Browsing articles from "September, 2013"

#CERNTweetup: A Visit to CERN

Sep 26, 2013   //   by Karen Lopez   //   Blog, Fun, Social Networking  //  No Comments


Starting today I will be visiting CERN, the Conseil Européen pour la Recherche Nucléaire with 11 other STEM social media advocates. What is CERN? It’s the location of the Large Hadron Collider and the birthplace of the World Wide Web. From the CERN Website:

At CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, physicists and engineers are probing the fundamental structure of the universe. They use the world’s largest and most complex scientific instruments to study the basic constituents of matter – the fundamental particles. The particles are made to collide together at close to the speed of light. The process gives the physicists clues about how the particles interact, and provides insights into the fundamental laws of nature.

I will be sharing facts, images and videos via this blog and other social media.

I will be tweeting about this event a lot using the hashtag #CERNTweetup. If you aren’t interested in this sharing, you can use the filtering mechanism of your Twitter client to avoid those tweets.

…or your can use the search feature of your client to follow the tweets of all the invitees. Isn’t metadata great that way?

10 Things I Hate About Interviewing with You–Follow Up

Sep 23, 2013   //   by Karen Lopez   //   Blog, Interviewing, Professional Development  //  1 Comment


If you think about it, interviewing, on both sides of the desk, is a lot like online dating.  You have a profile (your resume and LinkedIn profile) and the company has a profile (annual reports, online databases) and both of you are matched up via those profiles. Sometimes it’s done via a computer algorithm (online sites), sometimes you have a matchmaker (agency).

This past weekend my friend Thomas LaRock ( blog | @sqlrockstar ) and I presented on 10 Things I Hate About Interviewing with You at SQLSaturday San Diego.  We drew upon that analogy to talk about the myths and missteps that people make while being the interviewer and interviewee.  You can download the slides in my document library, but I wanted to share the 10 Tips and the additional resources we gave.

10 Tips for Better Interviewing

1. Do your homework

Your job in an interview is to come across as smart and confident.  There are things you need to do to get ready.  Having read the resume and the company profiles is just one important step.

2. Study the resume & job posting

You don’t want to be reviewing the resume or the job posting as you are interviewing.  You won’t be able to think of great questions or to listen while answers are being given.

3. Have a plan, but be prepared to detour

All that prep is good, but you need to be able to come up with questions and answers if the interview starts heading in a different direction.  I once interviewed for a project, only to have the interviewer realize that I was a better fit for a much higher role and project.  That meant more money and a better gig.

4. Ask real questions

We give a list of some of the interviewer questions we think have proven to be trite, tired and nearly useless.  Let’s just say they involve mirrors and kryptonite.

5. Listen, then ask follow up questions

It kills me to see an interviewer asking questions but not really processing them; they might as well be a webform recording my responses.  And I’ve seen interviewees give responses to questions, even crazy questions, and not ask any follow ups or ask context-seeking questions. That says to me they aren’t really “there” in the interview.

6. Be engaging and sincere, even if you have to fake it

It really hurts to see an interviewee be flat and less than passionate about what they do.  It know interviewing is stressful and nerves get in the way.  But to fail at being engaging comes across as flat.

7. Your job is to sell, without being salesy

Never rate yourself as 11 out of 10 or to say you know everything.  Interviewers don’t actually like overconfidence.  There needs to be a few “it depends” discussions and a few “I don’t knows” if the interview questions are good.  On the other side of the desk, an interviewer that spends more time selling the company or the project might be desperate for a resource for reasons you don’t want them to be.

8. Show humility, but don’t downplay your strengths

Be yourself.  Admit to when you don’t know something.  But don’t downplay your knowledge or skills.  And ladies, we are really bad about doing this.  Some guys, too, I know.  But ladies, seriously.  Take credit for what you know and the successes you’ve had. Other candidates are telling the interviewers that they the only person on the planet that can be successful in this job.  You need to rate strong.

9. Follow up if you promised to do something

If you promised to send references or more details about your background, or even to share a book title you really liked, do it.  Even if you don’t make it for this job, you’ll want a great reason to keep your name in front of that interviewer.  Interviewers, if you promised to seen updates about the status of the process, do it or don’t make the promise.

10. Be willing help each other, even if there isn’t a good fit

If you find out during the interview that the job isn’t for you, that’s not a fail.  If you know someone who might fit, forward along the information to them.  That’s a win for everyone.  Don’t hoard job opportunities. 

I’ve included some background on each of these, but to get the good discussion stories behind these, you’ll need to attend one of our future presentations of this.    We have one story about the importance of your interviewers not needing to know the status of your underwear, too.  It’s not all do’s and don’ts

Interviewing Resources

Just a few of the resources I recommend for interviewing and being interviewed.



Tom’s Blog

•…plus many more….


Karen’s Blog

#SQLLinkBait Contest Winner (CLICK HERE NOW!)…

Sep 16, 2013   //   by Karen Lopez   //   Awesome, Blog, Data, Fun, Snark, SQL Server  //  4 Comments

Recently on Twitter I ran a fun contest to come up with the best SQL blog post title link bait.  Link baiting is a controversial approach to blogging.  The term itself is controversial actually.  In some contexts it just means using a great title.  But this contest was looking for the the best example of a different use of the term, one that’s a little bit more on the dark side of blogging:

Linkbait Definition #2 – “Attracting Link Attention with Controversy”
A lot of folks seem to suggest that certain things people write on the web or create on their sites are “just for the linkbait” – these can include negative or derogatory pieces, inflammatory material, and anything else that designed to incite or provoke a reaction from one or many online communities or blogs.

From <>

That’s the definition I was going for in this contest.  An snark we did receive.   I think this means that the SQL & Twitter communities have seen a lot of linkbaiting.  This was a short contest, with just under 300 posts and about 100 people participating in the conversation, but it reached more than 1 million potential impressions.  That’s the power of social media.

(click to enlarge this chart)


The full report on this hashtag can be found at


Some honourable (dishonourable?) mentions:

Our crack team of judges – Allen Kinsel ( blog | @AllenKinsel ), Thomas LaRock ( blog | @SQLRockstar ) and I picked  Tracy McKibben’s ( blog | @RealSQLGuy ) entry.  I’ll be DMing you, Tracy, with info for collecting your prize pack.  I sure hope you are following me (hint, hint).

I’d love to see some of you take this challenge to heart and write those blog posts.  Hmmm.  Maybe a new contest idea?

Update: It seems that Twitter or WP is having a bit of an issue rendering some of the tweets. Perhaps they will fix this data quality problem soon. Anyway, congrats Tracy.

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