Good potential job interview question

Grant Shipley gshipley at
Sun Nov 23 04:40:03 MST 2008

I have interviewed roughly a gazillion people for software engineering
positions and the one thing I have learned from all of these

People who answer trivia or thought questions correctly does not
always make the best employees.

Candidates are nervous when they interview.  I am more interested in
finding out if the person is a good organizational fit.  After I know
that they would get along well with others on the team, I them look
for motivation and if their core values align with the company.  After
that, I could really care less if they can determine how to track down
down a bad query that uses functions the sql server can not handle.

Good employees are all about passion for the company and technology.
If they have that, they will put forth the effort to figure out any
problem with their co-workers.

I have even stopped asking simple questions about their language of
choice.  I find that if you trust people and the information they have
on their resumes, you will hardly ever be let down (if the org fit and
passion is there).


On Sat, Nov 22, 2008 at 11:32 PM, Sasha Pachev <sasha at> wrote:
> I've just solved a problem and then realized it could serve as a great
> job interview question:
> You have an auto-generated SQL select query with 1000 or so columns
> being selected. Each selected column uses a combination of functions.
> One of them uses a combination the SQL server cannot handle. The error
> message does not tell you which one. Describe a method to track down
> the trouble column in a reasonable amount of real time  without
> modifying the query generating code or creating an automated tool.
> --
> Sasha Pachev
> AskSasha Linux Consulting
> Fast Running Blog.
> Run. Blog. Improve. Repeat.
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