0

I had an interview where they asked me how I would “find the intersect between two tables”. I told them I would have to look it up, but after the interview I realized I may have misunderstood the question. If two tables have different schemas this doesn’t make sense. Note, the context has nothing to do with GIS. When asked if you know something technical, how do you know if you don’t understand the question versus you don’t know the answer? What should be done if the interviewer asks a technical question that doesn’t make sense?

UPDATE: well either way I passed the interview to the next level ! :D

marked as duplicate by gnat, IDrinkandIKnowThings, Mister Positive, Masked Man, Michael Grubey May 23 '17 at 5:22

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

  • You dont "intersect" tables, you join them. "Intersect" is a geoprocessing tool used on geometry. The question didnt make sense from where im standing. Im guessing the interviewer didnt know what they are talking about. – atxgis May 22 '17 at 20:58
  • @atxgis that's what I thought after, I know join but that didn't sound like what he was asking. – smartname1 May 23 '17 at 5:46
  • "Intersect" is a keyword in some flavors of sql. It is basically using all the fields in your select statement as an inner join to another table. He may have been dropping a hint. – David Cram May 24 '17 at 10:19
5

When asked if you know something technical, how do you know if you don’t understand the question versus you don’t know the answer? What should be done if the interviewer asks a technical question that doesn’t make sense?

In an interview, whenever you are asked a question that you aren't sure you fully understand, take a moment to think it over.

If you still aren't sure, ask for clarification.

  • 1
    I didn't realize I didn't understand, I thought I just didn't know. Maybe I should think longer before concluding I don't know. – smartname1 May 22 '17 at 20:00
3

There's no reason you can't ask for clarification.

It seems like this may even be why they ask. In interviews they are attempting to understand who you are and how you work. If they give you a question that doesn't have much explanation, it could be a test to see if you'll ask for more information. As an employee, it's extremely important that you take a little time to understand the project rather than making assumptions and going in half-informed... and then find out a week later that all of your assumptions are wrong.

So... ASK!

Even if they're not testing you on this, there's nothing wrong with asking for clarification.

  • To preface the question he did ask what kind of SQL I know best. – smartname1 May 22 '17 at 20:01
  • What you "know best" doesn't mean that you know everything... it also doesn't mean that you and your interviewer use the same terminology... – Catija May 22 '17 at 20:04
1

That's part of the test.

Part of the question (from the interviewer's point of view) is to determine whether or not you understand some particular technical question and answer. A bigger part is to test your ability to communicate - to ask the right questions when you do not understand.

If you had the job & your manager gave you instructions that were not clear to you, what would you do?

  • 1
    So if an interviewer asks how to get the rbg value of the string "hello world" this is a test of communication? – smartname1 May 22 '17 at 20:01
  • 2
    You can turn it into one. Ask some questions as to why they think a string would have an rgb value. – Dan Pichelman May 22 '17 at 20:04

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.