Survive A SQL Server DBA Technical Interview

  • Lets discuss the areas from which questions are asked generally..

  • In my company, the first interview is technical. After that there's a technical test, then the HR-type interview.

    Seems to work quite well. So few people get through the first interview.

    I will strongly agree on two points made here - back up your claims and don't look down on the interviewer.

    We had one guy, claimed to be a SQL expert, lots of experience in optimisation (which is what we were looking for). When he came to the technical interview, he was highly arrogant. Once we started the questioning it got worse.

    He couldn't describe the differences between a clustered and nonclustered index. Didn't know profiler. Couldn't describe to me how to get an execution plan, let alone read one. Went off on long tangents describing some system he'd written (in ASP) some years back

    Most of his answers were a couple seconds of mumbling followed by "well, you know."

    We didn't invite him back.

    Gail Shaw
    Microsoft Certified Master: SQL Server, MVP, M.Sc (Comp Sci)
    SQL In The Wild: Discussions on DB performance with occasional diversions into recoverability

    We walk in the dark places no others will enter
    We stand on the bridge and no one may pass
  • One of the simplest bits of advice I could give to anyone going for an interview.

    If you don't know the answer to a question, tell the interviewer. There is little point in trying to answer somethnig with a load of ramblings if you don't know the answer. I only started my job a few months back but there were silly questions which I could not answer during the interview - ones which I knew but stuttered on.

    The key was that I didn't make myself look foolish with a silly answer and that the rest of my technical knowledge came through during the interview process.

    The interviewer will respect the fact that interviews can be a nervy place to be and also they know you don't know every single detail about SQL Server.

    Just because you don't answer 1 or 2 questions doesn't mean you won't get the job. Demonstrating a sound alround knowledge and a willingness to improve in every area of the job (including the ones you know very well) will get you looked upon favourably.

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