Ramblings of a SQL Hillbilly

Or, the mad ravings of a data warehouse forklift operator

T-SQL Tuesday: An Interview Invitation

For this month’s T-SQL Tuesday, Boris Hristov has chosen the topic of interviews.

If I could give one piece of advice to beginning developers looking to do well in an interview (and I can, because this is the internet after all and why are you reading my blog if you don’t believe that?), then it would be to remember that honesty is key. I don’t really care as much about what you know as I do about your ethics. My team is currently looking to fill three positions, and I would love to have them filled soon. However, I won’t even suggest applying to a candidate who I am not sure I can trust. If you don’t have fanatical levels of integrity, I don’t want you on my team. I can and will do everything I can to help you become competent, but I’m not going to waste my time teaching you to be honest (unless you want my help with that, in which case I’ll do what I can.)

Otherwise, I’m a technical kind of guy. If I’m interviewing you, then you’ll quickly discover that I’m going to make it very difficult to bluster about your skill level and knowledge of certain tools. Probably my favorite question is “Can you name two things you hate about [Technology X]?” because it’s an excellent gauge of actual familiarity. I’m certainly not looking for fanboys of this platform or that environment or those manufacturers – the reality is that all software sucks, some just work better than others. And to follow up “How would you do it better?” As a college student, I used to think that my dream job would involve a cubicle in the corner where I got requirements and pizza as input, and produced code as output. What I’ve found, though, is that writing code is a small part of how I earn my paycheck even as a developer. What is more beneficial to my company and to my personal growth is the time I spend architecting ways to do this or that better, and I can stay sharp on that by architecting out how I would rewrite functionality in the software I use day to day.

So wake up every day, resolve to do the right thing, and find a new problem to solve. I believe that’ll take you a long way towards an interview matching its intended function of matching the right people to the right job.