3 Tips for Preparing for a System Admin Job Interview

Systems administrators have one of the healthiest job outlooks looking into the near future. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts strong growth between now and 2022, which will mean approximately 43,000 new positions. If you want to get into this type of role, how can you stand out from the crowd during your interview?

Know Your Basics

Your interview will probably begin with basic background questions: what relevant classes have you taken? Tell us about your professional experience. Can you tell us what the following terms mean?

  • FTP
  • Half Duplex
  • Full Duplex
  • TCP/IP
  • VPN

Be able to explain what these are and what they do.

Show Your Advanced Knowledge

Now that you’ve warmed up with the basics, you can be ready to go into a little more depth. You may be asked to define the following terms and what their purposes are:

  • Global Catalog Server
  • Active Directory
  • Group Policy Object
  • GPOs Processing Order
  • Enforced GPO
  • Lingering Object

Go Into Depth

Finally, you’ll probably have to demonstrate your skills in troubleshooting and proactive problem resolution as well as your understanding of network architecture. The best way to do this is show that you know how to identify the root cause of problems and prevent further issues. So when you’re asked questions, go into as much depth as possible, taking the interviewer step-by-step through your thought processes.

You may be asked questions about what happens when you type something specific at a shell prompt, or what you would do if an HTTP monitor says the website is down but you can telnet to the port. You may also be asked what you would do if your initial solution to a problem failed, or how you’ve used your knowledge of operating systems to optimize a network. Explain exactly what you’d do in each situation and why.

Because system administrators are responsible for so many critical IT tasks, employers want to know they’re hiring people who know how to design, create, manage and maintain network servers. If you’re not sure you’re ready for this next step in your career, talk to the team at Triumph Services. We can show you how to get there and help you get the experience you need!

By Logan Bragg: Partner, Triumph Services. As head of the Recruiting Division of Triumph, he has helped thousands of candidates find rewarding positions.