The Best Consulting Gig Ever

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Before I knew anything about anything, I signed up for a site called Elance. It’s a reverse auction site for contract/consulting type work. From seeing the prices on the site, I can’t imagine the quality of service is very high, and probably ends up with questions getting asked like “Do you have any MSSQL instances running on Linux?” (oops, that happened at my real job today). Anyway, I hadn’t paid any mind to Elance in years, but I got an email this morning saying that someone had invited to submit a proposal for a “DBA Performance Architect” role. Since the title looked interesting I read the email.

DBA Performance Architect

Fixed price: Less than $500  |  Database Development  |  Posted: Apr 19, 2012
  some guy,    United Arab Emirates
XYZ LLC requires all candidates to complete a 1 week test assignment as part of our interview process. You will be paid for the test assignment ONLY if we decide to hire you based on the test assignment results. If we decide not to hire you, there will be no payment made. 

The XYZ LLC DBA Performance Architect role pays $30/hr ($1200 fixed price payment if your trial performance leads to a successful hire). Please note that we require signup or an existing affiliation with an approved staffing and payment platform that charges a percentage fee on your gross earnings that will impact your net payment.

The XYZ LLC DBA Performance Architect position is based around improving application performance by improving the performance of the database. Job includes increasing database performance through, database deployment and configuration, optimizing SQL and stored procedures, indexing and schema based optimization, and database tools optimization.

This role requires experience with Oracle, Postgres, Microsoft SQL Server, SQL, stored procedures, mysql.

In addition, this role has the following non-technical requirements

English – all candidates must be able to speak and write capably in English. English need not be the native first language, but it should be sufficient to enable technical discussion.
Video – candidates must have the computer hardware and networking bandwidth to conduct a seamless video skype conversation for team communication. Ongoing use of webcam for billing and skype video are required.
Full Time – This job is only offered for a Full Time basis (40 hrs/wk).

Qualification for this role begins with an unpaid testing phase where candidates are required to provide verifiable identification, complete online skills testing, and attend a brief Skype video interview. The testing phase lasts for no more than a week, and highly motivated candidates can complete all requirements of the testing phase within a few hours.

Candidates who pass our testing phase will be offered a one week fixed price trial assignment. Candidates who successfully complete our trial assignment within the given time frame will be offered the full time position at 40 hrs/wk at the jobs hourly rate. Those who show progress and dedication during the trial phase but fail to complete the assignment successfully may be offered an alternate position within XYZ LLC.

If interested, simply click “Apply for this Position” below.
Added 18 MAY 2012, 14:55 PM EDT
The pay rate for United States citizens and permanent residents is $24/hr to cover W-2 processing.

There are just so many things wrong with this I don’t know where to start. A one week free trial phase to make sure I know what I’m doing, and this only for a one week fixed priced assignment (at < $500). Wow, and then they only are paying $30/hr, oh wait you’re in the US make that $24/hr. I can barely hire someone who can turn on a computer for that in the US—much less someone who knows Oracle, Microsoft SQL Server and Postgres. Also, I have the distinct feeling that if you were to resolve their performance issues in the first unpaid testing week, then surprise you don’t pass the test assignment, and you fixed their problems for free.

I’ve seen some really crappy job postings in the past, but this one takes the cake. Good luck hiring for this XYZ.

4 thoughts on “The Best Consulting Gig Ever

  1. Karen Lopez (@datachick)

    Wow. I’m thinking they are having “candidates” tune apps and databases for their clients…for free. At the end, they get a week of work out of the applicants, but at most have to pay them $500 (or$1200). That is pretty much what most architects with this skill (cross platform) make in an hour or so.

    The worrisome part is what would their clients think if they knew some person with no skills was touching their production systems?

    This just scares the indexes off me. Seriously. The person accessing your production systems could be doing this just to get at the data…who cares if they get paid for the tuning? Or even do any tuning?

    1. jdanton1


      Agreed completely–the fact that the rate is off by an order of 10x is one thing, but the week long “test” is an insult to any qualified candidate. I didn’t even think about the piracy issues–what a great point. If I don’t get paid, I’ll just sell of the creditcardaccounts table.


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