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Really need interview advice please

Discussion in 'Employment & Jobs' started by spy22, Jun 7, 2009.

  1. spy22

    spy22 Byte Poster

    Hi all,

    I have got my first interview in 2 weeks for an IT Desktop Support Post for a local authority based company.

    The job is very basic, answering calls upgrading systems etc for my local council and the different sites it has within the borough e.g customer service department/gyms/community centres etc..

    (and 19-21k a year which I think is brilliant)

    The reason I need some advice is due to the fact that the interview process consists of an hours formal interview and an hours exam!!??:blink I have not been to any IT based interview before so can only imagine what to expect but have no real idea.

    Has anyone got any idea or links to what sort of exam based questions they will be asking or seen any exams like this before and has anyone got any tips on things you would expect them to ask in an interview?

    Thanks in advance for any comments

    Kind Regards

    Certifications: Its who you know not what you know!!!
    WIP: CCNA?
  2. Bluerinse
    Honorary Member

    Bluerinse Exabyte Poster

    Don't worry about it mate, just go in there and do your best. They are just testing you to ascertain where your current knowledge stands. So, my guess is, it's not so much a question of passing to get the job, it's a matter of answering what you can with the knowledge you have.
    Certifications: C&G Electronics - MCSA (W2K) MCSE (W2K)
  3. Josiahb

    Josiahb Gigabyte Poster

    Blues right, I very much doubt that the 'exam' will have any kind of formal pass mark it'll be there to weed out the muppets with no clue what they are really doing. Answer as much as you can and don't stress about it too much you'll be fine!
    Certifications: A+, Network+, MCDST, ACA – Mac Integration 10.10
  4. spy22

    spy22 Byte Poster

    Ok cool,

    Thanks for your responses!

    So you mean they will just be basic questions like info about office suite etc...and really basic stuff anyone trying to get into IT should know!?

    Certifications: Its who you know not what you know!!!
    WIP: CCNA?
  5. Bluerinse
    Honorary Member

    Bluerinse Exabyte Poster

    Not necessarily, they will most likely cover a broad band from basic stuff to complex.. as i said so they can gauge where you are now.
    Certifications: C&G Electronics - MCSA (W2K) MCSE (W2K)
  6. spy22

    spy22 Byte Poster


    Thankyou Bluerinse

    That has made me relax abit more than I initially felt! :)

    With regards to the interview itself what kinds of questions could I expect!? ( I appreciate you are not psychic, I just imagine you will have a better idea through experience what to expect as I havent been to an IT based interview before.)

    Would you expect a lot of practical based questions or with it being such a basic job will they be more interested in my potential and customer focus?

    Sorry if I am asking daft questions here but any info may help with my preparation for the interview and is greatly appreciated.

    Kind Regards
    Certifications: Its who you know not what you know!!!
    WIP: CCNA?
  7. Josiahb

    Josiahb Gigabyte Poster

    I'd expect (and this is just my impression rather than hard fact) that you won't get many technical questions in the interview, the exam will be testing your technical knowledge. The interview is more likely to be focused on you as a person, your soft skills, career ambitions etc.

    Brace yourself for those really awkward questions, 'whats are your weaknesses?', 'describe when you've been in a position of conflict and explain how you overcame it', that sort of stuff.

    They may throw in a couple of technical questions just to make sure you haven't fudged your way through the exam, but otherwise prepare to have your personality probed!
    Certifications: A+, Network+, MCDST, ACA – Mac Integration 10.10
  8. Obinna Osobalu

    Obinna Osobalu Banned

    The 5 job interview questions you will always need to answer:
    1. Why are you here?
    2. What can you do for us?
    3. Will you fit in? i.e., will you get along with our values and culture here?
    4. What makes you different from everyone else that we may have talked with, i.e., will you go that extra mile?
    5. How much will you cost us?

    When you go into an interview, you need to leave your nerves at the door. The best way to prepare is to be yourself. The best way to be yourself is to tell your own story (or stories). So have your stories rehearsed and ready to go.
    This is especially great for the competency-based interview that's being used more today. In a traditional interview, the interviewer will ask you questions focused on whether you have the skills and knowledge needed to do the job. A competency-based interview goes further by asking you additional questions about your character and personal attributes that can better determine whether you fit their corporate culture. These are called "behavioral competencies".
    Half of a competency-based interview will focus on your job skills. The other half on your behavioral competencies. The interviewer will be looking for evidence of how you have acted in real situations in the past. So having your stories ready to go plays very well for this type of interview.
    Here is What a Company Wants to Find Out About You:
    1. Are you an asset or liability, in other words, will you either make money or save money for the company.
    2. Are you a team player? (will you fit into the corporate hierarchy or be like sand in the gears?) Can you take and give (if appropriate) orders?
    3. Will you fit into the company culture? (they don't want loners or prima donnas)
    The best way to do that is to take the initiative and have several personal stories that you can tell. Spend maybe a half minute to 90 seconds on each.
    You may want to start by developing your stories around these areas:
    Several times where you either made money or saved money for your current or previous company.
    Focus on a crisis or two in your life or job and how you responded or recovered from it.
    A time where you functioned as a part of a team and what that contribution was.
    A time in your career or job where you had to deal with stress.
    A time in your job where you provided successful leadership or a sense of direction.
    The failures you faced in your job and how you overcame them.
    The seminal events that happened during your career that caused you to change direction and how that worked out for you.
    I want to emphasize that an interview should not be an interrogation. It should be a conversation between two equals. When you accomplish this, you come away a step closer to your goal of landing the job you really want.

    You know enough to bring a list of questions to a job interview. When the interviewer asks you, "So, do you have any questions for me?" the last thing? You want to say is "No." But that could be the best option if you're at a loss for words, because some interview questions are better left unasked

    Here are 10 highly unsuitable interview questions that should never make an appearance, unless you don't want the job:

    1. "What does your company do?"
    This was a reasonable interview question in 1950 or in 1980, before the Internet existed. Today, it's your job to research any company you're interviewing with before setting foot in the door. We need to show up for a job interview knowing what the employer does, who its competitors are, and which of its accomplishments (or challenges) have made the news lately.

    2. "Are you going to do a background check?"
    It is amazing how many job candidates ask this question, which provokes alarm on the part of the interviewer, instead of the more general, "Can you please tell me a little about your selection process, from this point on?" Lots of people have credit issues that cause them worry during a job search, or aren't sure how solid their references from a previous job might be. If you're invited for a second interview, you can broach any sensitive topics from your past then. Asking "Will you do a background check?" makes you look like a person with something to hide.

    3. "When will I be eligible for a raise?"
    Companies fear underpaying people almost as much as they fear overpaying them, because a person who's underpaid vis-a-vis his counterparts in the job market is a person with one eye on the career sites. Instead of asking about your first raise before you've got the job, you can ask (at a second interview) "Does your organization do a conventional one-year performance and salary review?"

    4. "Do you have any other jobs available?"
    A job search requires quick thinking about straight talk, and if a job is far below your abilities, you're better off saying so than beating around the bush with this question. You don't have to take yourself out of the running; you can say, "The job sounds interesting, but frankly I was earning 30% more and supervising people in my last job. Could you help me understand the career path for this role?" That's the cue for the interviewer, if he or she is on the ball, to highlight another job opening that might exist.

    5. "How soon can I transfer to another position?"
    You're broadcasting "I'm outta here at the first chance" when you ask this question. If you like the job, take the job. If it's not for you, wait for the right opportunity. Almost every employer will keep you in your seat for at least one year before approving an internal transfer, so a job-search bait-and-switch probably won't work out the way you'd hoped.

    6. "Can you tell me about bus lines to your facility?"
    Get online and research this yourself. It's not your employer's problem to figure out how you get to work.

    7. "Do you have smoking breaks?"
    If you're working in retail or in a call center, you could ask about breaks. Everyone else, keep mum; if your need to smoke intrudes so much on your work life that you feel the need to ask about it, ask your best friend or significant other for smoking-cessation help as a new-job present. Lots of companies don't permit smoking anywhere on the premises, and some don't like to hire smokers at all. Why give an employer a reason to turn you down?

    8. "Is [my medical condition] covered under your insurance?"
    This is a bad question on two counts. You don't want to tell a perfect stranger about your medical issues, especially one who's deciding whether or not to hire you. Ask to see a copy of the company's benefits booklet when an offer has been extended. This is also a bad question from a judgment standpoint; no department managers and only a tiny percentage of HR people could be expected to know on a condition-by-condition basis what's covered under the health plan. Anyway, your pre-existing condition won't be covered under most corporate plans for at least a year.

    9. "Do you do a drug test?"
    If you have a philosophical objection to drug tests, wait until they ask you to take a drug test and tell them about your objection. Otherwise, your question sounds like, "I'd fail a drug test," so don't ask.

    10. "If you hire me, can I wait until [more than three weeks from now] to start the job?"
    Employers expect you to give two weeks' notice. If you're not working, they'd love to see you more quickly. If you ask for tons of time off before you start working -- unless you have a very good reason -- the employer may think, "How serious is this candidate about working?" In any case, a start-date extension is something to request after you've got the offer in hand, not before

    Hope this helps. Sorry I have got no link for this because a friend once mailed it to me as an attachment (M$ word document) Cheers!:D
    Certifications: MCITP:SA,MCTS(x5),MCSE2K3;MCSA2K3:M;MCP
    WIP: EDA7,70-652,Project+,MSP(70-632)
  9. Nelix
    Honorary Member

    Nelix Gigabyte Poster

    Hi there

    I've been away from these forums for way too long, just noticed that the last time I loggin in was Oct last year but it feels good to be back.

    All excellent advise from teh above. Here are a couple of questions that I do tend to ask at an interview:

    1. Is this a new position or would I (if successfull) be replacing someone. (you could continue if they say you are replacing someone and enquire if they left the company or were they promoted, I tend to play this bit by ear and dont always continue down this road).

    2. What kind of hardware is used on the network, both client and server, networ
    k topology. (only ask this is they have not covered it during the interview).

    3. If the company have been awarded the "investors in people" award I ask what additional training/help they make available to help further my knowledge base.

    4. How many people would I be working with.

    5. I occasionally ask about the dress code in the working environment.

    6. I occasionally ask about promotion prospects within the company.

    7. How many other people are you considering for the post.

    I tend to end on something along the lines of " is there any additional information I can provide you with that will help you whilst making your descision" or " from what i've said today and from what you've read about me, do you have any concerns about my ability to do this job".

    Thats just a few, Hope this helps.
    Certifications: A+, 70-210, 70-290, 70-291, 74-409, 70-410, 70-411, 70-337, 70-347
    WIP: 70-346
  10. BosonMichael
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    BosonMichael Yottabyte Poster

    Though, all you have to do is copy and paste a small section of this article into the Googletron and see that you have indeed copied this from somewhere else instead of taking the time to properly attribute the work to the appropriate source. :rolleyes:
    Certifications: CISSP, MCSE+I, MCSE: Security, MCSE: Messaging, MCDST, MCDBA, MCTS, OCP, CCNP, CCDP, CCNA Security, CCNA Voice, CNE, SCSA, Security+, Linux+, Server+, Network+, A+
    WIP: Just about everything!
  11. spy22

    spy22 Byte Poster


    Thanks for responses guys!! Will be taking all advice into account and will let you know the outcome either way once I have attended the interview.

    Greatly appreciated

    Certifications: Its who you know not what you know!!!
    WIP: CCNA?
  12. soundian

    soundian Gigabyte Poster


    I found these 50 common interview questions and answers very helpful. It took me a little while to think of good examples for some of them. I would've been stumped in an interview, either embarrassing silence or, even worse, embarrassing gibbering, would've ensued.
    Certifications: A+, N+,MCDST,MCTS(680), MCP(270, 271, 272), ITILv3F, CCENT
    WIP: Knuckling down at my new job

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