System Administrator Technical Interviews

I have had the opportunity to interview many candidates over the past few months and have a few tips:

  • When indicating that you have VMware experience, clearly indicate which features you have experience with. I have interviewed many candidates who claim to be experts on VI3/vSphere and yet have never used clustering or shared storage.
  • When asked about rating yourself from 1-5 or 1-10, make sure you understand which side is the proficient side and give an example of what you think is proficient in a particular area.

My methodology is to ask the interviewee to rate themselves and then ask them what that rating means to them. If they rate themselves a 4 out of 5 with general Linux system administration, I then ask them to give me a few examples of what somebody who has a 4/5 rating would be able to do. I then ask them questions based on that assessment. If you can’t win on those terms, you typically can’t win.

It is not my desire to stump somebody in an interview, I would prefer to ask them questions about what they have done in the past and get into a good dialogue about things they are familiar with.  Do your interviewer a favor and be very clear on the resume and during the interview process.

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