Why you shouldn’t cheat on a job interview

Published On: 2011-06-20By:

I see questions on various forums all the time from people who are trying to land that first job who are asking for brain dumps on what they need to know to pass an interview to get a job.  Sometimes these are people who have been working in the field for a few years, and want that next job with the next pay raise.

Getting someone to give you interview question answers before you take an interview isn’t going to do much for you.  Most people who conduct technical interviews will be able to tell pretty quickly that you don’t actually know the material.  Saying that you don’t know something during an interview is a perfectly acceptable answer.  But follow it up with, I’d look on Website X, and Website Y, or in Books OnLine under “this or that” to find that out.  The reason that they are asking these questions is that these are the technologies which are being used in their shop, and they need someone who knows how to support them.  If you do successfully fake your way though the interview and get hired, you probably won’t be staying around very long once it is clear that you don’t know the technologies that you said during the interview that you knew.  And seeing as how you would have left your prior just at this point, you won’t exactly have a lot of job options to fall back on.

When you interview, be honest about your experience.  This is doubly true when you are being interview by a senior level person like myself.  If when I’m interviewing you and you tell me that you are a replication expert, you had better be able to handle every screwed up replication question that I ask you (and you will probably want to keep in mind that I know it pretty well, as I’ve rewritten SQL replication to increase performance at a prior company).  If you tell me that you know a lot about SQL Service Broker be prepared to answer some serious performance tuning questions, and maybe even setup service broker on a laptop (that doesn’t have internet access).

On the other hand if you tell me that you don’t know these technologies, but I feel that you’ve shown interest in learning them that’s probably good enough for me for a junior or mid level position.  If you are going for a senior level position you should probably have a decent amount of experience in a decent number of SQL Server components.

If you want to read some about some interview nightmares check out Sean McCown’s blog.


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