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11 Common Questions Asked During a Network Engineer Interview

Posted by Jeff Pelliccio on Jul 6, 2016 9:00:00 AM

In Interview Tips

The interview for a Network Engineer role will inevitably start with the general questions we have all heard before (“So, tell me about yourself”). To then go from interviewee to employee, you will need to know more. We have collected some FAQs for you from employers, headhunters, and network engineers  on what topics might arise during an IT job interview. Prepare answers for these questions and you will not have to say, ‘wait, I can check it on Google.’ (Actually, never say that):

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  1. What are your strengths? Hopefully, you are sitting in the right place and you are interviewing for a job that best suits your skills. As a network engineer you do not want to interview for a WAN spot when you are much more experienced with LAN.
  2. How do you fit into our unique culture? Is this company similar to your last employer? And is that good or bad? Maybe you have only worked in a small-sized company and you are interviewing for a role in a much larger organization. How will you find your way and how important is your work envirnoment? Familiarize yourself with required hours, travel and evaluate your capability (and true willingness) to comply.
  3. What motivates you to do your job? The work day for a Network Engineer is demanding and sometimes tedious. How do you keep from becoming overwhelmed, burned out, or disinterested? Explain your day-to-day demeanor that keeps you going.
  4. What do you think about the issue with Network Addresses disappearing? No one is asking you to save the world, but you should still be aware of pending critical issues that feel almost as big. All of the network addresses will be taken soon, and then what? At the very least, lay out your understanding of the issue and your ability to handle difficult transitions.
  5. How do you improve network efficiency? Every company is constantly worrying about overloading the network so that they do not have to invest more money in adequate infrastructure. If you have a clever approach in your back pocket, please share! Leave out the specifics of your approach so that you’ll prove your expertise without giving away your own ideas.
  6. What’s your most efficient routing protocol? Be able to thoroughly explain the basic requirements of a router, its function, and why we use it. It may sound very simple, but being able to automatically recont the basics of being a Network Engineer is exatly what a company is looking for in a new recruit. 
  7. What is your troubleshooting process? Crash, diagnose, recover... How do you put a unique spin on how you get the network up and functioning again? The answer should combine standard industry procedures and then some of your own innovations. Finally, emphasize how you would remain calm after a complete network crash.
  8. What mistakes have you made in the past and how have you corrected them? Much like your explanation of your troubleshooting process, this is an opportunity to describe your problem solving skills.
  9. Have you managed heterogeneous networks and environments that support both Linux and Windows-based networking? Major hint: the answer is not ‘yes’ or ‘no’. Most companies need Network Engineers to have proficiency in a hybrid environment. Describe your struggles and successes in order to prove your adaptability and versatility.
  10. What do you like about Cisco? Cisco will probably be addressed at some point during the interview. Or maybe you are interviewing at Cisco. Share your likes and dislikes so that the interviewer can measure your expertise and technical knowledge. Additionally, talk about the Cisco certifications you have and/ or plan on obtaining.
  11. Why do you want to work for us? It is finally time to talk compensation. You, the in-demand Network Engineer, will probably be offered a handsome salary. But any hint that compensation is a higher priority than devotion to the company’s mission will be a turn-off. Do the research beforehand. Knowing the corporate history will impress the interviewer and place yourself as part of the day to day operations.