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Online Candidate Knowledge Testing Tools

Posted on 2014-04-18
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2014-04-28
Looking for recommendations on tool to validate candidates knowledge supporting Microsoft Environment, IE Server 20008R2, Exchange 2007, SQL20008R2

(Visual Studio 2010-2012, ASP.Net, ASP, TSQL, SQL, XML, VBScript, Visual Basic, PowerShell, HTML), reporting tools (Crystal Reports,  Microsoft SQL Server Analysis Services, SSAS, SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS), Microsoft BI) on a .net platform.
Question by:ITSupport444
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LVL 47

Accepted Solution

David earned 1000 total points
ID: 40010020
why not just require them to have the MSFT certs?  Then it isn't your problem, it is a requirement for employment.

If you like somebody that does not have the certification then tell them the job is theirs once they pass the test ... and do the right thing and pay for the test.
LVL 64

Expert Comment

ID: 40010024
brainbench - summary of various test online (search"Windows" in page below)

I also agreed with expert on certification as this is really ascertain the vigour and determination of candidate, furthermore getting to maintain the latest version.

Windows Server certifications
- http://www.microsoft.com/learning/en-us/windows-server-certification.aspx
Microsoft SQL Server certifications
- http://www.microsoft.com/learning/en-us/sql-certification.aspx
Microsoft Exchange Server certifications
- http://www.microsoft.com/learning/en-us/exchange-server-certification.aspx

SQL Server 2008 Microsoft Certified Master (MCM) Readiness
LVL 47

Expert Comment

ID: 40010274
.. and let me add, don't give them more than a few days window to pass the test.  You don't want to give them enough time to buy the courseware at a bookstore and cram for it.  The expectation is that they know the material and just need a little bit of time for a refresh.

If you know the material it is plenty of time.   If they balk and say no, then this is an indication of the  nature of their character and you should eliminate them as a prospective employee for their unwillingness to do what it takes to make sure a job is done.

So don't so much look at this as a test of their knowledge, look at it as a test of their character.   [Anybody with a good memory and only basic knowledge can pass most of those tests with as little as a week of preparation, and they won't be somebody who could do a job in the real world]
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LVL 64

Expert Comment

ID: 40010364
yap agree, some really good passionate and technical deep dive folks are not chaser for certificate but the experience in this fields (esp troubleshooting and setup) and strong inquisitive mindset, put them apart from the "normal" pack of candidates. If need to have them even draw out in whiteboarding style the typical Enterprise architecture and running through (a) what is the traditional architecture (b) How it evolved and tier-ed (c) what are Microsoft key assets (c) (if possible) why MS (d) what are the main limitation
LVL 47

Expert Comment

ID: 40010595
.. and then the type of thing that separates the script kiddies from the talented people who care is to pull up the release notes of a major service pack and ask them a simple question that only somebody who reads release notes would know,  like to describe the documentation format?   I'd choose the last SQL service pack for SQL2008R2.   Any decent sysadmin will take the time to read the gotchas on service packs at least.
LVL 64

Expert Comment

ID: 40010855
yap and if they the experienced has their personal checklist already built from years of trial and deployment that also proof your worth, you can get baseline generic one but not those with nuances on areas to focus like securing the systems, account mgmt, interconnectivity to external systems "wary" etc
LVL 30

Expert Comment

by:Rich Weissler
ID: 40011411
I tend to disagree with the idea that an experienced IT person can review the material and take the Microsoft Certification exams in a few days.  It's probably possible for 74-409, which is just a specialist exam in Microsoft Virtualization, or the MTA levels.  Very, very few people I've ever worked with use all the features of the products they use, and the exams have a very wide scope.  (The SQL MCSA, for example, tests for basic Query knowledge (which everyone should have), basic development and administration (which isn't too much to ask), but also tests for Business Intelligence... which tends to be a little specialized.))  Once upon a time, it was common to buy the course-ware books and pass the test just reading the books.  The tests have changed, and are oriented towards having the knowledge and as much as possible testing for experience.

I will say that the suggestion for the Brainbench exams is a pretty good one. (Disclosure:  I've been a consultant for, and written or validated several Brainbench tests, spread over the last dozen years.) Brainbench has grown a lot over the last two decades or so.  You should be able to sit a candidate down in your office and let them take a test as part of an interview process if you like.  Basic knowledge of a topic will result in a basic pass, but advanced knowledge should also result in passing with a 'Master' notation.
LVL 64

Expert Comment

ID: 40011818
we know and should already know thatbhaving certification is not enough. I have no dispute or disagreement on that but to differentiate the pool of candidates there must be some optimal means to sieve out the potential ones from the pool. sometimes HR does that before reaching the actual ICT folks.

Nonetheless eventually face to face and probation still remains...ad mentioned it is not knowledge rich that counts but the attitude and experience gained that helps to differentiate in final pick. no sure foolproof to say the best candidate but we should not be far off from worst. always not to forget background check on integrity of personnel

Author Comment

ID: 40027489
Thank you for your comments and insights. It has been very helpful.

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