OT Interview questions

  • Last Post 29 January 2016
ahobbs posted this 27 January 2016

We're looking to recruit a new mid-level Infrastructure Technician. This is the first recruit outside of our outsourcing deal which hasn't delivered what we need.
They'll require good all-round skills on Windows platforms than particular technical specialism and will be required to mainly operate the System Center suite of products for monitoring and application deployment as well as support Windows Servers and support server/application migrations.
I need to come up with a few technical questions. Does anyone have some advice as to good questions to ask to ease the best out of them?
Kind Regards

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kennedyjim posted this 27 January 2016

What we do is evil, but dang is it effective.  We are  a school district, so we have classrooms with smartboards on the wall everywhere. We set them up with

a broken machine and tell them to fix it.  Config a Vlan, add a firewall rule, diagnose failed updates….lots of varied topics. They are in the front of the classroom, we sit in the student seats.  Each broken item or task is harder than the previous item to

the point that they will fail.


We hire the guy that doesn’t melt down.





Cynthia posted this 27 January 2016

I don’t think that is evil at all




Cynthia Erno

Data Center Hosting, Windows Unit




DaveB posted this 27 January 2016

I agree – not evil at all :)


David Bowen




fhartono posted this 28 January 2016

Do you hand down tissues for consolation price too? :)
Kind Regards,
Freddy Hartono


kurtbuff posted this 28 January 2016

Set of steak knives.


idarryl posted this 28 January 2016

Hi Amanda,
I tend to use questions that people ask me for real issues I've faced recently, whether that be in CAB, or a colleague asking for advice. A couple, I just got: best DNS settings for use on a DHCP scope; and impact of migrating a file server between domains, and how to mitigate. If you find people are having issues answering, try discussion questions, which way do you prefer doing X, and why?
I tend to avoid highly specific answers to questions; I know I would fail most of them, and in most interviews I've had I have! I navigate around it by explaining my answer, but few people I interview will do that - they go silent if they don't know the right acronym, or exact answer.  
Petri's interview questions are pretty good also: https://www.petri.com/mcsesystemadministratornetworkinginterviewquestions
Hope it helps.  


SamErde posted this 28 January 2016

I'm a fan of the "which way, and why?" type of questions that Daryl mentioned.
In addition to those, I tend to skip the obvious questions and ask about the less common tasks that an admin might encounter. Questions like these show some depth of experience, and generally you know that their fundamental knowledge is covered if they can talk about certain topics.
For example, ask them to talk about time configuration for a domain. Listen at the very least for an explanation of the hierarchy from the PDCe to the other DCs to the rest of the member computers, and an explanation of things like stratum and Kerberos implications for bonus points.
Another good area to ask them to talk about is group policy. Too many low-to-mid-level technicians seem unaware of the workings of them, even though GPOs affect every aspect of a Windows/AD environment. Ask them how they would troubleshoot a case of a setting in a GPO not applying properly.
The final, most important thing that I have learned about technical interviews is to have the candidate describe the specific role and tasks that they completed with regard to any projects that they list on their resume. I've seen far too many list impressive projects, only to reveal under pressure that they relied on a vendor to perform the smart work.
Hope that helps!


danj posted this 29 January 2016

Yeah open ended is best, if anyone ever asks me ‘which port is xxx on?’ type questions I always tell them that I’m an expert at google.


Questions/lead-ins such as ‘Please explain DNS to me’ are good, that way you can guide it like a conversation, and if they get a bit stuck you can help them over

the thing they are stuck on, it might turn out they have a lot more knowledge on the subject but have forgotten exactly how scavenging works or whatever. As long as they understand the main concepts of the topic (e.g. ‘what is the difference between iterative

and recursive queries? In what scenario is each type used?’) then you can get a feel for what they really know.