[nSLUG] Interview questions
budman85 at eastlink.ca
Mon Oct 22 20:31:11 ADT 2007
Bill Davidson wrote:
> I have always hated job interviews, but now I find myself in the
> unfamiliar position of having to conduct one. I have been asked to
> handle the technical parts of a couple of interviews for Unix/Linux
> sysadmin positions.
> 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?
> Or at the very least, what can I ask so that I don't look like an idiot?
Ian said it best. :)
I had to tech many over the years and I find although the cmd line
questions do help,
they often only show a persons skills under pressure. During the
interview, I always
try to joke a bit, to make them feel at ease. Get them talking. Once
you get over that hurdle,
most will open up and share their experiences.
Try to stay away from hype words... I always hate that in interviews.
Mainly because I once had a boss that I swore had a buzzword of the day
It wouldn't have been bad if he actually knew what he was spewing.
The best question I was ever asked, was by my present employer.
Looking at your skills, I see you've worked on many projects.
Tell me about things you've accomplished over the years.
It was the only question I was asked, which kind of worried me. I
got the job the next day.
What I realized was people generally like to talk about themselves.
So let it happen. :)
As for the worst question.. well there are two:
A) My wife, who was a HR manager years ago, told me you can always
tell who the asshole in the group is.
They ask the question "Where do you see yourself in 5 years?". Her
response to an interviewer that
asked it... "Being your boss". The owner nearly spit out his
coffee. She was hired soon after, and
became a dept. manager in less than 5 years. :)
B) I was applying for a Solaris/Linux position when I was asked,
"Your qualifications look very impressive,
we would like to conduct a technical interview with our in house
expert. First question, do you know what
registry key you would change to disable this *behavior* in NT? I
replied, not off hand, but if you let me use the registry
editor, I'm sure I can find it. Well, you must know it from memory.
I said, I thought the ad was for a Solaris/Linux
admin? Well, we only have a few of those machine, and besides we
are mostly a Windows NT Shop! I left the
interview, told the recruiter, "I thought it was Solaris? All they
asked were obscure Windows questions, not
one Solaris/Linux question. " A few weeks later I was hired by my
current employer. After about a year, the company
that interviewed me wanted to make me an offer if I was still
interested. They apologized for the interview, and realized
their so-called expert was actually sabotaging their plans for a
Linux migration. Oh well... so sad.
Just remember they are more nervous than you.
My wife gave me some great tips for interviewing, which really work.
Break the ice and make them feel comfortable - get them to talk.
It will always weed out the word-wizards and those with actual skills. :)
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