It’s never been a better time to be searching for your next job in IT. Here at Dynamic, we’ve witnessed first-hand how hot the Network, Infrastructure and Cyber Security job market is. Currently there are more open vacancies than in any other year, as business continue to recover from the pandemic.
But with these opportunities, it’s more important than ever that you prepare yourself for the interview process and give yourself the best chance to secure yourself your new job.
The 3 Different Types of IT Interview Questions
There are 3 distinct types of interview questions that all tell your interviewer different things.
- Cultural Fit Interview Questions. These tell the interviewer about you, your goals and values, with the goal of making sure you’ll be a cultural fit for the busines.
- Experience and Background Questions: These are focused on your experience, any certifications you have, and the software and technology you have worked on.
- Technical IT Interview Questions: These are more technically focused questions that tell the interviewer whether you have the ability to perform the job in question.
These questions typically follow a natural progression that you’ll be familiar with. Earlier in the interview process at 1st stage interviews you will face the more general, cultural fit questions. These will ease you into the interview and give the interviewer information on if your work ethic and values align with the company’s.
After you’ve passed this initial stage, the interview will progress onto questions about the software and technologies you’ve worked with, making sure you have the experience to complete the job.
And lastly, as we move to the 2nd or 3rd stage interview, the focus will shift onto your ability: Can you do the job at hand and what’s your technical understanding of the networks or systems you’ll be working on? The more senior or specialist a position you are applying for, the more of these in-depth, technical questions you are likely to face.
When you understand the reasoning behind these questions, you’ll know how to answer them in the right way.
General/ Standard Interview Questions
These questions aren’t as complicated or technical as the ones that follow. But that doesn’t make them any less important. These questions are designed to show the interviewer whether you will be a cultural fit for the business. Are they looking for a team player? Or are they looking for someone who can manage their own workload and work remote?
- Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
- What do you know about us?
- What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced in your career?
- What is your biggest strength and your biggest weakness?
- Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Company culture is hugely important to businesses, and hiring against it can have adverse long-term effects for a business. It’s so important in fact, we wrote an entire blog about it here.
Experience and Background Questions
These questions aim to reveal your skills and your background. They will explore any certifications you have, and to find out exactly what software and technology you have experience working with.
- Are there any certifications you are currently working toward? Or look to be working toward in the future?
- What experience do you have working with greenfield and brownfield projects?
- Can you give us an example of a time where you went above and beyond for a customer escalation?
- What was the most successful project that you have worked on?
- And can you tell me about a project you worked on that didn’t go as well as was planned?
- What do you think is going to be the biggest change in the Network/ Infrastructure/ Data Management/ Cyber Security industry in the coming year?
Technical IT Interview Questions
Here is where the questions get more technical as the interviewer aims to assess whether you have the ability to do the job you’re applying for. These questions can vary massively depending on the particular area of IT that you work in and the level of seniority you’re applying for.
So here are examples from a range of IT industries, to give you an idea of the questions you’ll face whatever your specialty.
- What layers of switches have you worked on?
- Where do you sit within a full project lifecycle?
- What vendors have you worked with?
- Can you tell us the steps you take to understand a customer’s needs, and turn them into an actionable reality that the customer can understand?
- What experience do you have with customer site visits or on-site installations?
The very best advice we can offer is to only write the skills and tech on your CV that you have substantial experience in. Because you can be sure your interviewer will ask about it. If it’s on your key skills, then you need to have extensive knowledge with it, not just have used it a handful of times a few years ago.
IT Interview Questions and Answers Examples
We help coach our candidates through the interview process, including not just the questions they’ll face, but how to answer them. Because we know what answers the clients are wanting to hear. For example, let’s look at the question “Can you give us an example of a time where you went above and beyond for a customer escalation?”. The interviewer isn’t really interested in what you did for a customer 10 years ago. What they are interested in, is your character, your work ethic, and what you’ll do for their customers.
So here’s some examples of IT interview questions and the answers your interviewer wants to hear.
What do you know about us?
This seemingly innocuous questions can actually make or break an interview, and often comes very early in the interview process. We’ve worked with clients who will outright reject a candidate if they fail to answer this question, as they see it as doing the bare minimum to be prepared for the interview.
Example Answer: “You are a Cisco Gold Partner who offer professional Services and Managed Services to Customers mainly in the health care. You offer solutions across LAN, WAN, Wireless, Security, and Collaboration. What really excited me was seeing the award you won for delivering a Software Defined Solution into healthcare. This is something I’m really interested in, and working with software defined is something I want to do with my career.”
Can you give us an example of a time where you went above and beyond for a customer escalation?
If you’re working in a customer facing environment, your interviewer will want you to be someone who doesn’t just meet, but exceeds client expectations. Here’s an example of someone who worked hard to ensure customer satisfaction, but also used it as a learning tool so they’d be able to provide a better service in the future.
Example Answer: “When I was working as a Support Engineer I had a problem escalated to me from one of our longest standing customers accounts. So I knew this was a problem that we needed solving quickly. Their network kept having downtime and was causing issues to the services they deliver to customers.
I knew this was a fault on their internal network so I went to the site and worked through the night to resolve the issue, meaning that when they came back in for their morning shift everything had been resolved and they had no faults.”
Where do you sit within a full project lifecycle?
If you’re interviewing for a position with a focus on project work, you can safely expect questions that will aim to uncover the depth and breadth of your project experience. This will also show your understanding of the whole project lifecycle, as well as the people who work with and around you on the project.
Example Answer: “In my last role I would lead the whole project from start to finish. I took the scope from the sales team, completed a full, high level design with the customer to meet requirements, documented this and then went on to implement the solution. Once implemented, I configured and supported the solution until we handed it back to the customer.”
Can you tell us the steps you take to understand a customer’s needs, and turn them into an actionable reality?
When you’re in a customer facing role, you need to be able to communicate effectively with people who might not have any technical understanding. This can be translating a client’s desires into a reality that engineers you work with can understand. Or it could be actually advising a customer on whether they really need everything they are asking for.
Example Answer: “Well the first step is having an open and honest conversation with the customer about what they are looking for, how much the reality of what they want costs, and managing expectations. They may think they need all these different, complicated functions for their new system. But really taking the time to understand what they will be using the new system for lets me offer advice on whether they need such complicated tech.
This lets me offer them a software design that’s much more tailored to their needs, costs them less, and ultimately wins the bid.”
What vendors have you worked with?
This question will be different depending on the area of IT you work in. But you can safely expect questions that aim to find out exactly what specific vendors, software, or tools you’ve worked with: And what your level of experience is with each technology.
Example Answer: “In the Infrastructure environment I fully support and config the whole Microsoft Stack including Office 365, Teams, and Servers. I configure these technologies both on-premise and in the Cloud using Azure. Other Vendors I work with include Cisco Networking, VMware Virtualisation, and HP Storage.”
IT Interview Tips For 2023
Of course, before you head into your interview it doesn’t hurt to brush up on your interviewing tips. Because interviewing has changed in recent years. For example, pre-pandemic only 22% employers used video interviews. In 2022, this number was 69%. And if you haven’t interviewed for a new position in a few years, there are a few things you should know.
- Prepare yourself to talk about every part of your CV. Your interviewer can ask about every skill or every responsibility in your past experience. So if it was only a surface level experience, it’s better to leave it off and concentrate on your areas of expertise.
- If you’re doing a video interview over Teams, Zoom, Google Meet etc, make sure you’ve got somewhere quiet to do your interview where you won’t be interrupted.
- And download any meeting software that you’ll need before your interview. Being late for an interview can damage your chances to be successful before it even starts! And your interviewer will likely be even less forgiving if it’s online, not in person.
- For your interview, we would suggest business casual. Unless you’re interviewing for a senior role in a very corporate environment, you likely won’t need to go all out with a suit and tie.
- And lastly, be confident. Confidence sets you apart from the other candidates and is something that every interviewer looks for in a candidate. And if confidence is something you struggle with, remember you’re in that interview because you deserve to be there, and because they want to speak to you.
But the best advice we could give to you, is to work with a recruiter in your industry. Our recruitment consultants coach the candidates they work with through every stage of the process. This includes things like:
- Providing inside information on exactly what the interviewer is looking to see from the ideal candidate for this role.
- Providing feedback from clients on where past candidates went wrong, to make sure you don’t make the same mistakes.
- Finding out where you felt the interview didn’t go well, so the recruiter can go to your interviewer and work proactively to argue your case.
So if you’re searching for your next role in the Network, Infrastructure and Cyber industry, reach out to our consultant here, for some confidential advice about your career. Or have a look at our open vacancies here, to see if we’ve got any positions that interest you.