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Are the posted questions getting worse? Expand / Collapse
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Posted Tuesday, October 29, 2013 6:45 PM
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patrickmcginnis59 10839 (10/29/2013)
Stefan Krzywicki (10/29/2013)
patrickmcginnis59 10839 (10/29/2013)
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?


Pretend you're a plumber instead of a data person and they tell you "Install this sink in this difficult corner as part of your interview" and the installation is part of what they would be paying for if you got the job.


Its different in IT however, you aren't getting hired on your typing skills or whether you know how to use a phillips screwdriver. Especially at the MCM level with SQL administration, I would think that there is value in communicating what you would do in some situations that approaches the value of actually doing it.


It is knowledge either way. And there is value in communicating what you would do, that doesn't mean you need to display it by fixing their problems for free. If they'll take advantage of you in the interview, they'll take advantage of you as an employee or as a contractor. You're interviewing them at the same time they're interviewing you. If you don't use that, you'll end up in a miserable situation.


--------------------------------------
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 #1509623
Posted Tuesday, October 29, 2013 7:01 PM


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Stefan Krzywicki (10/29/2013)


It is knowledge either way. And there is value in communicating what you would do, that doesn't mean you need to display it by fixing their problems for free. If they'll take advantage of you in the interview, they'll take advantage of you as an employee or as a contractor. You're interviewing them at the same time they're interviewing you. If you don't use that, you'll end up in a miserable situation.


And it's completely different if they ask you to solve a real life problem that they had in the past but have already solved. It stops being free consulting to become a challenge to test knowledge but most of all, to find out how would you solve real life problems instead of a fizzbuzz test.



Luis C.
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Post #1509629
Posted Tuesday, October 29, 2013 7:07 PM
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Luis Cazares (10/29/2013)
Stefan Krzywicki (10/29/2013)


It is knowledge either way. And there is value in communicating what you would do, that doesn't mean you need to display it by fixing their problems for free. If they'll take advantage of you in the interview, they'll take advantage of you as an employee or as a contractor. You're interviewing them at the same time they're interviewing you. If you don't use that, you'll end up in a miserable situation.


And it's completely different if they ask you to solve a real life problem that they had in the past but have already solved. It stops being free consulting to become a challenge to test knowledge but most of all, to find out how would you solve real life problems instead of a fizzbuzz test.


Agreed, it isn't the style of question or the difficulty, it is the misrepresentation that bothers me.


--------------------------------------
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 #1509631
Posted Tuesday, October 29, 2013 8:19 PM


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Jeff Moden (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).


I won't bore you with how I conduct interviews and I don't use the word often but I'm totally disgusted in the lack of knowledge by most of the people I've interviewed. I don't ask difficult questions, either. If a "10" was a "beginner" that had just passed an MS SQL Cert, I'd have to rate most of the people I've interviewed as a 1 or a 2. Shoot. I interviewed an "SQL Server System DBA" with 10 years of experience who was "responsible for the setup, maintenance, and performance of 100's of server instances" last night and she couldn't tell me how to get the current date and time using a SELECT and she couldn't tell me how to do a native backup or restore. I'm now sure that such people exist but I just can't imagine how you can go 10 years without learning those two simple things.


That's extreme even from my own experience. I have interviewed a lot of people with 3-5 years experience that were in that person's situation. It's just shocking the complete lack of fundamental knowledge.


----------------------------------------------------
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Post #1509637
Posted Wednesday, October 30, 2013 6:35 AM
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Grant Fritchey (10/29/2013)
Jeff Moden (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).


I won't bore you with how I conduct interviews and I don't use the word often but I'm totally disgusted in the lack of knowledge by most of the people I've interviewed. I don't ask difficult questions, either. If a "10" was a "beginner" that had just passed an MS SQL Cert, I'd have to rate most of the people I've interviewed as a 1 or a 2. Shoot. I interviewed an "SQL Server System DBA" with 10 years of experience who was "responsible for the setup, maintenance, and performance of 100's of server instances" last night and she couldn't tell me how to get the current date and time using a SELECT and she couldn't tell me how to do a native backup or restore. I'm now sure that such people exist but I just can't imagine how you can go 10 years without learning those two simple things.


That's extreme even from my own experience. I have interviewed a lot of people with 3-5 years experience that were in that person's situation. It's just shocking the complete lack of fundamental knowledge.


Out of curiosity, what are you looking for with the "native backup or restore question"? Do you want the T-SQL way to do it or is right clicking the database and using the SSMS interface acceptable? And for the backup parts, would you accept creating a maintenance plan or SSIS package to do it as part of "native"? The T-SQL method is something I've done, but usually have to look up the syntax. Of course, I mention that I've done these things, but also that they're in no way central to what I do.


--------------------------------------
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 #1509743
Posted Wednesday, October 30, 2013 8:01 AM


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Stefan Krzywicki (10/30/2013)
Grant Fritchey (10/29/2013)
Jeff Moden (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).


I won't bore you with how I conduct interviews and I don't use the word often but I'm totally disgusted in the lack of knowledge by most of the people I've interviewed. I don't ask difficult questions, either. If a "10" was a "beginner" that had just passed an MS SQL Cert, I'd have to rate most of the people I've interviewed as a 1 or a 2. Shoot. I interviewed an "SQL Server System DBA" with 10 years of experience who was "responsible for the setup, maintenance, and performance of 100's of server instances" last night and she couldn't tell me how to get the current date and time using a SELECT and she couldn't tell me how to do a native backup or restore. I'm now sure that such people exist but I just can't imagine how you can go 10 years without learning those two simple things.


That's extreme even from my own experience. I have interviewed a lot of people with 3-5 years experience that were in that person's situation. It's just shocking the complete lack of fundamental knowledge.


Out of curiosity, what are you looking for with the "native backup or restore question"? Do you want the T-SQL way to do it or is right clicking the database and using the SSMS interface acceptable? And for the backup parts, would you accept creating a maintenance plan or SSIS package to do it as part of "native"? The T-SQL method is something I've done, but usually have to look up the syntax. Of course, I mention that I've done these things, but also that they're in no way central to what I do.


Stefan,

From what I've learnt from Jeff and about Jeff from hanging out here, I would say that from what you just asked would be more that enough for the interview to continue!

Jeff,

Why do I think you had at least "Er" or "Ummm", or "What's a backup" when you have asked the question.

I once has the "pleasure" of sitting in on an interview where the person being interviewed was just over whelmed by just be interviewed. Answers where either "Yes", "No" or a blank look. The person interviewing soldered on and tried to only ask questions that could be answered with one word! The job wasn't offered, obviously!

Rodders...



Post #1509793
Posted Wednesday, October 30, 2013 8:18 AM
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I'd like to thank this site and the people that make it up for encouraging me, building my interest and my confidence. Just had a phone interview and SQL Server statistics came up and I knew what it was and what it was for. It is largely thanks to the great people here, SQL Server Saturdays and my monthly SQL Server group that I've been seeking out deeper information about what makes it all go, even if it isn't directly applicable to the problems I'm currently working on.

You're a great bunch of people, keep up the good work. : -)


--------------------------------------
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 #1509800
Posted Wednesday, October 30, 2013 8:29 AM


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I remember seeing a CV where someone had rated himself 10/10 on 4 versions of Windows (XP, 2000, 98, NT4), two versions of SQL Server (2000, 2005) and a version of Oracle (forget which). He had 3 years work experience and a year studying for an IT diploma. I begged my teamlead to allow an interview, just so I could see exactly what this guy did know. He refused :-(


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SQL In The Wild: Discussions on DB performance with occasional diversions into recoverability

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Post #1509807
Posted Wednesday, October 30, 2013 8:36 AM


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GilaMonster (10/30/2013)
I remember seeing a CV where someone had rated himself 10/10 on 4 versions of Windows (XP, 2000, 98, NT4), two versions of SQL Server (2000, 2005) and a version of Oracle (forget which). He had 3 years work experience and a year studying for an IT diploma. I begged my teamlead to allow an interview, just so I could see exactly what this guy did know. He refused :-(


Too bad. It is probably good that you didn't make that poor guy cry so early into his career though.


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Post #1509815
Posted Wednesday, October 30, 2013 8:46 AM


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Jeff Moden (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).


I won't bore you with how I conduct interviews and I don't use the word often but I'm totally disgusted in the lack of knowledge by most of the people I've interviewed. I don't ask difficult questions, either. If a "10" was a "beginner" that had just passed an MS SQL Cert, I'd have to rate most of the people I've interviewed as a 1 or a 2. Shoot. I interviewed an "SQL Server System DBA" with 10 years of experience who was "responsible for the setup, maintenance, and performance of 100's of server instances" last night and she couldn't tell me how to get the current date and time using a SELECT and she couldn't tell me how to do a native backup or restore. I'm now sure that such people exist but I just can't imagine how you can go 10 years without learning those two simple things.


I consulted for a client who hired two dbas with 10yrs experience each. Neither knew how to perform a log backup, let alone perform a PIT restore. I've chalked it up to them repeating the same day of experience for 10 yrs. That is probably the case with your candidate.




Jason AKA CirqueDeSQLeil
I have given a name to my pain...
MCM SQL Server, MVP


SQL RNNR

Posting Performance Based Questions - Gail Shaw
Post #1509816
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