Over the years, I've been both interviewee and interviewer many times and have encountered many different approaches. My first interview for a commercial DBA position was the most memorable as it was my first encounter with a behavioral interview. Memorable also because I'd had no warning or preparation from the agency involved and because it was a total failure. I'd come from the 'sheltered' world of the military, where job interviews were rarer than hens teeth.
However, once the shock had worn off, the whole exercise was a valuable learning experience.
Less than 2 years later, I was conducting my own behavioral interviews to help build a small DBA team.
No matter the type of interview, there is always an aspect of technical questioning involved.
However, there really is no such thing as a set of 'standard' interview questions - even within the same company or team, you may be looking for a different spread of skills across the individuals, or you may be looking for strength in a specific area to complement or enhance existing team skills.
As an interviewer it can be a real challenge to come up with meaningful questions, and the effort involved in customizing questions (and answers) can also be a drain.
With the maturation of the internet as an information source and the increase in complexity of database and application solutions, I have found the emphasis on parrot-fashion answers to questions has reduced as there is so much to know and a multitude of reliable online resource for any DBA to utilize. I find it now to be increasingly important to examine a candidate's thought processes i.e. getting the right solution is important, but getting to that solution in a logical and safe manner and ensuring that the solution is viable in the long term and not just a quick-fix are both highly important.
I have collected many different lists of questions and generally just dip in when the time comes and pick a few to customize. Rarely do I ever use them without alteration.
Hopefully the collection of documents on this page will help you do the same.
The questions span most of the major SQL Server subject areas:
- Backup and Recovery
- Concurrency and Locking
- Junior level
- Performance Tuning
- SQL Server Administration
- SQL Server Agent
- SQL Server Integration Services
- SQL Server Reporting Services
- System Databases
The documents can be found as attachments at the bottom of this page.
All are zipped individually, but there is a combined archive (of all except the SQL 2008 (largest) file)