Group Theory

20 IT Interview Tips

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Interviews in the IT field can be troublesome as the material in this profession changes every day. Your meeting might consist of a vast number of questions, a difficult programming task, or a hands-on assessment of your tech support skills. For example, you may be given a certain amount of time to complete various fixes on an infected/damaged computer. Regardless of what job you are trying to get, you need to be ready for whatever your interviewer throws at you. So, I have put together some tips to give you the weapons you need to fight this epic battle of wits.

 

  1. Memorize the OSI model; when they ask technical questions, always answer using it. Servers down, what do you do? I would check physical issues first (is it plugged in?) Then, is the Ethernet connected? Try to ping it. You shouldn’t have to explain past layer three. If you don’t know what to do, recite the previous steps and tell them that you would escalate the problem to the engineer and prioritize accordingly; this will allow you to shadow them to learn how to prevent future issues.

 

  1. A firm handshake, eye-contact, and professional attire can go a long way.

 

  1. IT wants people who are problem solvers. If you don’t KNOW the solution, write (or talk through) your process. We don’t know everything, but we problem solve. “Oh, well I haven’t seen X before, but I think it’s similar to Y, where I did Z. So, I would try by doing 1, 2, and 3.”

 

  1. Bring Malwarebytes on a thumb drive. You can thank me later.

 

  1. Know the basics. File structure, control panel items, and basic commands like ipconfig and gpupdate. Know how to add and remove computers from a domain, what group policy is, as well as the active directory.

 

  1. Learn how to talk people through connecting remote software to you, like with LogMeIn or something similar.

 

  1. Have a good attitude. You must be capable of talking to people in a way that makes them feel cared for and wanted. So, develop a “phone voice,” smile while you’re on the phone, be transparent with your clients, and do what you say you’re going to do.

 

  1. Expect standard customer service behavioral questions like: “explain a time you have had to deal with a difficult customer.” “What did you do to resolve the situation?”

 

  1. Expect the question, “what is the easiest way to do (insert random thing here.)” Merely answer to the best of your ability. There may be one answer that is ‘perfect,’ however, if your answer is using a different method, it’s not entirely wrong; they are just trying to pick your brain to see where you’re at and if they can work with you. There is no wrong answer outside of “I don’t know.” And even then, the proper answer is “first, I would refer to the documentation and other web sources.”

 

  1. Ask questions. It shows you’re interested. Be respectful of everyone. Greet everyone you encounter on the way to the interview, I have heard of situations where a person was not hired due to being rude to the security guard at the entrance of the building.

 

  1. Know the company and your interviewer by doing research. Talk about the future of the company you are interviewing for, their latest advancements or products, any new expansions, and what their growth is. Show authentic interest.

 

  1. Companies like Google seek employees with excellent critical thinking skills, as well as being able to think outside the box. Don’t be afraid to alter standard operating procedures if you find a way to advance them.

 

  1. There should be as many questions from you as from your interviewers. Ask what types of software they use for communication and ticketing. Ask what they use for documentation. Ask about their internal workflow processes. Ask about training and continuing education opportunities.

 

  1. Efficiency/Quality > Speed.

 

  1. Be prepared for the usual questions for help desk techs:
  • PC won’t boot? Check if the hard drive is plugged in.
  • PC is slow? Check processes.
  • IE is slow? Check toolbars.
  • IE won’t resolve web pages? Check the proxy settings.
  • Can you map network drives?
  • Can you set up printers?
  • Outlook not receiving mail? Check if ‘Work Offline’ is turned On.

 

  1. Google is your friend.

 

  1. For web development, they will tend to give you an application to design in multiple languages, be prepared.

 

  1. It’s not uncommon to have one, two, or even three interviews. Be ready for the type of questions that different people will ask. IT related interviewers will focus on advanced tech questions, whereas the head of HR may have some personal inquiries for you, especially if you have posted problematic things to any of your social media accounts.

 

  1. Research your potential position online. Knowing the salary range, typical interview questions, and what to expect during the interview process is of great help. Try Glassdoor.

 

  1. “Where do you see yourself in ten years?” Don’t over analyze what tech will be current at that time. Pretend if ten years from now was today and then answer the question. If you started ten years ago, what would you want your today-self to be doing? Don’t be afraid to answer honestly; the goal should not be to get hired, it should be to find a good match between the employee and the company. If you like to train people, tell them you eventually want to be a trainer or an educator. If you wish to manage projects, then tell them that. If there is a new type of technology that has your interest, talk about it. Just cause you are applying for a networking position (hypothetically), that does not mean you can’t express how excited you are for a new Windows feature to come out and vice versa.

    Hopefully, these tips can give you the knowledge and confidence you require to crush your next IT interview.

Good luck!

 

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