Interview questions shine light on a net admin's capabilities

One TechRepublic member created a series of tests to help IT managers determine what a new net admin knows and how they cope with typical IT situations.

IT managers face a special challenge when trying to hire a network administrator due to the range of technologies a net admin must know, and the amount of responsibilities they will have.

You can’t learn everything about a candidate’s skills just from reading their resume. To help you take a skills snapshot of a candidate, TechRepublic member Edward Zeiden uses a three-part assessment test. Zeiden, an IT manager with the Contra Costa County Schools Insurance Group in Pleasant Hill, CA, uses one part of the test to assess a candidate's technological skills, and another to gauge how a net admin will react to a stressful situation in his organization. The download also includes a list of interview questions designed specifically for IT managers who are interviewing net admin candidates.

Download the test package for a look at the tests and information on how to use them. Zeidan stressed that the test questions are not difficult or tricky. “We just want to be sure the candidate can do the job. Most of the questions center around personality, judgment, and people skills,” he said.

IT managers can adapt the interview questions to help measure a potential employee’s work ethic, or how he or she will react in certain situations. These questions attempt to zero in on a person’s judgment and people skills and how he or she may fit into your organization. The questions in this section include:
  • How do you feel about performing tasks that are not technically challenging?
  • A user asks you to help him move a file cabinet. This is not part of your job description. What will you do and why?

The skills test can help determine a candidate’s technical expertise. The questions in this section include:
  • A user cannot print to a network printer. What steps would you would take to troubleshoot and resolve the problem?
  • Users can send e-mail locally, but cannot send e-mail to external recipients. Please describe how you would troubleshoot and resolve this problem.
  • A user’s roaming profile is not accessible. Describe how you would solve this problem.

“If a person is technical, they can easily and quickly learn the technology that they need to excel in the position, if they have the right attitude,” said Zeiden.

The last section of the download contains a chart that asks a candidate to disclose what level of exposure, if any, they have with a particular technology. The chart is designed to gauge how familiar a candidate is with Microsoft Exchange Server 2000, Citrix MetaFrame, or wireless networking strategies, for example.

Use this download to administer your own test the next time you need to fill a net admin position.

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