SharePoint Interview Questions: Learning the Tech and Terminology

sharepoint interview questionsOnboarding computer experts puts many recruiters and hiring managers in a tough position. How do you find the right candidate when everything they say sounds like techno-babble? Which applicants really understand how your company needs to implement SharePoint applications? Do you need to hire an architect or a developer? Before creating a set of questions for interviewees, you need to know what you are looking for.

The Difference between Architects and Developers

If you need to build a network from the ground up or want to upgrade to a newer version of SharePoint, you need an architect. Someone who can map and implement an entire working structure for your network. If you need to manage information flow and create internal applications for workflow solutions, you need a developer. Developers are more commonly brought on board for long-term positions, and these sample questions focus on the development side of the SharePoint equation.

Formulating Questions

Start with the basics. What is the most important task facing your new hire? Most development related questions deal with streamlining workflows, so start with that.

Sample Question #1

What SharePoint development tool works best to create custom workflows?

A candidate that jumps right to SharePoint Designer as an answer may not be well-versed on building complex workflows. The more thoughtful candidate will include a reference to Visual Studio, which allows the workflow to be installed at multiple locations and can include more than 20 steps in the workflow process. Additionally, only Visual Studio allows for workflow to move back and forth between status changes. Using SharePoint Designer, work only moves forward through states, never backward. This can be problematic when you need to send something backward in the process. The SharePoint 2010 Development Tutorial covers the new tools offered through Visual Studio, along with many other additions to the 2010 software product.

Sample Question #2

How would you handle a bulk upload?

If a candidate ever suggests uploading directly to SharePoint databases, you can quickly eliminate them from your hiring pool. Even a brief introductory course, like SharePoint 2010 Introduction, covers the use of libraries and lists for data management. Uploading directly to SharePoint databases is very much like doing your own oil changes on a brand new car. It might be faster and more convenient in the short-term, but in the long-term it voids your warranty. Microsoft offers absolutely no support when you directly modify a SharePoint database.

Sample Question #3

What are some of the key differences between SharePoint 2007 and 2010?

Any candidate that is truly a SharePoint expert will immediately mention some of the new tools introduced in 2010. For example:

  • Service Applications
  • Business Connectivity Services
  • Claims Based Authentication
  • Sandboxed Solutions
  • Developer Dashboard
  • Throttling and List Controls

Learn more with a quick Introduction to SharePoint 2007.

Understanding Your Hiring Needs

These sample questions can help you weed out candidates that only have passing knowledge of SharePoint, but to truly find an ideal hire, you need to understand how SharePoint can integrate with your company. A SharePoint 2010 Training Course teaches you how to use the software to improve collaboration and workflow within your organization. This will help you formulate questions that are specific to your company and goals.