SQL Server DBA/Developer Interview Questions
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
SQL Server Administration
SQL Server Agent
SQL Server Integration Services
SQL Server Reporting Services
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)