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What do you ask in an interview?

By jc2it ·
Ok this question is for everyone.

I have always fell into my jobs in the past, usually because of networking. So I have never paid much attention to the interview process.

We are looking for an "IT HELP DESK TECHNICIAN" at my place of business. This would basically be someone that I could train to do most of my time consuming helpdesk support tasks. We are not looking for a lot of experience, in fact those that submitted resumes that had more than about four years of experience were immediately rejected (as overqualified and requiring to much compensation for this job).

Since I have never interviewed anyone in particular, I would like to go to the experts. Meaning You!

If you have interviewed prospective employees in the past. What do you look for? What do you ask them?

If you have been interviewed for a job like this recently. What questions did you answer that you felt made a differance? What did you think was stupid? If you were conducting the interview would you have do something differently?

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Some questions

by jc2it In reply to What do you ask in an int ...

Due to the overwhelming response to this discussion I have come up with a few questions of my own. I developed these in conjunction with some information I found on the net, and at Tech Republic. Any other ideas would be apreciated.

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Do they know when they don't know?

by goeres In reply to Some questions

Problems in the real world are not like those in school wherein one gets exactly the right amount of information to solve a problem--no more, no less. It is important to know when one has enough information with which to solve a problem.

I ask several questions where the answer is "I don't know" because I want to know what they tell me in those cases--I can fix ignorance; there is no patch for stupidity. For example: I narrowed the field of applicants down to two; one shining example that seemed too good to be true, and a no-frills resume that could have been a lot more self-promoting.
In the first interview, I realized that the supertroop was starting to answer before I had finished the question--too polished for my comfort level. So I asked, "What can you tell me about the impact of LRF on the desktop?" The response was to the effect that it had been awhile but he could be my "go-to guy on LRF".

The second guy paused after every question to collect his thoughts and answered the questions directly. I asked him about the impact of LRF and he said, "I don't know. What do you mean by LRF?" I said, "The Little Rubber Feet on the computer--forget it, it's just a bad joke." His "I don't know" answer told me that he would ask me if he didn't know. Because we were building a first-of-its-kind application, I needed to know that if when they said it could be done by the deadline, I would not get an excuse when the deadline neared.

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Careful about questions like these..

by Dr Dij In reply to Do they know when they do ...

In this case, LRF means something in our IT environment. It is the appreviation we use for the packing slips, the executable portion of an order.

This of course has nothing to do with desktops, but if you'd said 'what would you say is impact of LRF's on IT systems?' we would have an answer, that it impacted AWDM, our OMS system and lets us ship our invty SKUs from multiple whses :)

In this case tho, I probably would have asked you to clarify the acronym also.

We too have had our problems with scary know-it-alls who don't. One particular guy would use the excuse "I'm 'Old School'" whenever he didn't know something. In particular, he had to change IP table with vi and seriously screwed it up. Appears he thought, without asking that it was like notepad as an editor.

An 'Old School' person would know the minimal set of commands at least to edit a couple lines and save a file. Quite a few other incidents showed up his lack of knowledge and he was out the door pretty quick!

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Behavioral based Interviewing

by ddemania In reply to Some questions

The few interviews I've performed in the past few years, I've approached them using a method called 'behavioral based interviewing'....

Instead of asking questions like:
Tell me your strengthes and weaknesses
Walk me through you resume
Or tell me about your expertise in XYZ.

You should ask questions about specific examples of when they succeeded, failed, and why...
Tell me a time you led a team to success and how you celebrated?
Tell me of a time you and your team failed to meet expectations? Why and what did you do to correct?

If the candidate does not give a real-life example, repharase the question and ask for a specific example.

I've found that real past performance as described by the person is the best measurement of future performance.

Good luck on filling your position.

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You might want to go back ...

by Too Old For IT In reply to What do you ask in an int ...

... and look at your rejected stack. I have 18+ years in the IT trade, and right now I'd take a lower paying job in my hometown, just so I wouldn't have to drive 50 miles round trip everyday.

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Some general questions you might ask

by OwenB In reply to You might want to go back ...

? Warm Up Questions

o What made you apply for this position?

o Tell us about yourself?

? Main Questions

 Education
o Tell me a little about what your Training/Degree involved?

o Tell me about any other qualifications?

o What special aspects of your education or training have prepared you for this job?

 Job Specific
o What are your expectations of the job?

o How much supervision have you typically received in your previous job?

o What areas would you say needing improvements?

o Do you prefer working alone or in groups?

 Career Goals
o How does this job fit in with your overall career goals?

? Information to explain to the interviewee

o What the Job Entails

o Our Expectations of Employee

o Training you will receive

o Benefits, Holiday entitlement etc

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by maxchowhk In reply to Some general questions yo ...

It is very depends on what position you are looking for. For a help desk position, i will do the following:
1. I will do some introduction and warm up questions first
2. Bring him around the help desk and let him answer one of the user's enquiry

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Age Discrimination is Unprofessional

by dneyman In reply to You might want to go back ...

I agree with "Too Old For IT". I have also been in the industry for 16+ years with an additional 5+ years in the military using high tech IT-related systems and have been an IT Division Manager.

Ruling out people with more experience than you feel you need is not a good practice and is usually only an issue today based on the hiring IT manager's or supervisor's fear that someone may know more than them. Due to the past changes in the IT demand due to the previous recession resulting in a massive loss of IT jobs, there are several experienced IT professionals that would be more than willing to take a job at less pay. The high paying days of IT are over.

I also advise you to remember that it will take you longer to bring a person with less than 4 years experience up to a satisfactory level than it would someone with more years. It may cost you more in the long run to train a newby and continue to maintain their training than it would take to hire someone who can walk into the job with only company specific training.

Good Luck!

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I agree, but not with your reason

by zaferus In reply to Age Discrimination is Unp ...

I think he's more worried that after the time and effort of bringing in someone if they have lots of experience they may be applying for this job while they are looking for a better one. Typically someone overqualified for a position doesn't last too long.

That being said, there are people with tons of IT experience who are looking for this type of position for a variety of reasons.

Most people who have 4+ years experience know exactly what help desk is - would it hurt to phone interview them and ask their reasons for applying for the position? The person you seek may be the resume you just threw away!

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Honesty, Integrity, Courage

by gjones In reply to Age Discrimination is Unp ...

Look for someone who is honest (will tell you if they don't know something...I like the LFR example). Someone who has integrity will keep you and themselves out of hot water and will not do something wrong just because 'important' outside of your department intimidated them. Courage is of the same line, but includes self-confidence. A self-confident person will tell you if they simply don't know, but will also take the initiative to research and find a solution. They will also be able to disagree with you in a professional manner. Look for someone who will fit in with the team. A top-notch candidate may also be abrasive and disruptive to the rest of the team. That will lose you more in the long run. I choose the above far and above skills.


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