SQL Saturday #223 – Mouth Wide Shut: Coherent Interviewing Part 2 with Sean and Jen McCown

How to find a good DBA

You are stupid until proven otherwise

Creating Job Wrecks (Requirements) – Be reasonable, honest, concise specific

Reading resumes – look for job hoppers; red flags things that are impossible; look for language that are trying too hard; Beware “experts”

After 10+ years – if they are listing things like index tables and other basic things, they are trying too hard – they should be doing a lot more than this.

Expert, Proficient, Master – key words to explore what they claim to be an expert in

Question – How are you continuing your education?

Phone screens – initial litmus; measure communication skills and basic knowledge; decide whether or not to bring them in.

Passive interviewing – less you talking, letting them think they should keep talking; when you are being interviewed you can turn this around.

Interview pre-questions – first impressions; small talk before the actual interview; can be used to trip them up later

Questions –

  • So what SQL sites you go to?
  • If you were going to consider yourself an expert in something what would it be?
  • What would you be if you were not a DBA?
  • What is it you like about databases?
  • Are you self-starter?
  • Do you follow any people on twitter?

You can get on a call with 70 users and say anything, but you’d better be right.

Before everything else – explain the format

  • What you’ll do
  • What you expect
  • If there will be labs
  • Helpful hints

Say the answer and shut up; If you don’t know say you don’t know.

Question types

  • Experience – How long have you been in databases? Are you an expert in anything? Have you put together an┬áHA scenario?
  • Knowledge – what is the diffence between delete and truncate? What is a cte?
  • Probing – Tell me exactlly how that works


  • Short, discrete pieces of work (1-2 min)
  • Nothing that requires specific in-house knowledge
  • Something that truly common knowledge

Good: Labs incorportated into the interview

Bad: they have to sit in a room and do stuff

Contract-to-hire is your friend!!!

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