SQL SERVER – The Difficult Interview Question – Moment of the Life – Day 31 of 31

SQL Server Interview Questions and Answers
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Please read the Introductory Post before continue reading interview question and answers. Complete List of all the Interview Questions and Answers Series blogs.

We have spent the last 30 days going over questions and answers you may come up against when you are being interviewed.  Of course, I am only human and I can’t provide you with the answer to every question, or even the answer to every situation – because sometimes acing an interview is more than getting all the answers right.

Sometimes acing an interview is more about impressing the interviewer with your personality or with your reasoning abilities.  Remember that you are probably being hired to work at a company with many other employers, so your interviewer is not only concerned with how much you know but how well you will work in a team.

Even if you are totally prepared and are a great team player, you might also just have the bad luck to have a cranky interviewer, accidentally say the wrong thing, or just have an “off” day.  Here is my best advice for situations like that.

Bad Interviews

We all have bad days, it is part of life.  Usually we are just unproductive or make a mistake that can be corrected later, and we can go on with our life.  But if your bad day happens to fall during an interview, you may feel like you have ruined your entire life.

Having a bad interview can mean you don’t get the job, and this might have seemed like your dream job.  You may beat yourself up afterwards about all the wrong things you did or said, and how nothing will ever go right for you.

The best advice for a situation like this is: treat it like just another bad day.  Go on with your life.  In the first place, the interview might not have gone as badly as you think.  Sometimes the words might not come out of your mouth the way you want them to, but that doesn’t mean you sounded stupid to the interviewer.  Keep your head up and think positive thoughts.

If the interview truly went badly and you know you did not get the job, then there is no reason to beat yourself up!  The position might have seemed like your dream job – but remember the saying “God’s greatest gift is unanswered prayers.”  We can’t see the future, and it may have turned out that you would have been miserable at the job anyway.  Above all: do not let one bad interview make you lose your confidence.  Keep going on interviewers – the worst that can happen is that you improve your interviewing skills.

When It’s Out of Your Control

Sometimes a bad interview happens because you weren’t prepared.  Well, if you have been keeping up with our 30 days of Questions and Answers, then you will probably be the most prepared candidate!  That means that sometimes an interview goes wrong and it’s not your fault.

The biggest thing that can be out of control is nervousness.  Everyone says “just relax!” but sometimes it is not that easy.  If you think you are going to be nervous about an interview, take time before that day to figure out how to calm your nerves.  You might need to take a long walk, or just relax with a book or movie to take your mind off of it.  Make sure you are well prepared beforehand so that you won’t be trying to cram information into your brain 10 minutes before the interview.  Practice relaxing before the interview day, so that you can calm yourself down while you wait in the office or lobby.  And, of course, make sure you know how to get to the interview place so that you don’t get lost!

Another thing that is completely out of your control – other people.  The interviewer may ask you a question you just don’t know the answer to.  This can be something out of your expertise, or a detail about something that you have forgotten.  If this happens, do not panic.  If you have no experience with the subject in question, don’t lie!  Answer truthfully, but also add that you would be willing to learn the procedure, or are planning on training.   If it a small detail you can’t quite remember, offer to look up the information and let them know at a later time.  Many interviewers will give you a business card or at least a phone number, so you can provide this information to them when you leave the interview, and also look like a dedicated employee.

Not only can you not control the interviewer’s questions, you also cannot control their personality.  Sometimes you will simply meet a person who is not very nice.  The best thing to do in this situation – be polite and get out of there as quickly as you can!  The interviewer may be mean because they are just that kind of person – or they could be testing you.  Don’t lose your temper, but answer calmly and demonstrate your ability to deal with unpleasant people.  If you are good at diffusing situations with humor, try that.  The interviewer might be trying to see how you work under pressure.

Interview Tips and Tricks

Acing an interview can be about more than just knowing the answers to all the technical questions.  No matter what your field is, there are certain things you should know before you go into an interview.

  1. Know the Company.  If you stroll into an interview not knowing one thing about what the company does or anything more than just their name, you might be in for a nasty surprise.  Learn all you can about the company, this can help you decide if you’d like the job, and even help you come up with questions for the interviewer, which will impress them.
  2. Do Not Lie.  Your mother always taught you that lying is bad, and this is still true today!  Not only will lies get you in trouble when they are found out, but research shows that people can tell when you are lying.  Especially if you are being interviewed by someone in Human Resources, they have a lot of experience with people and will probably be able to read your body language to know you just made something up.
  3. Politely Brag!  Bragging is not the same as lying.  Interviews are the one time in your life where you will get to talk about how great you are without someone thinking you are a jerk.  Don’t be afraid to volunteer information about your talents and strengths, or details about a project you really did well on.
  4. Be Memorable.  The sad truth about the job market is that when you apply for a job, you might be competing against hundreds of similar applicants.  If you are lucky enough to get an interview, you will want to stand out from the crowd.  The best way to make yourself memorable is with a funny story or personal details.  Try to find a way to slip your favorite hobby into the conversation, or a funny joke.  Just make sure that it is something you wouldn’t be ashamed to say in front of your grandmother.
  5. Don’t Rush.  Sometimes when we are nervous, we might start talking too fast.  This can happen to anyone.   You might end up sounding very nervous, or even unknowledgeable.   The best way to combat this is to take a deep breath before you answer every question.  Don’t be afraid to think about your answers for a second – this will make you seem like a very thoughtful employee.  If you don’t understand the question, don’t be afraid to ask for clarification.  It will be better than giving a very silly answer.

The “Difficult” Question

The technology giants hire a lot of people, and by all accounts they are a great company to work for.  Their employees are often very smart, highly motivated, and can think outside the box.  So how did they end up with such great employees?  They ask very strange interview questions!

Imagine going into an interview for a simple engineering position, and being asked why manhole covers are round.  You won’t be working with manholes, so why does this question matter?  It is a test of how well you can think logically – and under pressure.  The answer is: a round cover will not fall through into a round hole, no matter the configuration, while any other shape could twist and fall into the sewer and possibly injure workers below.   The answer seems simple when you hear it, right?

More and more companies are learning that these kinds of questions can weed the good employees from the bad.  If you are asked a weird interview questions, what is the first thing you should do?  Not panic!

Remember, the interviewer does not expect you to immediately know the answer, this isn’t a trivia quiz it is a test of rational thinking.  If you blurt out the answer, they will probably just come up with another one.  Also, the question might not have a real answer.  The best thing to do is sit and think about the question logically, and try to come up with an answer that will show your mental process.  It is like in mathematics – show your work!

Conclusion

So – do you feel ready for your interview?  I hope your answer is “mostly.”  Just remember that interviews are kind of like a test about life.  Unlike tests in school, you can never be 100% prepared, because you cannot control life.  But if you are 99% prepared, you will be a great interview candidate.

Reference: Pinal Dave (http://blog.SQLAuthority.com)

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22 thoughts on “SQL SERVER – The Difficult Interview Question – Moment of the Life – Day 31 of 31

  1. Pingback: SQL SERVER – Interview Questions and Answers – Frequently Asked Questions – Complete Downloadable List – Day 0 of 31 Journey to SQLAuthority

  2. hi pinal dave this is pavan
    i have one question in reports how many datasets we can have in a report and datasources ,i vant the exact fig (like numbers say 10,20,30) so iam eagerly waiting for ur reply,
    thks
    pavan.

  3. Amazing blog! Not only does it give an exhaustive set of SQL questions, but it also gives a confidence boost and nerve calming experience when you go through the non SQL related parts of the blog! :) Thumbs up!

  4. Pinal
    Why is he book priced at $900 in the US and Rs.247 in india? I mean seriously.Is it any mistake on the Amazon end or is that the right price

  5. Thanks Pinal..You are always my “1st” choice to learn SQL (most of time last one, since I need not have to go elsewhere!!)

    KEEP IT UP….. :)

  6. Pingback: SQL SERVER – Weekly Series – Memory Lane – #040 | Journey to SQL Authority with Pinal Dave

  7. Hi Pinal Sir this is Srimay
    I have one question.What is the Query to show Happy New Year in sql server 2008 r2.
    so iam eagerly waiting for ur reply,
    thnks
    Srimay.

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