RE: How do you conduct technical interviews ?

From: <>
Date: Tue, 2 Sep 2008 12:22:33 -0400
Message-ID: <>

Just got around to reading through this thread.  

I'll reluctantly :) part with my favorite interview question:    

You're sitting at your desk and the Help Desk calls you to say "Oracle is slow. Can you take a look at it?"
What do you do?  

This encompasses a whole range of areas - gathering information about the problem (what database or application, what user called, is anyone else experiencing the problem, what were they doing), all the different possible places to look to identify the cause (anything from top to a 10046 trace), how to research non-obvious issues (metalink, etc.). I'll prompt along the way, if they say x, what might be your next step? It also gives an idea of how doggedly they'll pursue a problem, if they'll think of saying that they'll check with other DBAs to see if the problem has occurred before, etc.. It provides scope for a lot of followup questions (e.g., how do you interpret the results of a trace).  

And yes, I have gotten that call with pretty much exactly that wording.    

And I agree that starting out with a couple of softballs so they can calm down and you can weed out the really ignorant ones is a good idea.  

Jay Miller  

[] On Behalf Of Robertson Lee -
Sent: Wednesday, August 20, 2008 5:27 AM To: Oracle-L Freelists
Subject: RE: How do you conduct technical interviews ?

Yep, when I first started here (blimey 8 years ago now), the UNIX guys, DBAs, NT, and network all sat in the same secure entry room and the whole thing ran like clockwork. Fast forward to present day..........seperate teams, disparate locations and new processes in place to "improve" something that didn't need improving and its all gone the shape of the pear as it were.  

Lee (grump, grump, grumble, grumble.......)

[] On Behalf Of Jack van Zanen
Sent: 19 August 2008 23:58
To: Oracle-L Freelists
Subject: Re: How do you conduct technical interviews ?


I would love for more companies to put together the DBA's , developers and sys admins and actively work together. However most companies place these people on their island or, god forbid, even outsource some of it and all this communication opportunity is lost.  

My best time ever was working as a junior DBA (and only DBA) in the same room as the UNIX/STORAGE people. We worked on things together to make sure that Everything was running as good as we could make it run.  

I do not remember any project that got held up in our department ever.  


On 19/08/2008, Dba DBA <> wrote:

        I was not just referring to DBAs. I was talking about good co-workers. Primarily technical co-workers. How do you screen for personality. I was not looking for a wizard who knows DBA work, data modelling(dbas may know this, but without practice implementing they are not any good at it), and sys admin work. What I want someone with a positive attitude.         

        Instead of the "this sucks", "everything sucks around here" , or the "groups of people who go around complaining as if its a bragging right". I am sure we have seen that all. From my experience, there are more complaining about other people DBAs than in other technial professions. Though its not tied to DBAs. Alot of times DBAs will get together and complain and try to out do in complaints. "Oh yeah, listen to this story, my last co-worker was 10 times dumber than yours". Though all technical professions do that.         

        What I want is a "ok we have problems, what can I do to help make things better". I am not looking for a "I want to live here and never go home". We work 40 hours/week most of the time. You can get alot done in 40 hours with a smart team, where people want to contribute and are willing to solve problems outside their area. And importantly share knowledge. It is alot more fun if you are a DBA, working with a linux admin, san engineer and some good developers. People talk about what they do and ask questions about each others experience. So everyone learns the new stuff. I also don't like people who won't share information.         

        You know when people conversationally ask you about your skills are you happy to help or do you give 2 word respones and tell them to check google. As if google is a substitute for years of experience that you have. I like people who are interested in other peoples skills.         

        I am like that. I like the banter. It makes for a better team. I also find then when you are ready to move on, you are much more skilled and can command a higher rate/salary due to working in this kind of environment.         

        I know from the responses I see on here, many of the people on here are like thus.          

J.A. van Zanen 
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Received on Tue Sep 02 2008 - 11:22:33 CDT

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