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Practice SQL Before Interviewing a Potential Employee

Has your company grown to the point that you need to hire an SQL expert? Have you found a candidate for the job? How do you prepare for the interview, especially if you don’t know SQL? Don't worry! Follow our suggestions on how to practice SQL. We have tips and tricks to help you feel confident and find the perfect employee.

Who You Want To Hire

First of all, you need to know the requirements for the new employee. These depend on the company but usually also depend on you.

What are the skills and experience needed for this position? Check this list before the job interview. Think of questions that address what you’re looking for.

Have as much information about the position as you can. You can be sure that the job candidate will ask you about it. What is the summary of the job? What will be the new employee’s responsibilities? What will a typical day of work look like?

If a new employee will work in a team, think about how this group functions. How do they collaborate? What are their main projects? What are their goals?

Also, think about the level of experience you are looking for. Is this a job for an expert, a specialist, or a future manager of a team?

Practice SQL Before the Interview

Once you know the set of skills the new employee needs to have, you can prepare yourself. It’s okay if you don’t know everything about SQL. You will not become an SQL master in a short amount of time, but you can gain enough basic knowledge to conduct a job interview.

As the leader of your team, you need to know what results you expect to be delivered. Based on these expectations, you can put together your questions for the interview. Remember that you do not need to be an expert and that these questions can remain on a basic level.

In this article, we assume that the interview will concern standard SQL and not its dialects such as PostgreSQL or MS SQL.

Learn the Basics

Let’s assume you do not know much about SQL. It is always good to develop your skills, even as an experienced manager. This knowledge will be useful on a daily basis, and you will be able to supervise the work of your subordinates.

Start with a good overview of SQL basics. To begin with, it is not necessary to take a course or workshop. You can use a quick and straightforward method to learn: videos.

LearnSQL.com is developing a channel with lessons from the basics up to advanced. Each video takes a maximum of five minutes and answers your basic SQL questions.

By subscribing to the channel, you will get a notification each time a new video is published. This way, you can practice SQL regularly and have fun at the same time. You can also get ideas for questions to ask during the interview:

  • What is SQL?
  • What is a database?
  • How will you match two tables?
  • What does a “null” value mean?

These are examples of very basic questions. If you can learn this within a few minutes, job candidates can, too. That is why you will probably need to go further and ask more specific questions.

Sharpen Your Skills

After watching short video lessons for beginners, you will probably wonder where you can practice SQL. Consider taking a course. You can start with SQL Basics to gain strong elementary skills.

If you already have basic knowledge, you can take a step further and practice with an SQL Practice Set. This will allow you to develop your SQL skills and track your progress. In addition to practicing SQL for the interview, you might also find inspiration for creating tasks to be solved by candidates.

Interviewing someone for a more complex position requires more advanced preparation. Advanced does not mean impossible. Just like with the basics, for more advanced SQL skills and questions, you can find online courses that cover them.

Put Yourself in the Candidate’s Shoes

Before the job interview, your candidate will probably search for information, too. On platforms like LearnSQL.com, you will find guidebooks for people who want to change their career paths and find work in the IT industry. A guide to a successful job interview might work for both sides.

You can also read articles with tips for advanced SQL users who are preparing for a job interview. You will find questions and answers with short descriptions.

Answers To Your Interview Questions

At this point, you might be ready for the job interview. You have gained some knowledge about SQL and prepared your questions and tasks.

However, remember that you need to understand the answers to your questions. If you want to hire someone with advanced SQL skills, consider having an expert to help you check the candidate's knowledge during the interview.

An interview is not only for you to ask questions but also for your candidate to ask questions. What do you do if you don’t know how to answer a question? Do not be afraid to say, “I don’t know.”

Be sure of what your expectations are. What results do you want from your team? What goals does your company want to achieve?

You are looking for someone who will help you with things you cannot do by yourself. Can the candidate do this? Ask the candidate to explain how they will help to achieve the company's goals in simple terms that everyone can understand.

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