IT Job Interview – The Basics of a Technical Interview

Author: Shaun Hummel

Most information technology job interviews involve a phone interview, technical interview and sometimes a personal interview. The phone interview is an introduction with the purpose of determining if there is a preliminary match. The job expectations are spelled out including specific responsibilities, relocation, salary, overtime, hours of work, team environment, career development, benefits and promotion.

The personal interview has alot to do with seeing the work environment and meeting key employees including management personnel and answering technical and non-technical questions that reveal attitude and personality profile.

The technical interview is a key filtering tool most companies use and the focus of this article. The technical interview is most often conducted via phone however can be in person. Companies want to know you have at least the basic technical skills and knowledge specific to the opportunity before proceeding with a personal interview. If the company has a lot of applicants the technical interview could be more important and sometimes rigorous. The candidates would then have a difficult interview that goes beyond the job posting to see how deep the candidate skill set extends.

There is no set scripts for technical interviews. In some cases it could be a few questions that are basic and some discussion of specific work experience. The discussion of experience will often lead to questions about specific choices and leading questions from those responsibilities and projects. In some cases the technical interview is a list of increasingly difficult questions that gauge basic, intermediate and advanced knowledge of topics.

Companies should spend some time designing a technical interview that reveals technical knowledge from basic skills to specific skills that pertain to the job itself. The format could include multiple choice, what if scenarios and basic question and answer. Asking the interviewer what topics will be the subject of the interview is always a good idea and searching comments from other sources on interview style etc.

The network administrator interview often consists of questions involving the osi model, campus protocols, wan protocols, routing and switch commands, basic network design and network server administration. You should know basic routing and switch processes, troubleshooting commands, protocol selection and behaviour, network management and security.

Shaun Hummel is author of Network Planning and Design Guide available at and featuring Networking Books, eBooks, Certifications, Articles and Design Tools.

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About the Author

Shaun Hummel, CCNP, is a Senior Network Engineer with 11 years experience in enterprise network planning, design, and implementation. He has worked for various private and public companies in Canada and the United States improving infrastructure, security, and management. He has written Network Planning and Design Guide, Cisco Wireless Network Design Guide and Network Assessment Guide.

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