49 Database Interview Questions (With 4 Example Answers)

Updated 21 February 2023

Working in database management, for example, as a data administrator, involves the maintenance, security and effective operation of a company's database. When applying for a job in this field, there are questions the interviewer is likely to ask you. Having knowledge of these questions can allow you to prepare adequately and help you portray yourself as confident and knowledgeable during your interview. In this article, we define database interview questions, list 15 general interview questions, share 15 interview questions about your experience and background, explore 15 in-depth interview questions and offer some questions with example answers.

What are database interview questions?

Database interview questions are open-ended questions an interviewer may ask you during a job interview to assess your knowledge and experience in working with databases. Your answers to the questions can help the interviewer evaluate your suitability for the role and the extent to which you can meet the hiring company's needs. Interviewers typically ask database-related interview questions during interviews for jobs in the computer science or information technology career field such as:

  • Database administrator

  • Data modeller

  • Data scientist

  • Information security analyst

  • Computer and information systems manager

  • Database engineer.

Related: What Does a Database Administrator Do? (And How to Become One)

15 general questions

Your interviewer is likely to ask you some general questions that can help them learn about you. These questions may enquire into your soft skills and various elements of your personality. As working with databases can require you to work as part of a team or independently, an interviewer may ask some general interview questions that can highlight your ability to work effectively in these varying scenarios. They might also ask you questions that prompt you to explain your interests, motivations and goals. Here, you can explore 15 examples of general interview questions:

  1. What are your career goals for the next five years?

  2. Do you consider yourself a reliable individual?

  3. What methods do you use to stay motivated?

  4. How do you organise your tasks at work?

  5. What has been the highlight of your career so far?

  6. Would your colleagues describe you as a team player?

  7. What steps do you usually take to resolve workplace conflicts?

  8. Can you list three of your major strengths?

  9. Can you list three of your primary weaknesses?

  10. Can you tell me about the personal achievement you're most proud of?

  11. Do you take a proactive approach to continue developing your industry skills and expertise?

  12. How do you feel about working on your own?

  13. How do you feel about working as part of a large team?

  14. What three words best describe your character?

  15. Can you share a workplace challenge you've experienced and the steps you took to overcome it?

Related: 10 Interview Hacks to Help You Prepare for a Job Interview

15 questions about experience and background

Your previous database experience is likely important to the hiring manager, especially if you're applying for a senior database-related role. Because of this, you can expect the interviewer to ask you questions about your education and previous roles that can help them assess your suitability for the position. Answering these types of questions gives you a great opportunity to showcase your practical skills and industry experience to give the interviewer confidence in your ability to undertake the responsibilities of the role. Below, you can explore 15 examples of interview questions about your database background and experience:

  1. How many years have you worked with databases?

  2. What do you consider to be the top three most important skills for working with databases?

  3. Have you completed studies relating to database systems?

  4. Can you describe your ideal working day as a data engineer?

  5. What would your previous team members say about working with you?

  6. How do you stay up-to-date with industry advancements?

  7. Do you intend on furthering your education in the field?

  8. When do you begin working with databases?

  9. What's the best project you've completed since you started your career?

  10. Have you always wanted to work with databases?

  11. How would you describe the ideal candidate for a database administrator position?

  12. Can you share a mistake you've made since working with databases and explain how you resolved it?

  13. Would you feel confident about leading other team members?

  14. What is the most valuable lesson you've learned on the job?

  15. Which of your technical skills do you value the most?

Related: How to Become a Database Manager (With Related Careers List)

15 in-depth questions

In-depth interview questions give interviewers an opportunity to assess your technical competence when working with databases. Many roles within database management, for example, database administration and database engineering, require extensive technical database knowledge. An interviewer is likely to ask you in-depth database questions to determine your ability to undertake specific database tasks. How complex the questions are may depend on the exact role you're applying for and the information you shared in your resume and cover letter when applying. Below, you can find some examples of in-depth interview questions:

  1. What's your definition of a database?

  2. How would you describe the key relationships in a database?

  3. How would you explain normalisation?

  4. What do you think are the top three advantages of database management systems?

  5. What are triggers?

  6. When does functional dependency become fully functional dependency?

  7. Why is data partitioning important?

  8. Can you explain some disadvantages associated with file processing systems?

  9. What are the properties of a transaction?

  10. Can you explain how an RDBMS organises data into tables and fields?

  11. What are some key indicators of an effectively running database server?

  12. Can you list four methods for maintaining data integrity within an RDBMS?

  13. Can you explain what data abstraction is with an example?

  14. How many levels of data abstraction are there?

  15. What are the risks of storing a hibernate-managed object in a cache?

Related: What Is Data Mapping? (Definition, Types and Steps)

4 example interview questions with answers

Below, you can explore four example interview questions and answers for a role working with databases:

1. What is the importance of database management?

An interviewer may ask you a question like this to assess your general understanding of databases and database-related roles. When answering, you have an opportunity to showcase your general knowledge of database management, who and what it involves and how businesses can benefit from it.

Example answer: 'Data has transformed the business world, introducing new opportunities, but also new challenges. Data is often only useful to businesses when it's effectively managed. Database management is important because it aids in the effective collection, storage, monitoring and retrieval of organisational data. Database management can also allow for the automation of various database processes, reducing required resource allocation and increasing productivity.'

Related: What Is Data Transformation? Definition, Benefits and Tools

2. Is it possible to invoke a trigger on demand?

An interviewer may ask you a specific question like this to test various areas of your technical database knowledge. Your answer is a great way to give the interviewer confidence in your database expertise and your ability to undertake your daily duties correctly.

Example answer: 'As a trigger is a special stored procedure that executes automatically when an INSERT, UPDATE or DELETE operation takes place on a table, you can't invoke it on demand. The trigger will only come into effect when an associated action takes place.'

3. What personal attributes do you have that can help you succeed in this role?

An interviewer may ask you a general question like this to gain insight into the unique characteristics you have that make you suitable for the role. There are multiple different answers to this question that can impress the interviewer. When answering, consider mentioning the personal attributes you have that can be beneficial when working with databases.

Example answer: 'I possess several soft skills that I believe can help me in this role. For example, I think my high-level attention to detail can assist me in completing data entries, modifications or updates with accuracy. I can also take a logical approach to my workload and prioritise tasks as necessary, which can assist me when undertaking my daily database duties efficiently. Besides these soft skills, I am a confident communicator with well-developed interpersonal abilities, which I believe can make me an excellent addition to a database management team.'


  • Personal Attributes: Definition, Examples and Key Tips

  • How to Identify Your Personal Strengths and Share Them in An Interview

4‌. What are the top four advantages of a database management system?

When assessing your background and experience in working with databases, an interviewer may as you a question like this. Your answer may be simple but can highlight to the interviewer the extent of your knowledge in the field.

Example answer: 'I believe the top four advantages database management systems offer are controlled redundancy, restricted unauthorised access, enforced integrity constraints and the option of multiple user interfaces.'

Related: How to Write a Database Manager Resume (With Example)

Explore more articles

  • Project Director vs Project Manager: Key Differences
  • What Is a Project Leader? (Duties, Skills and Salary)
  • What Is Internal Auditing? (With Step-by-Step Guide)
  • 20 Tips on How To Earn Money From Home
  • How to Become an Operations Manager (with Skills and Salary)
  • 16 Certifications That Can Boost Your Salary and Career
  • What Does a Boilermaker Do? (With Salary and Path)
  • How to Become a Forensic Pathologist (6 Step Guide)
  • What Does a Recruitment Consultant Do? (With Career Path)
  • What Does a Dairy Farmer Do? (Plus Dairy Farmer FAQs)
  • What to Specialise In as a 3D Artist (With Skills Guide)
  • How to Become a Radiologist (With Requirements and Salary)