T-SQL TuesdayThis month’s T-SQL Tuesday is brought to us by Kendra Little (blog | @Kendra_Little). Kendra asked to write about interviewing patterns and anti-patterns and to be careful to protect our past/current employers and candidates.  I’m going to talk about things I should have done better for interview that are really technical things but more soft things you should keep in mind.

Tip 1 – Don’t Interview for a Job You Don’t Want

From personal experience never interview for a job you really do not want. If you are just trying to escape a particular job but interviewing for a job that you do not want the interview probably will not go well for you.  My first two IT job interviews (because I got my first job without going through a interview process) I was mainly looking to get paid more than I was currently getting paid and I didn’t know anything about the company.  One job wasn’t even really IT it was really office management.

Tip 2 – Research the Company Your Our Interviewing With

When interviewing for a company it will do you some good to know what they do.  I went to an interview once and had no idea this company produce a particular product.  The first question I was asked was asked was if I had problem with xyz.  I didn’t so I escape that question.  I landed the job but learned I probably do some research into the companies I’m interviewing for.

Tip 3 – When Reading Job Descriptions, But Ignore Them

If you read most DBA job descriptions the list of requirements and acronyms of things you must know is longer than your arm.  I’ve found most jobs don’t really expect you to know all those things, they hope you do, they will expect you to learn some of them, but by no means are a requirement.  The requirements for education are also ignoreable in my opinion your experience will take care of that four year degree you may not have.  Also, sometimes they may want you to more experience with a version of SQL Server than it has existed.  That might be sign someone besides the DBAs wrote the job descriptions.  More on this in the next tip.

Tip 4 – Ask Questions

During your interview ask questions about your work environment.  If you don’t get to meet your coworkers during the interview ask about how the team works.  This tip I’ve never actually followed but at previous jobs after starting wished I had.  Ask those questions about flex time and other things that are important to you.  Now is the time to know if the company fits.  Recent candidate that will be working remote asked about how well they would incorporated into projects given that they would be remote and in a different timezone.  What a wonderful question.

Tip 5 – Have a Sense of Humor

Don’t know how much this one has helped or hindered me.  But I’ve been on 9 interviews in my IT career and I been offered 4 jobs in 22 years.  Not a bad track record.  But keep the mood light, don’t be stressed you know what you know, nothing less nothing more.  So relax and let your personality flow during the interview.

Tip 6 – Don’t Be Afraid to Say I Don’t Know

My job I got as a DBA I was asked if you create temporary stored procedures.  I was like, “I know you can create temporary tables but I don’t know if you can create temporary stored procedures.”  I was told later one of the reasons I was hired is because I said I don’t know instead of making up an answer.

Tip 7 – Use Your Gut

After every interview, I’ve had a gut feeling on whether or not the job would be a fit for me at that time in my life.  Not saying I haven’t regretted taking certain jobs.  But use your gut and go with it knowing you are in high demand for what you know and get another job later if it doesn’t work out.

Tracy Boggiano
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Tracy Boggiano

Database Superhero at ChannelAdvisor
Tracy has spent over 20 years in IT and has been using SQL Server since 1999 and is currently certified as a MCSE Data Management and Analytics. She has worked on SQL Server 6.5 and up including currently SQL 2017 RC1. She enjoys monitoring, performance tuning, and high availability and disaster recovery technologies. Tracy is currently a co-organizar the for special interest group for Advanced DBA Topics for the TriPASS user group.

She also tinkered with databases in middle school to keep her sports card collection organized.

Tracy has volunteered through the NC Guardian ad Litem program since 2003 advocating for abused and neglected foster children in court.This is her passion outside of SQL Server and favorite job.More information about this program in North Carolina can be found at http://volunteerforgal.org or the national organization CASA at http://www.casaforchildren.org.
Tracy Boggiano
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