Use these selected questions to set job interview strategy
To make interviewing job candidates for IT support positions a little easier, weíve collected and categorized a number of interview questions submitted by TechRepublic members. You can use some of these questions as written but will need to modify others to match the job skill you are seeking. The questions you select or modify should be inserted into the accompanying Interview Questions Form to ensure that you uniformly and fairly compare candidates.
Our job interview questions fall into these categories:
∑ Preparation questions test what the candidate knows about your organization or the job you have advertised. Does the candidate meet the jobís basic requirements?
∑ Behavioral questions encourage candidates to discuss at some length how they work, problems they have solved, and how they think.
∑ Problem-solving questions present candidates with a specific issue they need to resolve.
∑ Big-picture questions assess how the candidate views his or her role in your organization.
∑ Off-the-wall questions should be avoided.
1. Tell me about your current job. What do you like about it? What do you dislike?
2. What operating system do you prefer and why? (The operating system is of minor importance, unless the job requires a thorough knowledge of it. Rather, this question probes general knowledge of operating systems and their relative merits.)
3. I know all these references are going to say nice things about you, or you wouldnít have listed them. Can you give me one that wonít say good things about you? (You arenít going to call, but you want to see and hear is how they react.)
4. I would like to set up a second interview with our evening supervisor. Can you come back this evening at 7:00 P.M.? (How flexible is the candidate? How do they handle less-than-ideal situations? This question requires the possibility of a second interview with an evening supervisor.)
5. What do you know about our organization and what we do?
1. Whatís the biggest mistake youíve made? How many people were affected by it? How did you find out about it? How did you recover and what did you learn?
2. Tell me about the most difficult IT problem you ever faced and how you handled it. In retrospect, would you handle it the same way now?
3. How do you stay informed about your profession? (This answer should go beyond daily duties. Do they have a test network at home? Do they read publications or visit IT Web sites?)
4. Tell me about your relationship with your current end users? (Is the candidate a people person? How does the candidate interact with others?)
5. Tell me about a time when you were working alone and needed to motivate yourself. What were the circumstances, and how did you do it?
1. What precautions would you take before replacing a keyboard, hard drive, or network card? (This question should be altered to reflect the job description and skills.)
2. Ask the candidate to turn around so he or she canít see you. Then ask them to tell you how to tie your shoelaces using only vocal instructions. (Does the candidate ask if your shoes have shoelaces? Can they describe the process? This kind of question will help you test communications skills needed by help desk candidates who support remote users.)
3. Your network is experiencing periods of slow response, and you are asked to find a solution. What troubleshooting techniques would you use? Hardware or software solutions are okay, and budget is not an issue.
4. In many problem situations, it is tempting to jump to a conclusion in order to quickly build a solution. Describe a time when you resisted this temptation and thoroughly researched the problem before reaching a decision.
5. Write a paragraph explaining how DHCP (LANs, WANs, WEPs, whatever) works. (This question sounds like a technical question, but you will want to see how well the candidate communicates the technical information.)
1. What is the single most rewarding thing you have accomplished in your career, and why do you cite this above all your other accomplishments?
2. Describe for me a risk you have taken in your career and the results of the decision to take the risk. Would you do it again?
3. What role do you think computer support analysts should play in the company?
4. What special skills or knowledge can you bring to our organization? Why would this be valuable to us?
5. Within this organization or not, where do you see yourself, and your career, in five years?
Off-the-wall questions to avoid
You should avoid using off-the-wall questions during a job interview. Some of the TechRepublic members who submitted the following questions said they rejected the job offer when questions of this type were asked.
1. Why are manhole covers round? (This actually was the most popular ďtoughĒ question that TechRepublic members submitted. The answer should be that during removal or replacement, a round manhole cover cannot fall back into the hole.)
2. Would you like a piece of cake? (The candidate is given a piece of cake but no fork. The purpose, allegedly, is to see the composure and ingenuity displayed by the candidate.)
3. Iím going to sit here for 30 minutes and listen to you tell me about yourself. (The interviewer then starts a stopwatch, sits back, and stares at the candidate.)
4. Where is the paring knife in your kitchen at home? (Apparently, the interviewer is supposed to be able to tell something of the candidate's organizational skills, neatness, and ability to communicate.)
5. If you were a wild animal, what animal would you be?
Interview questions form (IT jobs)
Use these questions, or others from the accompanying potential interview questions list, to formulate your own interview of job candidates for a support or help desk position. This form can also be modified to fit other job categories. Use your version of this form for each candidate to ensure that the interview is fair and equitable.
TODAYíS DATE: ____/____/_____
Major qualifications in a nutshell
Use this section to document the candidateís individual qualifications or interesting experiences.
Modify these questions to fit your particular circumstances and requirements. After you have made notes about the answer to each question, rate the candidateís response from 0 to 5. Then add up the TOTAL: ______
Tell me about your current job. What do you like about it? What do you dislike? 0 1 2 3 4 5
What operating system do you prefer and why? 0 1 2 3 4 5
What precautions would you take before replacing a keyboard, hard drive, or network card? 0 1 2 3 4 5
Whatís the biggest mistake youíve made? How many were affected by it? How did you find out about it? How did you recover, and what did you learn? 0 1 2 3 4 5
What is the single most rewarding thing you have accomplished in your career, and why do you cite this above all your other accomplishments? 0 1 2 3 4 5
Tell me about the most difficult IT problem you have faced and how you handled it. In retrospect, would you handle it the same way now? 0 1 2 3 4 5
Describe for me a risk you have taken in your career and the results of the decision to take the risk. Would you do it again? 0 1 2 3 4 5
What role do you think computer support analysts should play in the company? 0 1 2 3 4 5
I know all these references are going to say nice things about you, or you wouldnít have listed them. Can you give me one that wonít say good things about you? 0 1 2 3 4 5
Ask the candidate to turn around so he or she canít see you. Then ask him or
her to tell you how to tie your shoelaces using only vocal instructions. (This
question can help you test communications skills needed by candidates who
support remote users by telephone.)
Peace and survival of life on Earth as we know it are threatened by human activities that lack a commitment to humanitarian values. Destruction of nature and natural resources results from ignorance, greed, and a lack of respect for the Earth's living things... . It is not difficult to forgive destruction in the past, which resulted from ignorance. Today, however, we have access to more information, and it is essential that we re-examine ethically what we have inherited, what we are responsible for, and what we will pass on to coming generations. Clearly this is a pivotal generation... . Our marvels of science and technology are matched if not outweighed by many current tragedies, including human starvation in some parts of the world, and extinction of other life forms... . We have the capability and responsibility. We must act before it is too late. Tenzin Gyatso the fourteenth Dalai Lama.