You’re hired: IT support interview questions and how to ace them

By Robert Half 23rd March 2018

You’ve prepared your CV, written your personal statement and finally been invited to sit down for that dream IT support role interview. Now you’re faced with your biggest challenge: thinking about the kinds of IT support interview questions you’ll be asked and preparing outstanding answers.

Once you’ve finished basic pre-interview preparation and familiarised yourself with standard interview questions regarding your personality and work ethic, you’ll need to start researching role-specific questions. The technology and IT hiring experts at Robert Half have gathered some of the most common IT support interview questions and provided advice on the kinds of answers employers are looking for.

What kind of interview questions will an IT support hiring manager ask?

It’s not uncommon for IT support job ads to include requests for candidates proficient in specific systems and software. If you aren’t familiar with the programmes they use, it’s useful to ensure you do some basic research before you go in for an interview. This will show a potential employer that you’re a fast learner, willing to take initiative and that you’re happy to go the extra mile to impress them.

You should also note that hiring managers are going to be looking for specific personal qualities in each line of IT support. First line IT support roles will require excellent customer service skills. Second line roles are generally awarded to candidates who display excellent interpersonal skills, mixed with the ability to multitask. Employers hiring for third-line IT roles will want to work with individuals who can showcase a broad understanding of a range of technologies (for example, virtualisation, SAN, Wintel) and are able to contribute on projects from inception through to delivery.

IT support interview questions and how to answer them

• Can you describe your troubleshooting and escalation process?

An employer that asks this question will be looking to see how thoroughly you gather the facts and how quickly you can provide a comprehensive answer. As with all troubleshooting, the higher your first-time fix rate, the better.

When giving your answer, try to show that you can stick to an in-house troubleshooting process (such as ITIL) and the detail with which you would explore the issue. 

• Have you ever gone the extra mile to provide support? If so, please give details.

It’s crucial to leave staff or customers feeling as though they’ve had a positive and helpful interaction with IT support. A potential employer will be interested to hear personal stories in which you went above and beyond to fulfil this function.

Before your interview, try to recall a few solid examples of situations in which you put your skills to exceptional use or where you had to effectively prioritise your tasks so when asked, you can easily re-tell them in detail.

• Can you give an example of a time when you’ve noticed a process inefficiency and what you did to remedy it?

Sitting in a second-line support role offers employees the opportunity to spot situations in which process is hindering the customer experience or business objectives. Because businesses are gearing towards streamlining themselves inside and out, they’ll want to see examples of a proactive approach to problem-solving and an innovative solution.

• If someone reported a ‘slow’ server, which tools would you use to troubleshoot the issue?

Third-line IT support role interview questions like this are a test of how resourceful and thorough you can be. It’s a good idea to make a mental note of all the projects and respective technologies that you have utilised and how those projects have supported the business. It’s worth taking the time to plan how you’ll talk about it to a potential employer, with the aim of making yourself look knowledgeable, articulate and resourceful.

• What is the function of DHCP?

Hiring managers may ask this question in an attempt to explore how much you know about network protocols and how deep your understanding is of network infrastructure.

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