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Hiring A DBA


Hiring A DBA

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Chris Shaw
Chris Shaw
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Comments posted to this topic are about the content posted at http://www.sqlservercentral.com/columnists/cshaw/hiringadba.asp



sheepoo
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Chris,
A very informative article indeed!
We once interviewed a guy who was the Vice President of the local SQL Server Users Group. The resume was a perfect match for the position we had posted. Unfortunately, the person turned out to be a 'dud' when we interveiwed him on a more technical level.
Overall, I would say that hiring is a definitely more art than science
R Martin Ladner
R Martin Ladner
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Thanks for your article; it's applicable to hiring for any position. I especially liked your advice to list things you need done in the next month and in the next six months. As you pointed out, it helps you know what you need and helps a new worker set priorities. It also helps you make your case to higher management to get the job funded properly. Yours, =Marty=


Regards,

R Martin Ladner
futureec.com
John Scarborough
John Scarborough
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>> Watch to see if they make or keep eye contact. Are they more interested in the map on the wall behind you? I specifically interview in a room in our office that has a really neat picture of Earth. I want to see what they are more interested in, the interview or the photo.

Many IT people won't make eye contact. You can lose a really good candidate because they wouldn't make eye contact, and they focused on the "neat picture". This emphasis on socialization trivia (eye contact), in a technical field involving a heck of a lot of asocial "geeks", if you will, is not only a waste of time, but a good way to lose proficient candidates.

>> Look to see if their clothes are pressed and clean

Completely irrelevant (in IT). Some of the most brilliant, productive IT staff I've worked with wouldn't know a clothes iron if it hit them in the head.



John Scarborough
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This is a good article. I was an Oracle Developer 10 years ago and then a company hired me as a SQL Server developer. The manager and I both thought SQL was SQL, what's the difference? Of course we were both wrong. I also interviewed with the DBA of that company at that time, he seemed to be a nice guy. After I started the job, I found out SQL Server developer was totally different. The DBA was a very knowlegable guy but he was rude, unprofessional and yelled at you liked you were a garbage. Since I was new at SQL server, I asked a question. His answer was ' Look at BOL, I don't have time to answer all the stupid questions'. Whatever you did , you had to do his way or no way. You were not allowed to create, you had to follow his instructions. The manager was totally on his side because she had no clue about database, she was totally relied on him. They hired another DBA who argued with him, the result the new DBA was fired.

http://www.sqlservercentral.com/columnists/bknight/dbaroles.asp

This was an article about DBA job. Basically I had to do all of them except installing SQL Server and disaster recovering. I had to say I learnt a lot but after two years of mentally abusing, I had to quit because I was at the edge of a nervous break down.

After I found another job as SQL Server programmer, I found out I did a lot of the DBA work. I even knew more than the DBA of that company (it was a little pathetic.) This was due to two years of SQL Server boot camp.

But my point is the DBA's attitude is very important too. That company’s developer turnover rate was very high probably because of the DBA’s abuse. Knowledge is important, you have to hire someone knowing how to do the job but at the same time you have to find someone that can fit into your company and can work with other people.


Stephen J Cunningham
Stephen J Cunningham
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Great article with insightful points to be borne in mind for both employer *and* potential employee.

I have to strongly disagree with the sentiment that clothes being pressed and clean is irrelevant in IT. Consider a situation where you are down to the last two potential candidates: both have equal technical knowledge and ability. One is smart and presentable with good business savvy. The other looks like they ironed their clothes with next door’s cat. Who would you choose? You never know when the new recruit will need to represent your company (external client meetings, seminars etc).

All things being equal, presentation may clinch you the deal – well worth the cost of a new shirt and tie and getting your suit dry cleaned. Present yourself the way you want to be seen whenever it’s going to count.


Jon Baker
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I really enjoyed the article, especially having just been part of a hiring process. I blogged a response here

http://www.sqljunkies.com/WebLog/outerjoin/archive/2006/06/19/21960.aspx

Jon Baker


Tom Holden-248075
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I enjoyed the part about listing the tasks for the next 30 days and the tasks for the next 180 days. What a great way to focus. That might have seemed obvious but I won't quickly forget it. If I'm on the other side of the table I might ask them the same question - what's on the plate?
Mike C
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Good article, although I do disagree with one point you made:

"If the candidate has had one position in the last ten years and the employment was continuous, than that resume may float to the top of my pile."

Presumably the opposite is also true; those who have had more than one position over the past ten years sink to the bottom of your pile. You can lose some well-qualified candidates with a policy like that. In my personal situation, I was called up for active duty military service a couple of times in the past which caused disruptions in my civilian employment history. Additionally I spent quite a bit of time doing short-term contract work. You're going to increasingly find people with breaks in their employment history and job changes as military personnel are released from active duty over the next few years to return to the work force.

With the "one job in ten years" policy I'm sure my resume would at the very bottom of the pile and I'd probably never get an opportunity to pass your interview with flying colors. I suppose if I were doing the hiring, I would not immediately discard a resume just because the candidate has held more than one position within the last ten years... Personally I would ask why the person has held more than one position before I made a rush to judgment...


Joan DuNard
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Chris,

Very good article. Thank you. I am a veteran Headhunter in IT and I agree with some other's comments that much of your advise is relevant to any interview.

I especially liked your coach to grade the interviews. You will forget by Interview #4 in the day what Interview #1 said and you'll have a tendancy to choose the last great impression - which ever that was and it may not be your best candidate.

I would add that using assessments across the board in a company can assist in hiring success. The company measures 3-4 of their stars of the last 1-2 years employees and uses them as a measuring stick - then assesses new candidates. This take the hunch or gut feel out of those final cut decisions. Statistically they have proven that only 14% of hires are successful using traditional methods, whereas, 85% of hires are successful using a plan and assessments.

Thanks for the excellent article. I hope some folks use your advise.

OH - I do agree with Mike C about not putting the 10 year employment stint at the top of the pile. I have one client who has 25 years of the same experience!
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