Hiring for SharePoint
Hiring SharePoint resources always seems to pose a bit of a challenge. With the enormous uptake that SharePoint has had in major companies, it seems that there is always a shortage of talent. Like any technology talent shortage, many folks are starting to dabble in SharePoint. This leaves hiring managers with a dilemma: How do you separate the SharePoint veterans from those just starting out? Here are a few indicators.
A mistake that many SharePoint newcomers make is declaring themselves a "SharePoint Expert.? Typically, those that have been in the industry long enough to know SharePoint also know that SharePoint is an extremely broad product. It is very difficult, if not impossible, to be a SharePoint Expert in all aspects of it. There are many folks who are SharePoint branding experts, performance optimization experts, workflow experts, etc. There are very few who can claim the well-rounded SharePoint Expert title.
SharePoint has an ever-growing community of professionals working together to improve their skills and knowledge of SharePoint. The community events range from YamJams to user group meetings to SharePoint Saturdays. A candidate that is invested in SharePoint typically understands the value of the SharePoint community and has likely taken steps to be a part of the community. Many candidates aren't going to attend every user group meeting or volunteer at every SharePoint Saturday, but having knowledge of what is going on in your local SharePoint community is important and will likely give your candidate a group of folks to reach out to if they are stuck on an issue.
SharePoint is a rapidly changing product. SharePoint 2007 and SharePoint 2013 are light years apart in many aspects. Candidates who have worked with SharePoint within the last few years may be better suited to pick up where they left off than someone who has not worked with SharePoint since 2009. This is, of course, subject to the above suggestions. Someone who is active in the community may be well suited for the job even if they haven't had any enterprise level experience in the last several years.
There is no replacement for talking to candidates to really get a feel for what they know and don't know. Hopefully these indicators will help guide that conversation and make it as productive as possible. There are always exceptions to the rule: Not every qualified SharePoint candidate will fulfill these indicators, and not everyone that fulfills these indicators will be a qualified candidate. These are simply a few indicators that I look at when hiring for SharePoint talent.
Brian Prigge is a SharePoint Architect with RAMP, where he leads the implementation of RAMP's suite of video hosting, search and discovery solutions into custom SharePoint integrations.