[nSLUG] Interview questions

Daniel Morrison draker at gmail.com
Mon Oct 22 15:42:27 ADT 2007

On 22/10/2007, Bill Davidson <billdavidson at eastlink.ca> wrote:

> What are you favourite interview questions?  What best distinguish a
> competent or experienced dullard from someone with a strong and deep
> understanding of unix?  Is there some technical question you were once
> asked in a interview (or elsewhere) that made you stop and think?  What
> question could you be asked (or would you ask of another), the answer to
> which would summarize all the best qulities of a really good sysadmin?

One I often get:

- What should be done when an account is terminated (user is fired,
  resigns, student leaves, etc...)
  Answer should include the usual (block/delete account everywhere, change
  passwords known to the user, remove privileges granted to the account,
  etc) as well as tricky ones such as remove cron/at jobs set by the user,
  and kill all running processes owned by the user.

It's always good to ask some awk/sed/sort questions, to distinguish a real
cmd-line user from a point-n-click admin.  For example, ask what these do:

awk -F: 'print $1' /etc/passwd | sort

- lists users from /etc/passwd alphabetically

sort -rnt: -k3,3 /etc/passwd

- sorts the /etc/passwd file by UID, in reverse

echo "name:value1:value2" | sed 's/^[^:]*://' | tr ':' ','

- removes the 'name' field (and trailing ':') and converts the values into
  comma-separated format.

There have been some other very good suggestions by others also.

To echo an earlier aside: are any of these positions still open?


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