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Posted Friday, February 15, 2013 7:56 AM


Ten Centuries

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Abu, you would fit right in in Haiti then. Don't see alot of people volunteering to go live there though.

"Technology is a weird thing. It brings you great gifts with one hand, and it stabs you in the back with the other. ..."
Post #1420559
Posted Friday, February 15, 2013 8:22 AM


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I'm not directly involved in hiring decisions, but I do field resumes and then participate in interviews and rate candidates afterward. There really is no one thing I'm looking for on a resume.
Honestly 95% of all resumes look the same to me regardless of the past experience of the candidate, especially if they've been groomed and polished by an outside recruiter or consulting agency... You get the usual 7 - 15 year track record of past employers along with a tag cloud of about 20 different technologies that they all claim to have used.
I actually think that a well written and concise resume makes a better impression on me than one the typical me-to know-it-all resumes that consume 10 printed pages. If someone mentions their primary responsibilities and a brief description of major project(s) for a postition, then that tells me more than simply listing a big name company and a dozen skills.
Of course university degree(s) or certification(s) is one way to objectively differentiate candidates, but I'm not sure how reliable an indicator that is for predicting the performance of one candidate over another. I personally don't have a four year degree (so I'm biased on the side of not seeing it as a requirement), but I do have an (old) certification and am working on a new one. I've never reccomended a candidate based on their certification, but they would tend to do better during the interview, because I ask certification type questions, so they would benefit indirectly in that way. By the time we get around to interviewing a candidate, I've already forgotton wether they have a certification, and my impression based solely on what's said during the interview.
During the interview, I'll say: "Tell me about the project you're currently working on.". I'll listen to their narrative closely, and I expect them to go into detail. I'll then ask maybe a half dozen followup questions like: "Really, how much record volume do you injest on a typical day?" and "Wow, merging 100 million records in a single run is a lot of data, so how do you monitor the performance, and what design considerations did you take into consideration to optimize performance of these loads?". I may go back and forth like this for 15 or 20 minutes. It's at that point I'll know wether the guy is a real ETL developer or just some schmuck with a padded resume a list of memorized SQL Server interview answers.
Post #1420578
Posted Friday, February 15, 2013 8:39 AM
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I am always interested in candidates that are geeks: they've played with computers all of their lives and they do it in their spare time like I do. I am also impressed by candidates who know the doco intimately. I don't care so much that you know details but rather that you know how to research unforeseen problems.
Post #1420594
Posted Friday, February 15, 2013 9:05 AM


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I make sure to look for at least a touch of "customer service" skill no matter what the technical requirements may be.

It's also very important that someone be able to admit when they don't know the answer. BS will not get the job done - knowing how to research will.
Post #1420609
Posted Friday, February 15, 2013 9:46 AM


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I know that a candidate needs to present themselves well in an interview and be able to write SQL, or manage an instance, but when you are examining dozens of resumes, is there something that stands out?

When it comes to impressing potential employers with an accomplishment, then of course candidates should actually include mention of that impressive accomplishment (wether it's a large database migration or developing a data warehouse) on their resume instead of just listing their employment history and skillsets. Then be sure to bring it up during the interview. Everyone needs a narrative about their career that makes them stand out.
Post #1420636
Posted Friday, February 15, 2013 10:01 AM


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Eric M Russell (2/15/2013)Everyone needs a narrative about their career that makes them stand out.


i agree, but the problem with that many times is that narrative turns out to be total BS.


"Technology is a weird thing. It brings you great gifts with one hand, and it stabs you in the back with the other. ..."
Post #1420649
Posted Friday, February 15, 2013 10:20 AM


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TravisDBA (2/15/2013)
Eric M Russell (2/15/2013)Everyone needs a narrative about their career that makes them stand out.


i agree, but the problem with that many times is that narrative turns out to be total BS.


Even if the narrative turns out to be BS most of the time, it's not necessarily a problem, if you discover it during the interview. For those candidates who manage to BS their way into a position, they can be motivated (or coerced by threat of termination) to live up their resume.
Post #1420666
Posted Friday, February 15, 2013 11:40 AM


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jhgoodwin (2/14/2013)
It is difficult to stand out in resume form.

I think the simplest way to think about it is that your resume isn't simply a checkmark task. It is a marketing product. As such, it should do the best job possible of accomplishing it's job - getting you an in person interview. Spell check it, check your margins, make sure the order makes sense, look for competing ones you like, and copy the elements you like, so on.


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Post #1420703
Posted Friday, February 15, 2013 1:55 PM


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Eric M Russell (2/15/2013)
TravisDBA (2/15/2013)
Eric M Russell (2/15/2013)Everyone needs a narrative about their career that makes them stand out.


i agree, but the problem with that many times is that narrative turns out to be total BS.


Even if the narrative turns out to be BS most of the time, it's not necessarily a problem, if you discover it during the interview. For those candidates who manage to BS their way into a position, they can be motivated (or coerced by threat of termination) to live up their resume.


Maybe it works that way in the private sector, but in the government sector it is much more difficult to get rid of someone for that reason after they have already been hired. Even if there is a probation period, you have to have more than just saying "they are not living up to their resume". That's too vague. Particularly, if that person happens to be a minority. Now, if on the otherhand, they do not pass the background check or the drug test results don't come back until two weeks later, then that is a much different story. That is a clear cut reason for termination. It's just the way the government works nowadays and many times it is not always discovered in the interview either.. Coercing someone by threating to terminate them if they "don't live up to their resume" is considered harassment in the government sector and that can set them up for a lawsuit. Again, this is particularly so if the person in question is a minority.


"Technology is a weird thing. It brings you great gifts with one hand, and it stabs you in the back with the other. ..."
Post #1420749
Posted Friday, February 15, 2013 2:30 PM


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TravisDBA (2/15/2013)
Eric M Russell (2/15/2013)
TravisDBA (2/15/2013)
Eric M Russell (2/15/2013)Everyone needs a narrative about their career that makes them stand out.


i agree, but the problem with that many times is that narrative turns out to be total BS.


Even if the narrative turns out to be BS most of the time, it's not necessarily a problem, if you discover it during the interview. For those candidates who manage to BS their way into a position, they can be motivated (or coerced by threat of termination) to live up their resume.


Maybe it works that way in the private sector, but in the government sector it is much more difficult to get rid of someone for that reason after they have already been hired. Even if there is a probation period, you have to have more than just saying "they are not living up to their resume". That's too vague. Particularly, if that person happens to be a minority. Now, if on the otherhand, they do not pass the background check or the drug test results don't come back until two weeks later, then that is a much different story. That is a clear cut reason for termination. It's just the way the government works nowadays and many times it is not always discovered in the interview either.. Coercing someone by threating to terminate them if they "don't live up to their resume" is considered harassment in the government sector and that can set them up for a lawsuit. Again, this is particularly so if the person in question is a minority.

I spent a few years on an IT consulting gigs for a federal agency. The staff are typically career government employees and / or have university degrees in scientific or government administration. If they want to hire someone for a specific project and set of technical skills, like building a data warehouse or website design, then it makes sense for them to farm it out to contractors. It's more economical in the long run, and for the reasons you've mentioned above, a lot easier to scale back team members if they don't measure up for some reason.
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