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Are the posted questions getting worse? Expand / Collapse
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Posted Tuesday, October 29, 2013 12:35 PM


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Stefan Krzywicki (10/29/2013)
Sean Lange (10/29/2013)
Ed Wagner (10/29/2013)
Sean Lange (10/29/2013)
Chad Crawford (10/29/2013)
We use the scale of 1-10 to help give us an idea of how tough to start the interview questions, but we usually give the scaling factor at the beginning - 0=I've never heard of that before, 10=I wrote it. Anyone who responds with 9 or 10 should be able to answer any trivial or obscure question we can come up with. We've had people give us a 0 or 1 before and it was a quick way to skip over that part of the interview. I like it because you can go through several technologies or areas very quickly and from the answers determine which areas you want to talk more about (the ones ranked high) and which areas there is no need to talk about (the ones ranked low).


That sounds like a great approach. As long you do skip those areas with a low ranking.

My wife went to an interview right out of school and they asked her what she knew about n-tier architecture. She replied something along the lines of "I am sort of familiar with it as a concept but have not had any real experience implementing it". They took that in stride since she was a recent grad, then proceeded to grill her for the next hour over n-tier methodologies. Yet she still took the job...she is still there nearly 15 years later and is one of the managers of the entire development group now.

So is she now in a position where she gets to conduct better interviews than she received? Personally, I always enjoyed being interviewed by a developer or DBA so much more than people who don't know the technology.


Yes she conducts most of the interviews now. Although her technical skills are not like they used to be. She hasn't written a single line of code probably 3-4 years and nothing full time coding for closer to 5-6. I agree though that being interviewed by technical person usually goes a bit smoother because you speak the same language.


I actually like being interviewed by non-technical managers. It gives me more freedom to talk about what I've done and what I do without answering extra-specific questions I'd probably look up the answers to in the workplace. I can show my approach and my communication skills that way.
Some of the technical people I've been interviewed by have focused on utterly unimportant trivia like syntax or noticing trick questions. One interview I was on around 4 years ago we spent half the interview with me brainstorming how to fix or approach a weird problem. At the end of it, when I hadn't come up with a solution he liked I asked what the correct solution was. He answered "I have no idea, this has been stumping us for months. We had a Microsoft expert come in last week and he couldn't figure it out either."
I've never had my time wasted like that by a non-technical person, but it happens more frequently than I'd like with the technical interviewers.


That is a case where people use "interviews" as free consulting. I have heard of that being done but never been involved in one. I have even heard that there are people like that conducting those types if interviews when they don't even actually have an open position.


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Post #1509528
Posted Tuesday, October 29, 2013 12:35 PM


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Post #1509530
Posted Tuesday, October 29, 2013 12:42 PM
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Stefan Krzywicki (10/29/2013)
Sean Lange (10/29/2013)
Ed Wagner (10/29/2013)
Sean Lange (10/29/2013)
Chad Crawford (10/29/2013)
We use the scale of 1-10 to help give us an idea of how tough to start the interview questions, but we usually give the scaling factor at the beginning - 0=I've never heard of that before, 10=I wrote it. Anyone who responds with 9 or 10 should be able to answer any trivial or obscure question we can come up with. We've had people give us a 0 or 1 before and it was a quick way to skip over that part of the interview. I like it because you can go through several technologies or areas very quickly and from the answers determine which areas you want to talk more about (the ones ranked high) and which areas there is no need to talk about (the ones ranked low).


That sounds like a great approach. As long you do skip those areas with a low ranking.

My wife went to an interview right out of school and they asked her what she knew about n-tier architecture. She replied something along the lines of "I am sort of familiar with it as a concept but have not had any real experience implementing it". They took that in stride since she was a recent grad, then proceeded to grill her for the next hour over n-tier methodologies. Yet she still took the job...she is still there nearly 15 years later and is one of the managers of the entire development group now.

So is she now in a position where she gets to conduct better interviews than she received? Personally, I always enjoyed being interviewed by a developer or DBA so much more than people who don't know the technology.


Yes she conducts most of the interviews now. Although her technical skills are not like they used to be. She hasn't written a single line of code probably 3-4 years and nothing full time coding for closer to 5-6. I agree though that being interviewed by technical person usually goes a bit smoother because you speak the same language.


I actually like being interviewed by non-technical managers. It gives me more freedom to talk about what I've done and what I do without answering extra-specific questions I'd probably look up the answers to in the workplace. I can show my approach and my communication skills that way.
Some of the technical people I've been interviewed by have focused on utterly unimportant trivia like syntax or noticing trick questions. One interview I was on around 4 years ago we spent half the interview with me brainstorming how to fix or approach a weird problem. At the end of it, when I hadn't come up with a solution he liked I asked what the correct solution was. He answered "I have no idea, this has been stumping us for months. We had a Microsoft expert come in last week and he couldn't figure it out either."
I've never had my time wasted like that by a non-technical person, but it happens more frequently than I'd like with the technical interviewers.

That's very interesting that you say that because the approach is exactly where I try to get on those rare occasions when I get to conduct an interview. If they know the exact intricacies of every single SQL statement isn't nearly as important to me as the approach taken to solve a problem.



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Best practices on how to ask questions
Post #1509534
Posted Tuesday, October 29, 2013 12:46 PM


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GilaMonster (10/29/2013)
*sigh* More contract work requests in the month since I resigned than in the 4 months prior to that.


Irony at its best




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Post #1509535
Posted Tuesday, October 29, 2013 1:01 PM
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Ed Wagner (10/29/2013)
Stefan Krzywicki (10/29/2013)
Sean Lange (10/29/2013)
Ed Wagner (10/29/2013)
Sean Lange (10/29/2013)
Chad Crawford (10/29/2013)
We use the scale of 1-10 to help give us an idea of how tough to start the interview questions, but we usually give the scaling factor at the beginning - 0=I've never heard of that before, 10=I wrote it. Anyone who responds with 9 or 10 should be able to answer any trivial or obscure question we can come up with. We've had people give us a 0 or 1 before and it was a quick way to skip over that part of the interview. I like it because you can go through several technologies or areas very quickly and from the answers determine which areas you want to talk more about (the ones ranked high) and which areas there is no need to talk about (the ones ranked low).


That sounds like a great approach. As long you do skip those areas with a low ranking.

My wife went to an interview right out of school and they asked her what she knew about n-tier architecture. She replied something along the lines of "I am sort of familiar with it as a concept but have not had any real experience implementing it". They took that in stride since she was a recent grad, then proceeded to grill her for the next hour over n-tier methodologies. Yet she still took the job...she is still there nearly 15 years later and is one of the managers of the entire development group now.

So is she now in a position where she gets to conduct better interviews than she received? Personally, I always enjoyed being interviewed by a developer or DBA so much more than people who don't know the technology.


Yes she conducts most of the interviews now. Although her technical skills are not like they used to be. She hasn't written a single line of code probably 3-4 years and nothing full time coding for closer to 5-6. I agree though that being interviewed by technical person usually goes a bit smoother because you speak the same language.


I actually like being interviewed by non-technical managers. It gives me more freedom to talk about what I've done and what I do without answering extra-specific questions I'd probably look up the answers to in the workplace. I can show my approach and my communication skills that way.
Some of the technical people I've been interviewed by have focused on utterly unimportant trivia like syntax or noticing trick questions. One interview I was on around 4 years ago we spent half the interview with me brainstorming how to fix or approach a weird problem. At the end of it, when I hadn't come up with a solution he liked I asked what the correct solution was. He answered "I have no idea, this has been stumping us for months. We had a Microsoft expert come in last week and he couldn't figure it out either."
I've never had my time wasted like that by a non-technical person, but it happens more frequently than I'd like with the technical interviewers.

That's very interesting that you say that because the approach is exactly where I try to get on those rare occasions when I get to conduct an interview. If they know the exact intricacies of every single SQL statement isn't nearly as important to me as the approach taken to solve a problem.


When I get that approach from a technical interviewer it tends to indicate a great work environment. I had that for my currently ending assignment and it has been a great job here. And I do get that approach from technical people occasionally, just as sometimes I get non-technical people trying hard to do a very technical interview. Like so much, "It depends"


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When you encounter a problem, if the solution isn't readily evident go back to the start and check your assumptions.
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It’s unpleasantly like being drunk.
What’s so unpleasant about being drunk?
You ask a glass of water. -- Douglas Adams
Post #1509536
Posted Tuesday, October 29, 2013 1:20 PM


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Stefan Krzywicki (10/29/2013)
One interview I was on around 4 years ago we spent half the interview with me brainstorming how to fix or approach a weird problem. At the end of it, when I hadn't come up with a solution he liked I asked what the correct solution was. He answered "I have no idea, this has been stumping us for months. We had a Microsoft expert come in last week and he couldn't figure it out either."


I hate that kind of thing. One time it happened, I walked out of the interview as soon as I figured out what they were doing. It's such a low move.



Gail Shaw
Microsoft Certified Master: SQL Server 2008, MVP
SQL In The Wild: Discussions on DB performance with occasional diversions into recoverability

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Post #1509543
Posted Tuesday, October 29, 2013 1:35 PM
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GilaMonster (10/29/2013)
Stefan Krzywicki (10/29/2013)
One interview I was on around 4 years ago we spent half the interview with me brainstorming how to fix or approach a weird problem. At the end of it, when I hadn't come up with a solution he liked I asked what the correct solution was. He answered "I have no idea, this has been stumping us for months. We had a Microsoft expert come in last week and he couldn't figure it out either."


I hate that kind of thing. One time it happened, I walked out of the interview as soon as I figured out what they were doing. It's such a low move.


Yeah, at that point I lost all interest in the job, wouldn't have taken it even had it been offered.


--------------------------------------
When you encounter a problem, if the solution isn't readily evident go back to the start and check your assumptions.
--------------------------------------
It’s unpleasantly like being drunk.
What’s so unpleasant about being drunk?
You ask a glass of water. -- Douglas Adams
Post #1509548
Posted Tuesday, October 29, 2013 1:40 PM


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Stefan Krzywicki (10/29/2013)
One interview I was on around 4 years ago we spent half the interview with me brainstorming how to fix or approach a weird problem. At the end of it, when I hadn't come up with a solution he liked I asked what the correct solution was. He answered "I have no idea, this has been stumping us for months. We had a Microsoft expert come in last week and he couldn't figure it out either."


It happened to me once. I didn't have the answer, but when I got home I suddenly figured out the solution and wrote an email to the person I had been interviewing with.
I got the job and I'm still working there.


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Post #1509552
Posted Tuesday, October 29, 2013 2:02 PM


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Stefan Krzywicki (10/29/2013)
GilaMonster (10/29/2013)
Stefan Krzywicki (10/29/2013)
One interview I was on around 4 years ago we spent half the interview with me brainstorming how to fix or approach a weird problem. At the end of it, when I hadn't come up with a solution he liked I asked what the correct solution was. He answered "I have no idea, this has been stumping us for months. We had a Microsoft expert come in last week and he couldn't figure it out either."


I hate that kind of thing. One time it happened, I walked out of the interview as soon as I figured out what they were doing. It's such a low move.


Yeah, at that point I lost all interest in the job, wouldn't have taken it even had it been offered.


I despise those kinds of interviews. If you have been unable to solve it in months, don't expect free consulting during the interview.




Jason AKA CirqueDeSQLeil
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Posting Data Etiquette - Jeff Moden
Hidden RBAR - Jeff Moden
VLFs and the Tran Log - Kimberly Tripp
Post #1509559
Posted Tuesday, October 29, 2013 2:32 PM
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SQLRNNR (10/29/2013)
Stefan Krzywicki (10/29/2013)
GilaMonster (10/29/2013)
Stefan Krzywicki (10/29/2013)
One interview I was on around 4 years ago we spent half the interview with me brainstorming how to fix or approach a weird problem. At the end of it, when I hadn't come up with a solution he liked I asked what the correct solution was. He answered "I have no idea, this has been stumping us for months. We had a Microsoft expert come in last week and he couldn't figure it out either."


I hate that kind of thing. One time it happened, I walked out of the interview as soon as I figured out what they were doing. It's such a low move.


Yeah, at that point I lost all interest in the job, wouldn't have taken it even had it been offered.


I despise those kinds of interviews. If you have been unable to solve it in months, don't expect free consulting during the interview.


Its interesting to ruminate on why this situation seems so offensive to some. Aren't folks doing the interview for free anyways? I could possibly, MAYBE, see if they didn't intend to actually offer you a position, but I don't go to job interviews on the premise that I'm guaranteed an offer anyways so I'd hate to be required to take a job I interview for, so I would like to extend to the interviewer the same sort of options. Evem more so in the situation where I didn't like the answers to MY questions about the position.

LOL at gilamonster walking out though. Did you slam the door?
Post #1509567
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