RE: Job interview questions

From: TJ Kiernan <>
Date: Tue, 9 Jun 2015 19:33:23 +0000
Message-ID: <>

Thanks everybody for your insightful responses. If you have more, please keep them coming.

I think I was overly cursory with my description of both “skills” and “Oracle trivia.” The sort of trivia I was thinking was along the lines of, “How does Oracle store a date?” Ideally, the candidate can answer correctly, but as long as they don’t spout off the NLS default, we’re in decent shape and all the better if the conversation travels down the implicit conversion is evil rabbit hole.

Evaluating a stranger’s personality, technical knowledge, how they apply that knowledge under duress, and their willingness and ability to learn in the space of an hour (or however long it takes) is no small task. This thread has helped me crystallize my thoughts as well as give me some good topics of discussion to bring up.

T. J.

From: [] On Behalf Of David Fitzjarrell Sent: Tuesday, June 09, 2015 1:01 PM
To:; Cc:
Subject: Re: Job interview questions

And, of course one from column A and two from column B ... (may be carbon-dating myself with that one).

Some of the best interviews I've conducted have led to 'unexpected' places, much in the way Tim describes. You CAN learn much about the candidate from posture and delivery during the interview. I agree it's not about 'how many you get right' but how well they 'recover' from an incorrect or incomplete response. Those who can take the pressure show it during the interview. I have no issue with a confident candidate, but I do take exception to an arrogant one. I'm adding to a team, and arrogance is a sign the potential candidate may not be a team player.

An interview isn't a trivia contest:

"In which Oracle release did the redo vector first appear?" (Version 6)

it should be a learning experience for both parties, Yes, I like to know what ground the candidate has covered in his/her career (if only to prove that his/her 8 years of experience is progressive experience, not the same first year chores multiplied 8 times) but if a candidate has determination and a desire to succeed any 'holes' in their experience can be dealt with later (not every DBA has worked with RAC, for example). I will look at websites that tout 'Oracle interview questions and answers' to see what someone thinks is important and to see if the answers provided are actually correct. I don't have a 'canned' set of questions since I rely on the resume/CV to point me in the proper direction for a given candidate, basing my questions on his/her experience. Of course there are candidates who have done nothing more than use OEM/TOAD/etc to manage databases and know only where the button lies for increasing the size of a data file, for example. Those interviews don't last long.

I've been successful in selecting candidates when the need arose; maybe that's the result of 26+ years of 'in the trenches' experience. I've also had interviews go on longer than originally planned because the candidate was engaged and willing to go down the paths that opened up from previous questions. Such candidates have made welcome additions to the team.

Of course your mileage may vary. :)

David Fitzjarrell

Principal author, "Oracle Exadata Survival Guide"

Received on Tue Jun 09 2015 - 21:33:23 CEST

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