Interviewing Patterns & Anti-Patterns: Advice from the SQL Server Community

I’m glad I picked interviewing as the topic of TSQL Tuesday #93, because people wrote posts chock full of great advice and funny stories. Get ready to learn, be amazed, and laugh out loud as you read these posts, which I’ve indexed by the author’s first name. Don’t blame these authors for the dorky jokes in the cartoons, though. That’s all my fault.

Aaron Bertrand is “looking back at bad interviews.” In the comments, I give a sure-fire way for you to handle any technical interview questions you don’t know.

Adam Machanic talks about “playing the third-party recruiter game.” He gives you real world stories where he’s been burned and tips on how to identify the right recruiters who will represent you well.

Arun Sirpal (aka BlobEater, love that name) gives three tips for candidates, and a story of a very curious interview challenge in “Interviews and Oranges

Brent Ozar writes about “the DBA Job I Turned Down,” which encouraged an especially close relationship between some team members.

Dan Clemens thinks of two main things when it comes to interviews: Passion and Aptitude. Read the story of how Dan developed his interview process when he was hiring a Junior DBA, and how the successful candidate landed the job.

Deb the DBA writes about how interviewing is a lot like casting in “Auditioning for the Job.” She also links to a list of reasons why you didn’t get the part – and it’s GOLD.

Doug Lane tells you how to be an unforgettable job candidate. It’s good advice - Doug is really good at being memorable in job applications!

Duncan Greaves suggests that we think about interviews as a form of human ritual, and gives tips to help you exhibit the behaviors that will land you a job. He ends with an important word of advice about coffee.

Ewald Cress writes about, “The buzzword arms race” - and gives you a tip on how to defuse such an arms race as a candidate,  if you ever end up in that situation.

Garland MacNeill writes about interviewing questions that frustrate him, and where he thinks your focus should be as a candidate in “Interview Fails.”

Ginger Grant gives an overview of different types of table design (which is great reading if you’re worried about being asked this in an interview), and tells a story of a very special style of schema design.

John Deardurff highlights the importance of asking questions– and gives you ideas for questions to ask– in “Interviews are a Two-Way Street

Jeff Mlakar gives you tips for before the interview, during the interview, and after the interview in “Interview get-help.” His post-interview advice gives you specific actions that can help keep you going, even in frustrating times.

Jens Vestergaard writes about his experience designing technical interviews for candidates when he needed to screen for a range of different skills.  I particularly enjoyed reading about his favorite questions to ask people.

K Brian Kelly sees interviewing as an information exchange, and tells you why you should be honest, but only exchange information up to a point.

Kendra Little (that’s me!) tells a story about a heartbreaking flop of an interview.

Kenneth Fisher applies the concept of a “love bank” to an interview. I know that got your interest, read on.

Kevin3NF gives us rules for candidates, rules for interviewers, and stories from his own interviewing career – with a highlight outside of a Taco Bell! Make a run for the interviewing border.

Mark Broadbent writes an honest post about his professional experiences with the frying pan and the frier and talks about “learning to say no” as a candidate.

Matt Gordon challenges us to challenge our implicit bias in “Shock and Subtlety of Sexist Interviewers.”

Matthew McGiffen tells you, “how to be a bad interviewer” in this list of real-world anti-patterns for employers. If you’re hiring a candidate, this is a great list to review: it’s easy to fall into some of these patterns, and they will turn off great candidates.

Nate Johnson talks about why it’s hard to interview DBAs, then gives three examples of interview questions for DBAs. Try them out!

Niko Neugebaur tells the story of two job interviews: the one he had to skip, and the one he did not get.

Mike Walsh writes about a magic phrase you should know in an “important lesson during a job interview.”

Rob Farley writes about how he got out of interview loops altogether in “Interviews and niches.”

Rob Sewell hates interviews. If interviews make you nervous, read this post. Rob has great, practical tips on how to build your interview skills.

Robert Davis highlights the importance of asking questions as a job candidate (and gives you some of the questions he asks) in his entertaining post, “3 jobs I didn’t take and 1 I did.” I love his closing story of the moment he realized that a job was right for him.

Robert Preseau works as a data generalist and problem solver. He writes about why that’s a tricky job when it comes to interviews.

Shane O’Neill raises thought provoking questions, both for the company hiring a DBA, and for a DBA being interviewed by a company.

Stacy Gray gives you practical tips on preparation, getting the right mindset, handling questions you don’t know, and following up. She covers a lot in this quick post, making it a great fast review.

Taiob Ali writes about a time when he turned down a job offer due to the actions of the hiring manager.

Tim Peters explains why saying, “It depends” is an interviewing anti-pattern – and if you’re going to use “it depends” in an interview, how to go about it.

Todd Kleinhans “doesn’t care who you are,” at least when it comes to an interview. And that’s a good thing.