Whether you’re interviewing a candidate for an IT position, or you’re the candidate being interviewed, the face-to-face interview is still the best way to understand whether a candidate and a company are a right fit for each other. While the candidate gets the chance to display both her technical skills and soft skills such as interpersonal communication, likeability, and an ability to grow, the interviewer can use carefully crafted questions to identify key strengths and weaknesses of a candidate that may not be evident in her resume or references.

And since the field of information technology is expected to continue its rapid growth, so will the number of available jobs, salaries, and prospective candidates competing for these positions. With so many candidates and openings, the interviewer must be prepared to ask the right questions, and the candidate should be well versed in answering these questions.

We surveyed IT teams from across industries. Below are a few questions, categorized by different job roles, that commonly come up in IT job interviews today.

General IT

  1. What are some of the biggest trends impacting the IT industry, and how do you expect these to affect your job?
  2. Can you provide me with an example of a recent project that you made faster or more efficient?
  3. What is Active Directory?
  4. What are the physical and logical parts of ADS?
  5. Tell me about the steps you must take to update your domain DNS records.

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IT Management

  1. How do you go about choosing between two or more critical budgetary items within an organization?
  2. How do you communicate the same message to different audiences? How do you customize your message?
  3. Do you think there is a difference between managing people and managing ideas?
  4. How do you resolve conflict that arises within your team?
  5. How would you handle insubordination or direct reports not performing up to expectation?

Network/System Administrator

  1. What is the difference between TCP and UDP?
  2. What is ARP/RARP?
  3. Describe a TCP connection sequence.
  4. What other TCP settings can you modify besides MTU to shorten packets?
  5. What is the subnet for a class C network?

IT Help Desk

  1. How do you handle a frustrated or unsatisfied customer?
  2. How would you communicate with a customer who doesn’t understand the primary language you speak?
  3. How do you respond to a customer question when you do not know the answer?
  4. What are some of the drawbacks of trying to solve a problem over a phone? How do you get around these drawbacks?
  5. How do you face customer criticism?

Database Administrator

  1. What does the primary key of a database table represent? What about its secondary key?
  2. What is the difference between an operational database, relational database, and object-oriented database?
  3. How would you migrate a database built in MySQL to Microsoft SQL Server?
  4. What do the ‘INSERT’, ‘UPDATE’, and ‘DROP’ queries do?
  5. When would you use an offline backup method versus an online method?

Programming/Software Development

  1. How do you handle source control?
  2. What is abstraction with regards to .NET?
  3. What’s your experience level with Eclipse or Visual Studio?
  4. Do you use code from GitHub or provide code to an open-source project in GitHub? Do you respond to questions on Stack Overflow?
  5. What is your advice when a client wants high performance, usability, and security?

Information Security

  1. How is a threat different from a vulnerability?
  2. Do you consider proprietary source projects more secure than open source ones? Why or why not?
  3. Can you describe the information lifecycle? How do you ensure information security at each phase?
  4. What does an intrusion detection system do? How does it do it?
  5. What technologies and processes are used to secure data that moves to cloud services?