Just a week ago, we asked who wanted to work with Brent Ozar Unlimited. We talked about our benefits, our health check approach with clients, and our plans for Employee #1. The emails came in fast and furious, and we are completely floored and honored by the number of people who wanted to work with us. You people rock.
Early on, one factor helped weed out a lot of resumes: community participation. We wanted people who were so passionate and excited about SQL Server that they blogged and presented even when they weren’t being paid to do it.
Some emails started out with, “I haven’t been blogging or presenting, but I promise I’ll start once you hire me.” We just can’t recommend enough that you get started giving back to the community today in whatever form that excites you the most. Your online presence is your new resume. If you want a fun day job working with fun people, start by doing it after hours, and the day job will follow.
Several candidates fit the technical know-how and community participation requirements, and then we started narrowing ‘em down. Had we seen them present? Had we talked to them at user group meetings? Had we read – nay, subscribed to – their blogs?
Coffee-drinking candidates got bonus points if their animated behavior got us excited about technology. We like to think that we’re pretty lively geeks, but some folks out there are so upbeat and fun that we just want to spend more time with ‘em. Being in a small business, this kind of chemistry is so important. It’s not like we can go to one of our other coworkers and complain – it’s just the four of us! We can’t tolerate a whiny pessimist at this scale.
Hiring just one of the applicants was hard: even with our picky personalities, we were just overwhelmed by the number of people we wanted to hire. Every time an email came in, we’d DM each other and say things like, “Wow, I can’t believe so-and-so applied! Any employer would be honored to get ‘em, and I would totally hire them right now.”
Ultimately, the decision boiled down to making an investment in someone. We wanted to hire someone that could grow along with us as our company grows, someone that we knew would be a continuous source of fresh ideas about technology.
Let me start by introducing Employee #1 without giving her name. (See, there’s a clue – she’s a her.)
The first time Kendra saw our new hire speak was to a group of 50 people. The session was on a 200 level topic, and our new hire knew her subject front to back, and then some. She had a few authors in the audience who’ve been writing advanced books and designing solutions in her subject area for many years– and yeah, it’s a great sign that these folks wanted to see her speak! At one point, an audience member asked a 500 level question which was outside of the session’s scope. She gave a brief answer and started to move on, but the authors in the audience wanted to offer opinions. And then these authors started to talk loudly to each other. Letting this go on would have completely taken the focus away from the original topic and confused the rest of the audience.
Zillions of people would freeze up at this point. Our new hire had no trouble: she held the floor with a big smile and a friendly joke and quickly scheduled an in-depth conversation on the secondary subject after the session was over. She had everyone laughing- including the authors- and was back in business with all of her original excitement. The audience was truly with her and actively learning. Kendra was seriously impressed.
But there’s more to our new hire than just great teaching skills. She has the type of experience that’s perfect for consulting. She started out in systems administration, so she has the foundational knowledge of how operating systems, storage, and network that we use in performance tuning. She’s taken on database administration in large and small environments, she’s worked with SANs and tiered storage. She has a degree in programming, and is naturally drawn to tuning whole systems: everything from the storage to the application layer.
Oh wait, there’s more!
Reporting caught her eye early on and she’s written about SQL Server Reporting Services. We’re thrilled that our first hire is as diverse as the rest of us – she’s interested in learning, presenting, writing, SQL Server, and Reporting. Finding two of these things in one person is a feat. Finding all of them in someone is just plain exciting.
Less Than Dot has been hosting her blog for a while now and it has been exciting to watch her blog change over time. She has covered wide variety of topics with clarity. Her passion and excitement shine through in her writing.
At this point, I’m sure you’re anxious to find out who we hired. We were really excited when we made the choice. We wanted to tell everyone, but we managed to keep it a secret until her employer made the announcement internally.
New jobs are big changes for a lot of people. We’re incredibly excited to be starting this big change with her. We know that our first hire will jump right in. That’s part of why we knew we had to hire her – she’s excited and passionate about SQL Server, technology, and her hobbies.
Don’t think that we’re all about work over here. Our first hire is interested in more than just SQL Server. She was one of the first #SQLRunners in the Portland Half Marathon and she’s training for her first full marathon. If you’re a big fan of cheering, you can catch her (from the sidelines, of course) at the Wisconsin Marathon on May 5 in Kenosha, WI.