Posts covering interview questions and answers always make for interesting reading. Some people like the subject for their helpful hints and thought provoking subject, and others dislike these posts because they feel it is nothing more than cheating. I’d like to discuss the pros and cons of a Question and Answer format here.
Just like blog posts, books, and articles, interview Question and Answer discussions are learning material. The popular Dummy’s books or Idiots Guides are not only for “dummies,” but can help everyone relearn the fundamentals. Question and Answer discussions can serve the same purpose. You could call this SQL Server Fundamentals or SQL Server 101.
I have administrated hundreds of interviews during my career and I have noticed that sometimes an interviewee with several years of experience lacks an understanding of the fundamentals. These individuals have been in the industry for so long, usually working on a very specific project, that the ABCs of the business have slipped their mind.
Or, when a college graduate is looking to get into the industry, he is not expected to have experience since he is just graduated. However, the new grad is expected to have an understanding of fundamentals and theory. Sometimes after the stress of final exams and graduation, it can be difficult to remember the correct answers to interview questions, though.
An interview Question and Answer discussion can be very helpful to both these individuals. It is simply a way to go back over the building blocks of a topic. Many times a simple review like this will help “jog” your memory, and all those previously-memorized facts will come flooding back to you. It is not a way to re-learn a topic, but a way to remind yourself of what you already know.
A Question and Answer discussion can also be a way to go over old topics in a more interesting manner. Especially if you have been working in the industry, or taking lots of classes on the topic, everything you read can sound like a repeat of what you already know. Going over a topic in a new format can make the material seem fresh and interesting. And an interested mind will be more engaged and remember more in the end.
A common argument against a Question and Answer discussion is that it will give someone a “cheat sheet.” A new guy with relatively little experience can read the interview questions and answers, and then memorize them. When an interviewer asks him the same questions, he will repeat the answers and get the job. Honestly, is he good hire because he memorized the interview questions? Wouldn’t it be better for the interviewer to hire someone with actual experience? The answer is not as easy as it seems – there are many different factors to be considered. If the interviewer is asking fundamentals-related questions only, he gets the answers he wants to hear, and then hires this first candidate – there is a good chance that he is hiring based on personality rather than experience. If the interviewer is smart he will ask deeper questions, have more than one person on the interview team, and interview a variety of candidates. If one interviewee happens to memorize some answers, it usually doesn’t mean he will automatically get the job at the expense of more qualified candidates.
Another argument against interview Question and Answers is that it will give candidates a false sense of confidence, and that they will appear more qualified than they are. Well, if that is true, it will not last after the first interview when the candidate is asked difficult questions and he cannot find the answers in the list of interview Questions and Answers. Besides, confidence is one of the best things to walk into an interview with!
In today’s competitive job market, there are often hundreds of candidates applying for the same position. With so many applicants to choose from, interviewers must make decisions about who to call back and who to hire based on their gut feeling. One drawback to reading an interview Question and Answer article is that you might sound very boring in your interview – saying the same thing as every single candidate, and parroting answers that sound like someone else wrote them for you – because they did. However, it is definitely better to go to an interview prepared, just make sure that you give a lot of thought to your answers to make them sound like your own voice. Remember that you will be hired based on your skills as well as your personality, so don’t think that having all the right answers will make get you hired. A good interviewee will be prepared, confident, and know how to stand out.
A list of interview Questions and Answers is really helpful as a refresher or for beginners. To really ace an interview, one needs to have real-world, hands-on experience with SQL Server as well. Interview questions just serve as a starter or easy read for experienced professionals. When I have to learn new technology, I often search online for interview questions and get an idea about the breadth and depth of the technology.
I am going to write about interview Questions and Answers for next 30 days. I have previously written a series of interview questions and answers; now I have re-written them keeping the latest version of SQL Server and current industry progress in mind. If you have faced interesting interview questions or situations, please write to me and I will publish them as a guest post. If you want me to add few more details, leave a comment and I will make sure that I do my best to accommodate.
Tomorrow we will start the interview Questions and Answers series, with a few interesting stories, best practices and guest posts. We will have a prize give-away and other awards when the series ends.
Reference: Pinal Dave (http://blog.SQLAuthority.com)