The field of network administration is associated with enormous responsibility. A network administrator’s core responsibility is to maintain computer networks. This includes installation and configuration of networks and systems including troubleshooting all network issues.
Thus, the role of a network administrator requires an individual with significant know-how and experience on how network systems work. Without relevant experience and knowledge, it is difficult to succeed in network administration. Companies always look for the best and most qualified person for this role.
To find the best person, it is imperative to know the right questions to ask interviewees. Similarly, you should look out for specific answers to identify the right person. This article discusses the questions to ask during an interview and the answers to expect from the right person.
1. What is the Basic Role of a Network Administrator?
This is a common question and the interviewer wants to assess whether you are well-aware about the role performed by a network administrator.
Tip #1: Revise the main roles in your mind promptly so that you will not have to think deeply about them.
Tip #2: Be clear and precise so that the interviewer can be convinced that you know your roles.
First, a network administrator performs a management role that includes user training, updating networks, maintaining access privileges and user accounts, and maintaining network logs.
Secondly, the administrator undertakes an implementation role that consists of installation and configuration of networking software, establishing user accounts, and installing storage are networks.
Thirdly, the network administrator troubleshoots network issues and responds to service interruptions.
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2. What Qualities Should a Good Network Administrator Possess?
Network administration requires more than just technical competence. Certain qualities make a network administrator very effective. The interviewer wants to know whether you are aware of these qualities.
Tip #1: Briefly describe the key nontechnical qualities
Tip #2: Make sure to relate your answer with the role of a network administrator
Critical thinking and analytical skills are vital for network admins in facilitating logical and consistent problem-solving. Good time management is another great quality that enables a network admin to juggle several people, projects, and problems simultaneously. Interpersonal skills are essential because a network administrator works with different individuals, from end users to network engineers.
3. Describe Your Daily Routine as a Network Administrator?
On a daily basis, a network admin ensures that the network is safe, optimized, and well-protected. The duties involved in accomplishing this objective are what the interviewer wants to hear.
Tip #1: State several duties performed by a network admin daily
Tip #2: Be precise and direct with your answer
A network admin configures network hardware such as switches, routers, and servers. He or she repairs and upgrades computer networks, troubleshoots network issues, updates and deploys software, and implements basic network testing and security measures. Moreover, network admins monitor networks to determine ways to improve their performance and plans for network infrastructure resources.
4. How is Your Decision for Setting up a Network Affected by a Network Topology?
The interviewer wants to assess whether you know why considering a network topology is important when you want to set a network.
Tip #1: Be precise and demonstrate that you are knowledgeable about network topologies.
Tip #2: Provide the answer in a manner that reflects your ability to set a network
A network topology directs the media that should be used to interconnect devices. The topology of a network also acts as a basis for determining the terminations, connectors, and materials that are applicable for setting a network.
5. Describe Ways you can Secure a Computer Network
The interviewer wants to determine whether you can implement measures to protect a network.
Tip #1: Promptly revise the main points in your head
Tip #2: Be direct with your answer and don’t mull over it
Firstly, a computer network can be protected by setting up firewalls and ensuring they are configured correctly. Secondly, installing an updated and reliable anti-virus program is another sure way to secure a network.
Thirdly, user authentication helps to prevent unauthorised access to a network. A combination of these methods can make a computer network highly secure.
6. What is the Largest Network Size that you have Ever Setup?
The interviewer wants to determine whether you have hands-on experience on a network sized to that of the hiring organization.
Tip #1: Describe the biggest size of network you have setup
Tip #2: Be brief and to the point.
In the past, I have been tasked with creating and implementing a network for a business with 200 employees. The network supported a simple physical location where the business offices were housed.
7. What Troubleshooting Process do You Use after Your Network Configuration Fails to Yield Expected Performance
The interviewer is interested in knowing how you approach complex problems relating to network performance.
Tip #1: Describe the approach you take when troubleshooting network performance issues
Tip #2: Ensure to be brief and precise with your answer
I begin by checking hardware failures, network outages, high network activity, or other poor performance triggers. After ruling out these, I use analytics and monitoring tools to find more information concerning the problem. I also reach out to other technicians and IT staff to expedite the process.
8. What Major Challenge did You Face during Your Last Role? How did You Handle It?
Network admins encounter various challenges and the interviewer wants to assess your ability to handle challenging situations and offer appropriate solutions.
Tip #1: Briefly describe a major challenge that you have faced previously
Tip #2: Explain how you solved the issue
Sometime during my last role, employees started losing data from their computers. This used to happen even with software and hardware firewalls in place and the pressure was on me to ensure employee data is secure. While troubleshooting the issue, I discovered the problem was caused by malicious applications sent via email. Thus, I educated the staff on how to deal with suspicious emails to avoid data loss. Besides, I developed an email policy that provided guidelines on appropriate use of emails.
9. What Authentication Method do You Apply for Network Access?
Security is very critical when it comes to networks. The interviewer wants to assess your knowledge about security protocols and whether you can apply the latest and most effective security protocols.
Tip #1: Demonstrate your familiarity about the latest authentication method applied for network access
Tip #2: Briefly explain situations under which these methods would be most effective.
I use the two-factor authentication method is because it is highly secure compared to single-factor authentication. To secure sensitive information, I would recommend that you upgrade if you are not using the two-factor method. The use of biometrics is another effective method and is particularly the easiest for users, provided appropriate hardware is in place. If you don’t plan to spend much on hardware, using a token is an effective method for adding security.
10. Differentiate Workgroups from Domains
The role of a network administrator involves setting up and maintaining servers. The interview wants to know whether you are well-aware of domains and workgroups.
Tip #1: Provide a clear difference between domains and workgroups
Tip #2: Briefly demonstrate how they are applied in networking
Domains have a server-to-client set up with a central authentication server where rules for communication are set. Centralized security and access control minimize the risk of attacks. On the other hand, workgroups are managed at an individual system level. With a workgroup, each system controls itself and decides about what to exchange with users in the same workgroup.
11. Briefly Describe a Firewall and how it is applied in Networks
Firewalls are among the essential tools for network security. The interview wants to assess whether you understand firewalls and how they are applied in networks.
Tip #1: Define a firewall in a direct and precise manner.
Tip #2: Demonstrate your understanding by explaining how a firewall is used to secure a network.
A firewall is a device that monitors incoming and outgoing traffic to block specific traffic based on the set security criteria. The device filters traffic and prevents unauthorized access to a network. A firewall achieves this by scanning all messages entering or leaving a network and blocking those that violate the set rules.
12. Based on your Previous Experience, what Monitoring Tools Would You Recommend?
A competent network administrator should be knowledgeable about different monitoring tools. The interviewer wants to examine your skillset and determine whether you are a good fit.
Tip #1: State the monitoring tools that you would recommend.
Tip #1: Support your answer by pointing out the main features of each of those tools.
I would recommend Idera, Lab Tech, and Logic Monitor. Lab Tech not only provides network monitoring but also infrastructure management. Logic Monitor provides both network monitoring and application performance monitoring. Idera offers all these capabilities but doesn’t allow customization of the dashboard for quicker access to commonly used features.
13. What is the Difference in the Application of a LAN and VPN?
Expertise in working with different types of networks is critical for a network administrator. The interviewer wants to understand your knowledge about different networks.
Tip #1: Demonstrate your understanding of these types of networks by stating the kind of setting each is applied.
Tip #1: Make sure not to mull as this may suggest that you are struggling to answer the question or you are not sure.
A virtual private network (VPN) is the best solution for businesses or organizations with multiple locations or a large physical footprint both locally and overseas. On the contrary, a local area network (LAN) perfectly suits businesses that operate from a single physical location.
14. How do You Make People without Tech Skills Understand Network Issues?
The interviewer wants to assess how you work with individuals who don’t understand computer technology.
Tip #1: Demonstrate your ability to explain tech issues to a layman
Tip #2: Be clear and precise with your answer
Whenever a network issue arises, I always ensure to explain it in layman’s terms to people with no tech skills. I draw diagrams, use analogies and metaphors to describe different networking processes and the applications that support those processes. By using these techniques, people always remark that they have finally understood the matter at hand and hence work accordingly.
15. As a Network Administrator, Which Resource do you utilize to Stay Informed about the Innovations in your Industry?
New network solutions can enhance network infrastructures and performance. The interviewer wants to assess whether you keep up to date with the developments in the industry.
Tip #1: Make the interviewer understand that you stay informed about new developments in networking
Tip #1: Avoid mulling as that may make your answer questionable
I read Network World about innovations, developments, and trends in the industry. Besides, I have an RSS reader that I use to consolidate various news sources covering network innovations.
16. What Safeguards can be put in Network Designs to Minimize Data Loss
Data loss can halt processes, systems, and significantly reduce productivity. Here the interviewer seeks to know how you can safeguard a network.
Tip #1: Demonstrate that you are knowledgeable about different kinds of safeguards
Tip #2: Answer the question promptly to show that you have experience with such situations
Building disaster recovery resources into network plans is a great way to protect against data loss. This includes making regular backups and having distributed storage locations to reduce the chances of losing data.
17. How do Proxy Servers Protect Computer Networks?
Proxy servers are commonly used to offer varying levels of privacy, security, and functionality and the interviewer wants to assess whether you can deploy them effectively.
Tip #1: Describe the way a proxy server can offer protection to a network
Tip #2: Give the impression that you have worked with proxy servers
A proxy server mainly hides the IP address of an internal network from external users. Proxy servers make it impossible to determine the physical location of a network. In doing so, they make it virtually invisible to all external users.
18. What Role does the OSI Session Layer Play in a Network?
The interviewer would want to know whether you understand this network layer.
Tip #1: Describe the role played by the OSI Session layer
Tip #2: Demonstrate that you are knowledgeable about the OSI model
This is the fifth layer of the OSI model and it primarily manages connections between networked computers. In particular, it establishes connections between local and remote applications. Besides, it manages and terminates those connections. This involves establishing procedures for restating, suspending, and ending connection sessions.
These questions and answers will help you hire the most qualified individual for the network administrator position for your organization. As an interviewer, ensure to ask the right questions. Also, allow the interviewee to take his or her time to provide the correct answer. With these questions, you are set to interview and select the best network admin.