Understanding What is Critical in a Job Position

Ryan Garaygay

VP of Engineering at Acquia



"We hired an SQL database administrator who would also be doing some coding. He was personable, had a very good attitude and was willing to learn. However, there was one big issue: he would panic in highly critical situations and make mistakes which had an impact on the business. It occurred once, and at the time I thought that maybe it was an accident and that it wouldn't happen again."

Actions taken

"The second time a badly handled critical situation happened, I had a more serious conversation with him and designed a process to help him. He acknowledged his deficiencies and we brainstormed how to build his confidence. These events were also discussed at a higher level, as we needed someone who was capable of handling critical situations. However, we could not afford a dedicated new hire at that time. Eventually, we had to terminate his contract. It was a tough conversation as he was a really nice person to work with and he finally found a job with less critical tasks."

Lessons learned

"This episode made me realize that I had made several mistakes. First, the job description we had published was unclear, as it mixed two jobs (SQL database engineer and Developer) which required different overlapping skills. Secondly, during the hiring process, we hadn't tested the ability of candidates to deal with stressful situations. We have learned from this and have now integrated this aspect into our hiring process."

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Ryan Garaygay

VP of Engineering at Acquia

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