IT Jobs: Acing the Technical Interview

Tips to improve performance in the technical portion of your job interview. Practice is essential!


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Posted January 10, 2011

Deb Shinder

The tech job interview strikes fear into candidates, partially because it forces them to face unknown variables. This guide is intended to help you practice beforehand -- upping your confidence when you're in the hot seat.

The purpose of the technical interview is ostensibly to evaluate your level of knowledge or skill in the topic areas relevant to the position for which you're being considered. However, there's more going on in most interviews than that. In reality, as you struggle to explain the differences between DHCP and BOOTP or frantically search your memory for the best definition of "asynchronous," your interviewer is likely to be judging you on any or all of the following:

  • First and most obviously, how much you know about the hardware, operating systems, applications, and networking technologies with which you would be working
  • How articulate you are, especially for a position in which you may be called upon to wriemte reports or documentation, or give presentations to users or upper management
  • How poised and personable you are, especially in a position like tech support or network administration, where you will have to deal with many people at all levels of the organization
  • How well you handle stress, especially if the position is in a high-pressure, time-sensitive environment
  • How innovative you are -- can you "think outside the box" to come up with new solutions rather than just spout the party line of the moment
  • Whether you've had hands-on experience with the products, or you only know the "factoids" you read in books or learned in a classroom
  • How vendor-centric you are -- do you know only one product line (e.g., Windows or VMware) or do you have a broader base of knowledge that is necessary in today's modern hybrid network environments.
  • How willing you are to take on extra duties or work overtime when necessary; how much pride you take in your work and in doing a good job.
  • Read the rest at ServerWatch.

Tags: IT Jobs/Salary, interview

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