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What Interests You About This Opening?

2011 February 25
by Shannon Lowder

We’re back to my series on tough interview questions.  It’s my hope that by covering these questions, you’re able to put together a plan on how you’ll respond when you actually face these questions.  Let’s dive into the next question: “What interests you about this opening?”

This question usually comes in about the same time they’re asking what you know about the company.  It’s partially a followup to find out how much you know about the position you’re interviewing for.  It’s also a question that will ask how you will fit the role.  That means it’s one you need to consider before every interview.

You can begin your preparations by finding every detail you can about the job posting.  If you’re responding to a job posting, hopefully it was a complete job post.  If you’re working through a recruiter, make him or her provide you every detail they can on what the company is looking for. You want to have a complete a picture as possible on what skills they want you to have and what kind of duties you’d be responsible for.  If you can find out anything more than that… it’s icing!

Once you have the list of requirements, you should be able to figure out what they need.

Do you see a lot of development skills?  T-SQL, Creating views, Stored procedures…

Do you see a lot of Administration skills?  Backups, configs, performance monitoring…

Once you have an idea of what they’re looking for, can you figure out what they want most?  Are they repeating themselves?  Did they ask for a DBA in two different places?  If so, that’s what they are looking for.

If that’s what you want to do, make sure you answer the question “what interests you about this opening” with the most enthusiastic answer you can give.  If you bring excitement and enthusiasm to the role, it will make them feel a little more comfortable with you.

Hot Rods

I love to make the server smoke!

In my current role, they were looking for a DBA.  Someone who would adopt their servers and take them on as his or her own.  Someone who would work as hard as they could to help them get to the next level from a database point of view.

So when I was asked this question I spent about two minutes telling them about how excited I was by digging into the dynamic management views, how I’ve learned to ask the server about it’s health.  Learning to interpret these results and make changes that improve the server for all users.  I told them about how I like to teach others how to use SQL more effectively and more efficiently.  I gave them my answer with great enthusiasm.  Luckily I didn’t have to fake it in any way.

I really do love making my machines go as fast as they can.

But you have to have enthusiasm for the role they need you to do (or at least the one they’re hiring you to do).  If I had been interviewed for a developer role and I went on and on about performance tuning, I wouldn’t have gotten this role.  That’s why you have to read the job requirements first.

Then you can build your answer to “What interests you about this opening.”

Do you have any suggestions for this question?  Have you ever answered the question, and then later found out that that’s not what they need you to do?  What are your thoughts on this question.  Share them below.

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