How to hire a Systems Administrator

The job market is bullish for System Administrators and their ilk. I see new job postings daily and recruiters have been contacting me through LinkedIn and my blog for awhile. Unfortunately most of the job postings are horrible. Just flat out bad.

How to write a BAD sysadmin job posting:

1. Include every acronym known to IT

I have seen posting that include every acronym possible: DNS, DHCP, FTP, EGREP, OSPF, LMNOP. This is not helpful. If the position requires a more capable sysadmin, just say you are looking for a jack-of-all-trades. We are out there. I started out doing everything. Some people prefer variety from their work demands.

This is also exacerbated by sysadmin resumes. In an effort to land every possible interview resumes include whatever can catch HR or a recruiter’s eye.

2. Unrealistic expectations

You are not going to find someone who is an expert web designer and apache tomcat ace. Sysadmins are great dabblers, we love to try out new technologies. So there is a good chance that if an applicant has some experience it is cursory, and if they don’t they can probably teach themselves in short order.

Don’t expect a 10 year veteran to do helpdesk duty. Completely unrealistic.

3. No salary range or ridiculous salary ranges

Unless you are Google, Facebook, or a NYC Investment firm, I need to know you are going to pay me commensurate with my abilities. The aforementioned get a pass on street cred. I am not going to apply for your job unless I know the pay will match or exceed my current position.

You get what you pay for. If you think you are going to hire the next Ninja Sysadmin paying hourly, you need to reset your expectations. This is an issue that arises because “everyone’s nephew knows computers.” The devaluation of our profession due to amateurs is real. No one goes to amateur doctors, don’t let a hack touch your production network.

There are more, but that is all I have time for today boys and girls. I will try to dig up some examples from craigslist or listservs.