T-SQL Tuesday #54–Interviews and hiring

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This is my first participation with T-SQL Tuesday, so hopefully my article will add to the discussion and get you thinking about how you hire or how you think about hiring.

I am on a mailing list that quite funnily enough only a couple of days ago the question around hiring came up. So with Boris Hristov invitation (@BorisHristov), I figured this would be a good time for me to put my first #tsql2sday article.

Like many of you reading this article I have been in quite a few interviews, and maybe this may give you a couple of different angles of approach for the next time you need to go to market to get your next SQL Server professional.

How do you know you are ready to hire? What is the driving factor for you to go to market? These are are a couple of the questions that I feel need to be considered when you hit this point in time. A couple of driving factors that can cause you to need to go to market might be:

  1. A current employee moving on
  2. An increase workloads needing extra staff
  3. You have reached the point that you do need a SQL Professional
  4. Starting a new project that requires SQL Server experience

Like a lot of questions they can lead you to more questions and these should lead you to thinking about further questions. All of these questions are helping you identify and put together your requirements that your candidate needs to posses and bring to your company or project. Some of the questions you may now be thinking of are:

  1. What skill level do I need? (Junior, Intermediate, Senior)
  2. What is the position for? (BI, DBA, Developer, Combination)
  3. What versions are to be known?
  4. What potential vendor tools are used?
  5. Employment type? (Contract, FTE)

Now that you have more an idea on your requirements you are closer to being able to start the hiring process. At this point in time I have been through a number of varying situations when it came to interviews. Everyone knows that interviews can be daunting for candidates and sometimes during the interview process the candidate is so nervous that they come across as not being a good fit for the position. This is another factor you need to look at with regards to the type of position you are looking to fill. Some of the Interview scenarios I have been in are:

  1. Meet & Greet over beer in the pub
  2. Initial telephone screening interviews
  3. Formal review board interviews
  4. Technical interviews
  5. Online technical exam interview (Pre-screening)
  6. Casual chat over coffee
  7. Job offers with no interviews

The type of interview style I believe comes down to the style of position being hired for, your own technical knowledge, your position in regards to the position being hired & and the actual candidate being interviewed. For example a Job offer without an interview comes from experience and reputation. This would not likely to be used for a junior position.

Regardless of the skill level you are looking for, you more than likely want to have some questions to help you gauge the candidates ability not only technically, but also how they are going to fit into your team or company.

I hope that this has led you to start thinking a little differently to your approach to tackling this task in any upcoming hiring scenarios.


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I am a Microsoft Data Platform MVP as well as a Microsoft Certified Master working as the Principal Consultant here at SQL Masters Consulting. When I am not working with the SQL Server Stack I like to get away to the Snow and spend time Snowboarding.