Get Your Dream IT Job! 77 Questions You Need to be Ready For

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Are you still looking for the IT job of your dreams? Don't give up, it's out there! I'm lucky enough to have one, and so can you!

Finding an opening for an awesome job is hard enough; once you get the call for an interview, you need to make sure that you'll make a good impression. So before you walk in for your interview, here are the top 77 questions that you need to be ready for.

UPDATE for 2013: Check out our enhanced list of interview questions to make sure you're totally ready before the interview, and we also created a guide for technical questions usually asked of IT admins.

Top Interview Questions for IT Pros

First you'll find interview questions by position type:

  • Entry Level and Help Desk -- for those who are starting out in the IT field
  • Network Administrator and System Administrator -- for more advanced positions

The last set of questions includes general HR questions, some of which you might be familiar with.

As you'll notice, there aren't any answers, but that's because I want YOU to come up with them. Do some research if you have to and maybe you'll even learn a thing or two. The most important thing is that you will be fully prepared! You will be ready for anything they'll throw at you, and you will get the job!

I would also suggest that you practice answering these questions until you feel confident. Make sure your answers reflect your knowledge, skills and personality -- in other words, the real you -- not what you think the person interviewing you wants to hear.

Now before we get started, I would like to encourage you to add your own interview questions in the comments below so that others can benefit from them. Try to stick to IT related questions, but general HR questions are fine too.

Entry-Level and Help Desk Positions

These questions are mostly for Help Desk positions but I wouldn't be surprised if an entry-level candidate was asked any one of these questions. If you don't know the answer, find it, memorize it and then practice explaining it in your own words.

1. What is the difference between a hub and a switch?

2. What is a network?

3. What is Active Directory?

4. What is TCP/IP and what does it stand for?

5. What is a default gateway?

6. What does DHCP stand for?

7. What is an IP Address?

8. What is the significance of the IP address

9. What are the 3 major classes of an IP network?

10. What is a Class D IP address?

11. What is OSPF?

12. A user is complaining of delays when using the network. What would you do?

Network Administrator Positions

Some of these questions may also be included in the previous category for Help Desk Technician positions. In either case, they're worth preparing for.

13. What is the difference between layer 2 and layer 3 in the OSI model?

14. What is the difference between a hub, switch, and router?

15. What is a VLAN?

16. What is the difference between TCP and UDP?

17. How do you distinguish a DNS problem from a network problem?

18. What are a runt, Giant, and collision?

19. What is a broadcast storm?

20. What is the purpose of VRRP?

21. What is a VPN?

22. What is a default route?

23. How do you set a default route on an IOS Cisco router?

24. What is a metric?

25. What is a MAC address?

26. What is ARP/RARP?

27. Describe a TCP connection sequence.

28. What is MTU?

29. What other TCP setting can you modify besides MTU to shorten packets?

System Administration Position

Here are a few more questions that are a little bit more difficult. System Admins should know all these answers by heart in addition to the Network Administrator questions.

30. What is the difference between layer 2 and layer 3 devices?

31. What is the subnet for a class C network?

32. Have you configured a NIS server/client before? If so, describe what you did.

33. Have your configured a NFS server?

34. What are RAID 1 and RAID 5?

35. What are the required components of Windows Server 2003 for installing Exchange 2003?

36. What must be done to an AD forest before Exchange can be deployed?

37. What Exchange process is responsible for communication with AD?

38. What connector type would you use to connect to the Internet, and what are the two methods of sending mail over that connector?

39. How would you optimize Exchange 2003 memory usage on Windows Server 2003 with more than 1Gb of memory?

40. What are the standard port numbers for SMTP, POP3, IMAP4, RPC, LDAP and Global Catalog?

41. Name the process names for the following: System Attendant, Information Store, SMTP/POP/IMAP/OWA.

42. What is the maximum amount of databases that can be hosted on Exchange 2003 Enterprise?

43. What are the disadvantages of circular logging?

44. >What is Active Directory schema?

45. What are the domain functional levels in Windows Server 2003?

46. What is the default domain functional level in Windows Server 2003?

47. What are the forest functional levels in Windows Server 2003?

48. What is a global catalog server?

49. How can we raise domain functional and forest functional levels in Windows Server 2003?

50. What is the default protocol used in directory services?

51. What is IPv6?

52. What are the physical & logical components of ADS?

53. In which domain functional level, we can rename a domain name?

54. What is multimaster replication?

55. What is a site?

56. Which is the command used to remove active directory from a domain controller?

57. What is the file that's responsible for keeping all Active Directory databases?

General HR Questions

These general questions can be the toughest ones to get through. They might sound easy, but they require a lot of thought and preparation. I would suggest writing down your answers first, then reading them over a few times so that you're comfortable in answering them.

Some of these questions are very tricky and can get you in trouble. So if you run into problems finding a good answer, check out these 64 Interview Questions for some help.

58. Tell us a little bit about yourself.

59. What are your greatest strengths?

60. What are your greatest weaknesses?

61. What do you like about your current job or what did you like about your last job?

62. Give us an example of when you handled a stressful situation.

62. Give us an example of one of the toughest problems you had to face, and how did you deal with it?

63. Why do you think you should get this position?

64. Do you think you are the best person for this job? If so, why?

65. Why did you apply for this position?

66. Why did you apply for a position with our company and what do you know about us?

67. Why should we hire you?

68. Tell us about your short and long term goals?

69. Where do you see yourself five years from now?

70. Please explain, what does customer service mean to you?

71. What does being a team player mean to you?

72. Give us an example of how you handled a conflict with another employee?

73. What are your salary expectations?

74. What would you consider your most important accomplishment?

75. How would you define success?

76. At your last review, what improvements did your manager suggest you make?

77. What would your coworkers say about you?

I hope these are helpful! As I mentioned above, feel free to post your own interview questions in the comments below.

Ready to test your skills in People Management? See how they stack up with this assessment from Smarterer. Start this People Management test now.

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Gosia Grabowska

Gosia Grabowska is an experienced Network Support Specialist and an expert in Windows Server support. She graduated from DePaul University, Chicago with a Bachelor degree in Network Technologies with highest honors. Gosia has over 8 years of technical and support experience and has worked as Systems Administrator for a high profile law firm, where she managed the Backup and Disaster Recovery plan. Gosia has been a part of the Train Signal team since 2006 as the Product Manager and has written many articles on a variety of topics, including Exchange Server 2007, Windows Vista, Small Business Server, and more. (MCTS Active Directory, MCTS Vista, Network+, Linux+, Project+, PMP)