyde-1080677 (7/25/2012)
I have a few full-time DBA positions open on my team, one of which is for a Sr. DBA. We have had a hard time finding qualified candidates to fill the position and I need the help sooner than later. The salary and compensation package is very good and the ability to advance, in one's career and skills, is great, but we just don't have that many applicants. What am I doing wrong, or what more can I do?


I suspect it's simply due to a lack of information. For example, you ask what you're doing wrong above but give us no idea of what you've actually done nor any clue as to where we can see the job description to see if we can help. In the post you made just prior to this one on another thread, you told folks to check the SQL Jobs forum on this site for a great job. Which of the dozens posted there might it be?

If you want to attract good people, you've got to be a wee bit more forthcoming with information about the job. You also have to trust me that if your the one trying to hire a good DBA in Atlanta for only 75-85K, you'll probably end up waiting for quite a while.


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Post #1335506
Posted Thursday, July 26, 2012 12:35 AM
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A lot of times jobs descriptions are not descriptive at all. Most of the time employees don't understand the technology and the job posting can be confusing. My advice would be to hire a company to find a DBA for you.
Post #1335579
Posted Thursday, July 26, 2012 2:17 AM


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My advice would be to hire a company to find a DBA for you.


Sorry Abel but this is god-awful advice. I recently got involved in a round of recruitment for a new DBA and the companies (agencies) we contacted just could not come up with the goods. When I asked around at the UK User Group in Manchester a few weeks ago, everyone agreed, agencies just aren't the right way to find a good DBA.

What you need to do is leverage the existing talent in your team to write an award-winning job description, and price it up appropriately - don't be cheap, aim between the mid-range and top pay for the sector. I don't know where you're based, but in London a DBA will earn £35-£50k and a senior DBA £45-£65k. If I were recruiting a senior DBA in London I would pitch the job at £50k and I'd expect to be negotiating upwards with the candidate. Evangelists will earn even more through consultancy. Contract rates fluctuate between £280-£400 per day.

The job description will need to be very specific in the areas in which you wish the applicant to be competent, but broad enough to cover multiple subject areas. It's certainly not a good idea to go Googling for a standard job spec.

Bad example:

* The applicant must be competent with SSRS, SSAS, SSIS.

Good example:

* The applicant must have knowledge and experience building SSIS workflows, creating DTS / SSIS packages, and deploying these to a production environment. In addition, the candidate must have experience in designing and building OLAP cubes, an excellent knowledge of data warehousing, and experience in creating custom reports in Visual Studio. Ideally the candidate will hold a Microsoft BI-related professional qualification.



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Post #1335619
Posted Thursday, July 26, 2012 8:53 AM


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I'd also suggest that if you want someone good in the four letter words associated (SSAS, SSRS, SSIS) with SQL Server and you want someone who is a virtual Ninja at T-SQL AND you want a tuning expert AND you want a system expert, that you won't find someone who's actually "good" at all of that. SQL Server and all those things are just too big for one person to be good at all of that.

If you want an expert in SSAS, SSRS, and SSIS, then you should advertise for a "BI" expert.
If you want an expert in databases (including effective design and implementation), then you need to advertise for a "Hybrid" or "Application DBA" with an emphasis on T-SQL and tuning with some reasonably good systems knowledge.
If you want an expert in security and other system level stuff, then you need to advertise for a "Systems DBA".
If you want someone with ".NET" experience, advertise for a front-end developer.


--Jeff Moden
"RBAR is pronounced "ree-bar" and is a "Modenism" for "Row-By-Agonizing-Row".

First step towards the paradigm shift of writing Set Based code:
Stop thinking about what you want to do to a row... think, instead, of what you want to do to a column."

(play on words) "Just because you CAN do something in T-SQL, doesn't mean you SHOULDN'T." --22 Aug 2013

Helpful Links:
How to post code problems
How to post performance problems
Post #1335908
Posted Thursday, July 26, 2012 9:28 AM
Old Hand

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As someone else mentioned here, posting unrealistic requirements like "10 years experience with SQL Server 2012" is off-putting to applicants. Don't do it.

I recently saw a job posting at Splunk that did really good work with this. It has since been taken down. Maybe they found the right candidate. Huzzah for them!

Anyway, the posting said something along the lines of "We know no one person can be great at all these things, so if you're pretty good at even half of them, we want to talk to you". I thought that placed a reasonably good amount of balance on the listing. Had I simply seen the listing with all the requirements they had on there I would have laughed. No decent candidate wants to walk into a position that has so many requirements and responsibilities that it sounds like a job for 5 people.
Post #1335933
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