Wednesday, January 11, 2006

An Open Letter to SharePoint Recruiters

I get a lot of emails from recruiters looking for SharePoint resources. I welcome every message and try my best to connect the people I know with each opportunity that comes my way. One thing that I see over and over again is a job requirement that demands top-notch coding skills alongside advanced design/customization/deployment/project management knowledge. This is like asking the guy at GM who designed your SUV to also be the mechanic - they are two completely separate disciplines and anyone who claims to be good at both is going to be horrible at each one.

When was the last time you saw an architect framing a house and doing the brickwork? Or a graphic designer building a server farm? Or a nurse doing brain surgery?

Software architects and software developers have completely different skill sets. Yes, some skills overlap to a small degree, and knowledge of one discipline can make you better at the other, but to be really good at something you have to focus on that skill to the detriment of all others. I don’t write code not because I can’t but because there are people out there who can program circles around me with their eyes closed - but ask those same superstar developers to manage an end-to-end portal implementation or do all the design and customization work to take a project from mock-up to production and you’ll get that deer-in-the-headlights look. They’ll tell you straight up that’s not what they do, that’s what architects and designers do. And if they don’t then they are a) lying and b) bad developers. Don’t hire them. Period.

So please, to every recruiter out there, stop trying to shoe-horn two bodies into a single position - it won’t work and your client will definitely not be happy with the result. If you get a requisition with this type of ridiculous stipulation it’s your job to tell the hiring manager that he/she needs two experts, not one, and you’ll be happy to go find them both. Let people do what they do best - good personnel placement is about fitting round pegs into round holes not drilling out bigger holes to make room for triangles, squares and octagons.