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  • Job Interview

    Hey folks,

    I've got a concern...

    I know most of my post are clownish with attempts to be humorous but now I have serious business that I need HELP with.

    I've been scheduled for a PHONE Technical Interview for a Net Admin Job.

    Things I know...( to save time)

    1. Research the company
    2. Use proper syntax, grammer, and diction
    3. Have notes accessible during the interview.
    4. I am qualified

    What I need....
    1. What IS a "phone Technical interview?"
    2. What should I expect?
    3. Advice
    4. Will they ask about skill sets?
    5. Any help or guideance at all.

    Here is the job discription:

    Local, well established, respected and successful network integration company has immediate opportunity available for a highly-motivated, IT networking professional.

    Strong technical orientation; excellent written and verbal communication skills; strong presentation skills; professional demeanor and leadership abilities; capable of comfortably meeting with customers at all levels.

    Must be familiar with LAN/WAN, Network Protocols, Network Operating Systems, LAN topology and software including ETHERNET, TCP/IP, VOIP, 803.11, RAS, security systems, servers, routers, switches, firewalls, etc.

    B.S. or B.A. degree or equivalent experience is required. 3 -5 years experience in network environment. MCSE / CCNA preferred.


    How can I sidestep my lack of MCSE or CCNA? The only cert I currently have is DB.

    I know a lot of you are in the field and some may even be recruiters or HR types and I need you help or advice to get through this - anything at all.

    I'm not asking how to bullshit them - I believe I have the skill set to do this job.

    I appreciate any advice at all...


    Tommy
    "640k ought to be enough for anybody" - Bill Gates 1981

  • #2
    Originally posted by SlackJaw
    Must be familiar with LAN/WAN, Network Protocols, Network Operating Systems, LAN topology and software including ETHERNET, TCP/IP, VOIP, 803.11, RAS, security systems, servers, routers, switches, firewalls, etc.
    one thing you could do on the phone would be to ask if they were aware of a typo in their job description... since i'm pretty sure that they meant 802.11 judging from all the rest of their text.

    in fact (and i'm certain that if anyone could correct me on this, they'd be here on this forum somewhere) i've never even heard of an IEEE 803 family of standards.

    familiarizing yourself with the 802 family couldn't hurt, but i'd guess that they're just interested in someone who knows about wi-fi network connections. funny thing is, i have loads of wireless experience and i only tend to give out one piece of advice to clients in this area... "there is no fucking reason on earth that you should be running wi-fi in this facility. turn it off, and tell Wilbur in the front office that he has to run a CAT5 cable along the far wall to reach his laptop at the corner desk."

    the name of the one or two idiots who are using wi-fi will vary... my advice will not. unless there is a RIDICULOUSLY COMPELLING NEED for wireless, companies should not be using it. fortunately, this is often easily handled since i tend to walk into job sites having already done a 802.11 scan outside on the way there. i show the tech officer the names and locations of open networks all through his office plaza, mentioning his company in the list. usually they just hustle their ass to turn the shit off and ask me not to mention what i found to any senior officers.
    Last edited by Deviant Ollam; January 24, 2006, 09:38.
    "I'll admit I had an OiNK account and frequented it quite often… What made OiNK a great place was that it was like the world's greatest record store… iTunes kind of feels like Sam Goody to me. I don't feel cool when I go there. I'm tired of seeing John Mayer's face pop up. I feel like I'm being hustled when I visit there, and I don't think their product is that great. DRM, low bit rate, etc... OiNK it existed because it filled a void of what people want."
    - Trent Reznor

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Deviant Ollam
      one thing you could do on the phone would be to ask if they were aware of a typo in their job description... since i'm pretty sure that they meant 802.11 judging from all the rest of their text.

      in fact (and i'm certain that if anyone could correct me on this, they'd be here on this forum somewhere) i've never even heard of an IEEE 803 family of standards.

      familiarizing yourself with the 802 family couldn't hurt, but i'd guess that they're just interested in someone who knows about wi-fi network connections. funny thing is, i have loads of wireless experience and i only tend to give out one piece of advice to clients in this area... "there is no fucking reason on earth that you should be running wi-fi in this facility. turn it off, and tell Wilbur in the front office that he has to run a CAT5 cable along the far wall to reach his laptop at the corner desk."

      the name of the one or two idiots who are using wi-fi will vary... my advice will not. unless there is a RIDICULOUSLY COMPELLING NEED for wireless, companies should not be using it. fortunately, this is often easily handled since i tend to walk into job sites having already done a 802.11 scan outside on the way there. i show the tech officer the names and locations of open networks all through his office plaza, mentioning his company in the list. usually they just hustle their ass to turn the shit off and ask me not to mention what i found to any senior officers.
      Glad to see I've scared the crap out of you :)

      The MCSE thing might only cause problems if they are'nt willing to test that you know the material. Rather than putting down 'Must know Microsoft server technologies, desktop OS's, AD, etc, ad nauseum' they just put down 'MCSE'. Now if you know the material, just tell them that you do and tell them that you did'nt want to waste good money on a designation that is as useful as having your burger flipping shifts at McDonalds on your resume.

      I have my MCSE (stop snickering) and I can tell you that companies use it only as a baseline for judging candidates. "If Applicant has Foo then they must know Blah". It serves as no practical measure of your ability to actually do the job or understand more than how to pass a test. Remind them of this fact and hopefully they understand.

      Just my $0.02
      Never drink anything larger than your head!





      Comment


      • #4
        I have found that with a 'technical phone interview' you are going to get one of two things.

        1. HR Drone is going to call you with what basically ammounts to a checklist provided to him/her by the manager requesting the headcount. These are easy, since the interviewer usually doesnt have any skills, they are just looking to match your words to the checklist. This can be very annoying. Lets say you know infosec inside and out, but dont have your CISSP (dont get me started on this). HR Drone is looking to hear 'CISSP' so they can put a check next to it. So, even though you would impress a technical person and they might let your lack of a CISSP slide, the HR person wont. Find out in the interview who you are talking to. If its an HR person, make sure you are fully buzzword compliant. Keep the job description in front of you, make references to specific things in the description because thats what they are checking against.

        2. An actual technical person. This could be the manager who's hiring for the position or one of their technical underlings. This is what we do at my office. HR sends us some resumes of potential candidates, my boss decides who's worth taking a look at, then either calls them himself or farms it out to one of us. If you know your shit, this is the best you can hope for, as you get to talk to a person who understands the job. If you dont know your foo, well, you're screwed. Hit the books. These types of interviews are good as you're talking to a peer and can establish a bit of a rapport.

        Oh, and one word of advice: If you are talking to a technical person, dont search google for the answers while you are talking to them. I say this because when I ask someone a question in a technical interview, I google it. If their responses look an awful lot like the pages that came back when I googled the question, I know they are bullshitting me.

        I return whatever i wish . Its called FREEDOWM OF RANDOMNESS IN A HECK . CLUSTERED DEFEATED CORn FORUM . Welcome to me

        Comment


        • #5
          Listen to the above three guys.

          Then, consider:

          A phone technical interview is really just a pre-screening. They want to make sure you have the ability to do the job before wasting their in-person time to interview whether or not they think you're a person that should be working with/for them.

          They may throw one or two general interview questions, but expect them to lay down a load of tech questions surrounding the required knowledge areas. Based on what you listed, I would expect a fair amount of basic ethernet-related questions. I would have a general idea of several VoIP or RAS solutions, but I wouldn't sweat the specifics on those, they just want to you install implement a solution at some point.. something most people who know nothing about them can pull off by bugging the manufacturer and ISP enough.

          The MSCE thing simply means that they run a Microsoft crutched network and have no desire to change any time soon. You need to know how to go in there and admin their servers without fucking things up. If you lack practical MS admin abilities than this might show up in the technical interview based on several server admin-like questions that they will likely answer, probably involving Active Directory.

          The CCNA thing really is just a backfall to prove you know the basics about networking that they need to:
          1) interconnect their systems and devices locally
          2) set up some form of routing and central firewalling solution

          If you know a shred of this and can bluff your way through the rest than you'll be fine. I can't count how many "Administrators" or high-paid "consultants" that don't have a fucking clue what their doing in this arena. If you're one of them and I catch you on the phone I'll beat you.. stop now and learn the shit before pawning your ignorance off on others that are likely lower-paid than you will be. :) sigh sigh breathe...

          And of course, possibly expect a basic WiFi question.. I say question because I can't imagine it being more than one based on the rest of qualifications listed. Generally the interviews only last 20-45 minutes.. so the questioners have limited time to make sure you know the more important basics they require.

          One slight addendum to Deviants typo approach though.. I wouldn't make particular effort to point out the typo... it could be construed as a personality conflict that gets you knocked out before they even decide whether to assess your personality in the real interview. In practically every interview they will ask at one point or another if you have any questions.. capitalize on this. In every slam dunk interview in my past, I've noticed the following trends:

          1) Absolutely nail every tech question they have. Period.
          2) If I can't nail it on a more abstract question, ask for an opportunity to think it over a bit and move on to other questions. Be sure to bring the other question back up once you are ready to nail it, because the interviewer might be using this as an opportunity to see if that was a true need for time, or a diversion to not answer the question. which brings me to the next:
          3) If you do not know the answer and have no intention of answering it.. skip the bullshit and admit you do not know it. If it is an easy ethernet question, expect the interview to have gone south, but finish it out to the best of your ability. Otherwise show interest and inquire about it. I had one interview where they asked something I had no clue about.. they came back and said 'yeah, most of our engineers dont even know that product well, so dont worry about it'. Not answeing gets you a 0 in their books either way, so if you try to fake it you'll lose personality points.
          4) When they ask for questions, have questions. Not too many, but at least a couple to show interest. This is a really easy thing, since you will have expectations of them as your employer. One of the defaults I ask is what kind of training path/expectations they would have for me, because when I enter a job I have every intention to move nowhere but up and learn from the experience.

          ^- this is seriously the perfect time to insert Deviants idea, especially if you have nailed other previous tech questions. I would approach it as a question about the listed job responsibilies, what they meant by 803.11 knowledge... don't push it to far, but orchestrate it into a laughing/joking matter between you and them.. then send a small jab of 803 knowledge their way to show you have 1) character 2) more networking knowledge than they had previously questioned you about. Otherwise pointing out the typo may show as annoying or petty.
          Last edited by converge; January 24, 2006, 10:57.
          if it gets me nowhere, I'll go there proud; and I'm gonna go there free.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by noid
            If their responses look an awful lot like the pages that came back when I googled the question, I know they are bullshitting me.
            dammit.. I knew I should have picked an answer further down :p

            actually, depending on your typing patterns, the keyboard you use, and the quality of your phone.. the interviewer will likely pick up on your delayed answer matched with the keypresses that ensue.

            Here's a wild thought.. don't worry about bluffing your way! If you can't really do the job than it will show up at one point or another, whether you make it past the interview or not. If you do bluff your way through, expect someone like me to get your ass fired before corrupting the integrity and accomplishment of the department.
            if it gets me nowhere, I'll go there proud; and I'm gonna go there free.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by converge
              dammit.. I knew I should have picked an answer further down :p

              actually, depending on your typing patterns, the keyboard you use, and the quality of your phone.. the interviewer will likely pick up on your delayed answer matched with the keypresses that ensue.

              Here's a wild thought.. don't worry about bluffing your way! If you can't really do the job than it will show up at one point or another, whether you make it past the interview or not. If you do bluff your way through, expect someone like me to get your ass fired before corrupting the integrity and accomplishment of the department.
              I don't really feel the need to bluff; I feel reasonably safe that I have the skills. I've been a Net Admin before, on a smaller scale - but that usually requires MORE diverse knowledge. (web, DB, Desktop Pubs, etc)

              I'm just afraid I'll fuck it up by being caught off guard - usually by the aforementiond HR types.

              However, noid busted me on the google thing because I was poised to do just that - now I most assuredly wil not. This was going to be my backup plan but hopefully I'll be able to satisfy them with my own answers.

              Well, the interview is Friday at 9am est. I'll bone up on VoIP - my weak spot, and wi-fi and try to muster my self-confidence.

              As usual, you geeks generated some amazing insight drawn from personal experiences. I owe you guys...

              BTW, at what point should I tell them I consider myself a leet haxor?
              "640k ought to be enough for anybody" - Bill Gates 1981

              Comment


              • #8
                Don't worry about the lack of certs. Certs are for chimps. The only people who think they are worth anything are suits and HR drones. The people you need to impress know that all a cert means is you memorized a bunch of crap long enough to pass a test.
                "There are no failed experiments, only more data"

                Comment


                • #9
                  Well, it's over - in 12 minutes. Here are his questions and a one or two word indicator of the angle I took on the answers.


                  Q You can't connect to the NETWORK, where do you troubleshoot?
                  A ipconfig - check for IP - ping


                  Q You're setting up a 25 station network - you have 2 servers, a router, an 8 port switch and a 24 port hub. What plugs where for OPTIMUM proformance.

                  A Router, Servers, and hub to switch - Workstations pull back to hub

                  Q . What is a Gateway?
                  A Private IP on one side, Public on the other. Inet connection etc...

                  Q What would you set up for a traveling salesman so he can connect his laptop to the network?
                  A RAS

                  Q When a salesman is on the road, his laptop desktop is different from his workstation at the business..why?
                  A Roaming Profiles


                  Q What does DHCP do?
                  A Issues IPs


                  Q In XP Pro, how do you join a domain?
                  A >control panel>system>computer name>join domain>reboot


                  Q I've installed a Win2000 server...I want users to join a domain but I DO NOT want to install or use Active Directory. How can I do this?
                  A I stumble fucked over this like an asshole - the answer is...you can't! I told him if you promote the server it HAS to install AD..but I wasn't sure..

                  I was a tongue tied freak....and I really know this shit...maybe I'll get to round two.

                  Thanks for the advice guys.

                  Tommy
                  Last edited by SlackJaw; January 27, 2006, 07:42.
                  "640k ought to be enough for anybody" - Bill Gates 1981

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by SlackJaw
                    Q You can't connect to the NETWORK, where do you troubleshoot?
                    A ipconfig - check for IP - ping
                    It's better to traverse the 7 layer model,, "up," the stack.
                    Link-Light? Plugged-in? (The first question tech support often asks)
                    Arp Cache? Activity Light? VLAN?
                    Interface IP Address?
                    Filter/Firewall settings?
                    Kernel bugs for session management or NAT errors?
                    Tunnel failure? VPN Failure?
                    Application failures? Proxy settings?
                    (Not a complete list, but ensuring lower layers work, makes testing of higher layers more productive.)

                    Q You're setting up a 25 station network - you have 2 servers, a router, an 8 port switch and a 24 port hub. What plugs where for OPTIMUM proformance.

                    A Router, Servers, and hub to switch - Workstations pull back to hub
                    Bad question. metrics for "performance" are not specified. You should ask them what kind of performance is desired.
                    Server and workstations to have low latency to next hop?
                    Workstations don't access next hop, but are isolated and only talk to the server on their collision domain?
                    These questions are sometimes included to see if you will ask for clarification and the kinds of questions you ask can give the interviewer your depth of knowledge.

                    Q . What is a Gateway?
                    A Private IP on one side, Public on the other. Inet connection etc...
                    Bad Question. In old RFP, a Gateway was effectively a "router" but later, the defiition was changed to refer to an application layer proxy.
                    Then MS chose to define it different from RFP in their Cert Program.
                    This ambiguity from "the old days" made its way into OS network configuration panels like MacOS and others, where the name for the IP Router field was "gateway."
                    Of course, a Gateway could also be the name of a computer company, well known for their expensive paperweight/doorstop-line of computers.

                    Again, bad question, and clarification would have been good.

                    Q What would you set up for a traveling salesman so he can connect his laptop to the network?
                    A RAS
                    The answer here depends on the kind of shop they run and their expectations on data and access to data.
                    Is "The Network" the business network, or hotel high-speed internet?

                    Clarification on some questions is good.

                    Q When a salesman is on the road, his laptop desktop is different from his workstation at the business..why?
                    A Roaming Profiles
                    Must be a Windows shop. This could be a question to ask the obvious, or designed to see if you will question the ultimately desired result.
                    "In what way should they be compared? Physically? Their contents? Their configuration?"
                    Find the scope of answers desired by the interviewer. It can also help you to get a higher score by having you answer be on target.

                    Q What does DHCP do?
                    A Issues IPs
                    It does more than that, and being pedantic, I'd change this to, "Issues IP leases and other network settings to clients specified to have them based on the information provided in their request and the server's configuration."
                    DHCP can do many things, such as provide information about NTP servers, Windows Browsemaster, DNS Servers, assist in Netbooting, aid the uploading and upgrading of firmware in network devices ...
                    You could also have described the reasons why DHCP is so popular-- "provides centralize management of IP Leases, and network configuration information to desired/expected requests made by configured clients."

                    Some questions test depth, and some questions test bredth, while other question may check to see if you have the consideration to ask for more information, but they all help the interviewer see/hear a sample of your attitude.

                    You can easily see/hear if they are frustrated with your questions, or are tired, and build your answers to impress them more.

                    Q In XP Pro, how do you join a domain?
                    A >control panel>system>computer name>join domain>reboot
                    No mention of assumptions that the domain exists, and work that must be done to ensure the process is completed, and verified as working?
                    (heh)

                    Q I've installed a Win2000 server...I want users to join a domain but I DO NOT want to install or use Active Directory. How can I do this?
                    A I stumble fucked over this like an asshole - the answer is...you can't! I told him if you promote the server it HAS to install AD..but I wasn't sure..
                    Joking here:
                    Install Linux! Problem Solved! (heh)

                    I was a tongue tied freak....and I really know this shit...maybe I'll get to round two.
                    Good luck. Better job means more money for DefCon.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by TheCotMan


                      Joking here:
                      Install Linux! Problem Solved! (heh)
                      I actually said that! and added use LDAP..

                      Thanks Cot. I did answer in a bit more depth, I just used one or two words here to illustrate my line of thinking.

                      If I land this job, there is no doubt I'll kick in some money to the CON...

                      cya

                      Tommy
                      "640k ought to be enough for anybody" - Bill Gates 1981

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Well, I have such an interview coming up with Google next week. I can just tell they're looking for adminsitration/deployment drones...
                        45 5F E1 04 22 CA 29 C4 93 3F 95 05 2B 79 2A B0
                        45 5F E1 04 22 CA 29 C4 93 3F 95 05 2B 79 2A B1
                        [ redacted ]

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by bascule
                          Well, I have such an interview coming up with Google next week. I can just tell they're looking for adminsitration/deployment drones...

                          You will be assimilated. And in 3 years be worth a hundred billion dollars...(pinky to corner of mouth)

                          I'm here in Contra Costa County myself.
                          Windows is a stable platform, Linux is user-friendly, Mac's have average graphics.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Sorry for posting on the edge to off-topic, but where do you get these certs?
                            At universities? High-Schools? Phone?

                            -Confused GBHis

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by GBHis
                              Sorry for posting on the edge to off-topic, but where do you get these certs?
                              you get them from here.
                              "I'll admit I had an OiNK account and frequented it quite often… What made OiNK a great place was that it was like the world's greatest record store… iTunes kind of feels like Sam Goody to me. I don't feel cool when I go there. I'm tired of seeing John Mayer's face pop up. I feel like I'm being hustled when I visit there, and I don't think their product is that great. DRM, low bit rate, etc... OiNK it existed because it filled a void of what people want."
                              - Trent Reznor

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