How To Interview–A Quick Guide

SQL Server Best Practices
SQL Server Best Practices
This post was originally going to be called “Interview Dos and Dont’s” but I didn’t want it to get confused with interviewing on DOS, or to start a grammar war on the use of Do’s or Dos.

I had the chance to interview a couple of candidates for a senior developer position today. Each one of the interviewees had greater than 12 years experience in developing for SQL Server. Each one of the interviewees had different styles in the interview process.

Rather than focus on specific questions and answers in this post I actually want to look at how each candidate handled themselves in general and in response to questions. All the interviews here were performed by our DBA team of three people.

Candidate 1

The first interviewee had a great deal of experience and was already seated when we walked in the room. Rather than stand and greet everyone the candidate stayed in his chair and just reached out his hand. Not a good start.

I figure that everyone has a quick 30 second “this is what I can do” spiel, and so that was the first thing asked. In that situation I would expect someone to give a very brief overview of their knowledge and experience. For some unknown reason this person decided to give a life biography in a rather condescending manner.

Technical questions followed. Each one of those was met with the kind of attitude that indicated “I’m better than you”. Many of the answers were wrong. When asking for clarification on answers we were frequently met with a wave of the hand and “I don’t really know”.

At one point a question was asked and the follow up used some obvious logic to disprove the original answer. At this point I would expect the candidate to change one of the answers. They didn’t. A new and third answer appeared that completely (apparently) disproved the logic. Pretty stunning.

After what was an all too long period of interviewing this person, we let them go and moved on to the next person.

Candidate 2

Our second victim interviewee immediately stood and greeted us when we walked in. He had a nervous smile on his face as he shook hands and introduced himself.

The elevator pitch went ok and there was none of the obnoxious behavior the first candidate. Then we started in on the tech questions and things started going a little sour.

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