Re: How do you conduct technical interviews ?

From: Robert Freeman <>
Date: Wed, 13 Aug 2008 11:19:39 -0700 (PDT)
Message-ID: <>

I think part of the problem is that as technical people, we have trouble seeing beyond the technology. We get put in positions of management, hiring and firing, and we really don't have that kind of background.... Often we don't really WANT that kind of background, because we resist management and maybe even scoff at "professional" management. I know because I was (and to some degree am) one of them but I'm converting slowly but surely. :-)

You might check out a few books on interviewing for some ideas too.

Best of luck!


 Robert G. Freeman
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  • Original Message ---- From: Dba DBA <> To: Sent: Wednesday, August 13, 2008 11:28:49 AM Subject: Re: How do you conduct technical interviews ?

as far as compensation... I have worked with people who make well over $100/hour who still don't have this type of personality. I have worked with hourly contractors pulling down this type of money who will sit and surf internet because its not a problem for their narrow domain and then expect to be paid for surfing the internet and waiting for a problem to be solved. I have worked with people who have 30 years experience who do this. I have worked with people who refuse to do anything unless its totally perfect.

I have hired people who nail every answer in a technical interview, but then when you get passed the textbook to actually doing stuff and having a decent personality are useless. I think I have gotten alot better of screening out people who give good textbook answers to lots of gadget questions and people who can actually implement.

I think its hard to find the right personality. This type of personality is more important on a smaller team, but is useful on larger teams. I also know that in some environments you can get in trouble for being pro-active because its outside your domain. I have had a manager who would not allow us to check out code and had to do it for us. She would expect us to surf the internet for weeks waiting for her to individually assign stuff to us. I prefer the opposite.

Lets face it. DBAs and to some extent administrators in generally have alot of people in the profession who are just plain difficult to work with. It seems like alot of them are autistic. You tell them one thing. They hear what they want to here. You say something and they over react. Send an email to 15 people and CC 3 different VPs to show you up. Or play the passive aggressive game. Where you talk to them and they just blow you off and don't respond or say they will do something and won't do it. These are people that know all the gadget answers, but are just jerks.

You know the type. They worked with some java developers on a previous project who were idiots. Therefore all developers are now idiots and they are all treated this way. The kind that complain about everything. Some times you just don't have the schedule for something to be perfect, but we have deadlines and if we want to keep getting paid we have to make do.

I have worked with people who have great attitudes. Its just really hard to screen them out in an interview. One thing we started doing is asking them to describe their organization, project, and what they do at the high level. What value do the users get out of the applications they work on? What value do they add to management? Most of them can't get passed Oracle speak. Some are very articulate and can explain more about what they do and how their organization works. I find articulate people like this are often better. They can more easily explain things to non-technical senior management and to non-oracle techies.

-- Received on Wed Aug 13 2008 - 13:19:39 CDT

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