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hellohello

join:2013-06-28
Detroit, MI

Real CCNA Interview Questions

These are real interview questions I was asked:

Do you have a degree? If yes, what is your concentration?
What certifications do you hold?

Do you have experience working within the automotive industry?
Do you have experience working in a global organization?
On a scale of 1-5 were 5 is the best and 1 is the worst, how would you rate your skills in the following areas:
Verbal Communication?
Written Communication?

How would your previous employers describe your ability to work in a team environment?
Have you worked in collaboration with other professionals on projects and to develop solutions?
If yes what was the project? And what was your role?
Have you ever led a project team? If yes, what was the project?
Are you someone who is motivated enough to be self-directed?

Do you have experience working with Cisco Routers and Switches?
Do you have experience working with Checkpoint Firewall?
Have you ever worked with Riverbed Steelhead equipment?

Why are you looking for a new opportunity?
If you are currently unemployed, why, what happened?
What is your current (or last) compensation package?

I am wondering how you would answer the question, "Do you have experience working with Cisco Routers and Switches?"

I do - in my home lab. Not on the job. How would you answer if you only have experience with your home lab?


HELLFIRE
Premium
join:2009-11-25
kudos:17

I haven't ever had the pleasure of sitting on the other side of the table myself before.

If it were me, I'd stick to the truth as you said : you're working in your home lab, you don't
have experience working on live, production equipment. If its the HR monkey asking, leave it
at that. If it's the 2nd / 3rd / technical interview, maybe take the opportunity to tell what
specific things you're learning in your lab. See if they pick that up to dig alittle further.
I personally can't see a willingness / desire to learn as a bad trait in an interviewee.

My 00000010bits.

Any (former) interviewers want to comment?

Regards



hellohello

join:2013-06-28
Detroit, MI

Yes, these were the questions asked by the HR Specialist..


markysharkey
Premium
join:2012-12-20
united kingd
reply to hellohello

Depemds...
You can legitimately say you have experience with Cisco routers and switches. They aren't asking you what that experience may be.
If this is for a technical role, I would expect at least one interview to include a technical questionnaire or some hands on labbing to show the technical interview panel member. Or both...
--
Binary is as easy as 01 10 11


Network Guy
Premium
join:2000-08-25
New York
kudos:2
Reviews:
·Future Nine Corp..
·T-Mobile US
·Optimum Online
reply to hellohello

When it comes to interview questions for a network engineer job, I prefer not to look like a fool and say exactly what it is I've done for current employer with respect to Cisco, but if asked Cisco-centric questions then come up with the best possible answer based on what I've studied and what I've done with my lab.

I realize this may disqualify you for something you can potentially do in practice for them, but I find it best not wasting your time or theirs. The hiring manager may not completely let you in on what you're walking into leaving much of it up for assumption and interpretation, and that's the worst kind of surprise to deal with.

Just my two cents



tubbynet
reminds me of the danse russe
Premium,MVM
join:2008-01-16
Chandler, AZ
kudos:1
reply to hellohello

i am usually the first line "tech screen" for most people hired in the southwest with $employer. i handle everything from ccna-level people all the way up to "ccie-level architect".

i expect people to be up front and honest with me. i get their resume. i look at their linkedin. i put on my bullshit filter and see what sticks.

then -- i give them an opportunity to be open and honest about what their experience has been about the past 6-12 months. have you been 'architectural'? have you been in 'operations'? project work? task-list stuff?

if you say that you have architected a nexus-centric datacenter -- but can't answer design, configuration, or troubleshooting questions -- you'll piss me off and i'll make you cry.
if you say "hey -- i was handed configs, we had to make them work". we configured, but it wasn't heavy, i'll be a little more forgiving.

just be honest. say you've got experience. you've got your lab. when it comes time for a tech screen, be honest. don't exaggerate. give the answers the best you can. go from there.

q.
--
"...if I in my north room dance naked, grotesquely before my mirror waving my shirt round my head and singing softly to myself..."


aryoba
Premium,MVM
join:2002-08-22
kudos:4

1 edit
reply to hellohello

Those HR people were pretty much have their own script handed down from the IT department. The script was list of questions that "ought to" cover a starting point. HR people role was simple; ask questions came from the list and gather the answers and responses. HR people did not modify, add, or subtract the question until IT department said otherwise.

I put a double quote there on the "ought to" because there are a lot of time the HR people or the script is not clear enough to cover the right starting point. In some cases, the script or the HR people interpretation is pushing out the right people and is pulling in the wrong one.

Do you work with some job agency to get the interview? If yes, then perhaps it is the agency's responsibility to work the hiring company in order to avoid wrong interpretation or confusion.

When there is no agency you work with, then keep your answers honest, short, concise, and simple. Make sure you think deep before you answer since you cannot take back whatever you already said. If it is yes or no question, then keep your answer as either "yes" or "no" without further description until you are asked to do so.

There are times that you were involved into something highly technical such as architecture, design, or engineer; that gave the prospective employer an inaccurate perception. The rule of honest, short, concise, and simple answer still applies. You do not elaborate anything until you are asked or until you sensed something goes against you.

Keep in mind that whatever answers you provided, you must be able to stand behind them specially when you are asked to prove them or at least to elaborate further.

Further, don't worry if you fail the interview or did not get the job. Just see those interviews as your training process. Keep notes of every question that you could not answer or answer incorrectly and find out why in order to prepare you of the next interview chance. Good luck finding your dream job


aryoba
Premium,MVM
join:2002-08-22
kudos:4
reply to tubbynet

said by tubbynet:

if you say that you have architected a nexus-centric datacenter -- but can't answer design, configuration, or troubleshooting questions -- you'll piss me off and i'll make you cry.
if you say "hey -- i was handed configs, we had to make them work". we configured, but it wasn't heavy, i'll be a little more forgiving.

Just like any work, "architect" word could mean anything. In one place, the word could mean design with deep understanding of hardware specification and limitation. In other place, the word could mean high-level design with flowchart without understanding of any hardware specification and limitation.

So tubbynet See Profile, don't jump the gun too soon. Those people might not lie to you, it could be a simple issue of misunderstanding

aryoba
Premium,MVM
join:2002-08-22
kudos:4
reply to HELLFIRE

said by HELLFIRE:

I haven't ever had the pleasure of sitting on the other side of the table myself before.

I'm sure you have anxiously been waiting for the moment to be on the other side of the table


TomS_
Git-r-done
Premium,MVM
join:2002-07-19
London, UK
kudos:5
reply to tubbynet

I want to interview with you, tubby.

But I agree. Tell it up plain and straight: you have a lab that you are practicing in at home.

But delve in to the specifics about what you have been doing in your lab. What kind of protocols are you playing with? What kind of topologies, and other technologies are you testing?

You might not have much real world experience, but you do have some, so make it known to what extent.



battleop

join:2005-09-28
00000
reply to hellohello

"Do you have experience working with Cisco Routers and Switches?"

If you have experience in a home lab the correct answer to this question is "Yes, I have experience with Cisco Routers and Switches." Don't volunteer anything that might hurt your chances but still answer the question truthfully.

Now if I was asking the question it would have been "Do you have experience working with Cisco Routers and Switches in a Service Provider's production environment?"

Another thing I want to know.. "How would you go about finding the solution to a problem you don't know how to solve?"
--
I do not, have not, and will not work for AT&T/Comcast/Verizon/Charter or similar sized company.



battleop

join:2005-09-28
00000
reply to TomS_

I would do the same. I can already do "everything" we need so I'm looking for people with some experience so they can at least understand my language. Someone with a home lab is a plus in my book because that tells me the candidate is willing to learn. Plus that means your are probably willing to learn to do things my way.
--
I do not, have not, and will not work for AT&T/Comcast/Verizon/Charter or similar sized company.



tubbynet
reminds me of the danse russe
Premium,MVM
join:2008-01-16
Chandler, AZ
kudos:1
reply to aryoba

said by aryoba:

So tubbynet See Profile, don't jump the gun too soon. Those people might not lie to you, it could be a simple issue of misunderstanding

don't be naive, aryoba See Profile ;-P. i may be young, full of piss and vinegar, and a prick -- but i have been around the block to know that much.
this is why i give them a chance to explain.
architect has many definitions. however -- if i see a resume that says "architected, designed, and implemented a full nexus-centric datacenter comprised of nexus 7000, 5000, and 2000-series devices" -- i expect you to be able to do one of the above. don't lie to me -- and i'll be forgiving.

q.
--
"...if I in my north room dance naked, grotesquely before my mirror waving my shirt round my head and singing softly to myself..."


tubbynet
reminds me of the danse russe
Premium,MVM
join:2008-01-16
Chandler, AZ
kudos:1
reply to TomS_

said by TomS_:

I want to interview with you, tubby.

TomS_ See Profile, you could school me. i've read a few of your posts (mostly on [j-nsp]) and while i've dealt with mpls/l3vpn/l2vpn/vpls in the datacenter or "enterprise as sp" environments -- i haven't had to design/architect a full sp-level iptv or multi-access network.
most of my experience is in the enterprise and datacenter space.

who knows. maybe if you can cross the ocean and head to the beautiful southwest -- we can share war stories over drinks.

q.
--
"...if I in my north room dance naked, grotesquely before my mirror waving my shirt round my head and singing softly to myself..."

aryoba
Premium,MVM
join:2002-08-22
kudos:4
reply to battleop

said by battleop:

Now if I was asking the question it would have been "Do you have experience working with Cisco Routers and Switches in a Service Provider's production environment?"

Companies that have HR robots ask questions off scripts don't shoot those specific questions, mainly because the company's network design need is too simple that they don't know what Service Provider's production environments are

said by battleop:

Another thing I want to know.. "How would you go about finding the solution to a problem you don't know how to solve?"

Now this question reminds me of one of the notorious company in my area; though their question is more like following "if you are asked to build an amusement park, how would you do it?"

aryoba
Premium,MVM
join:2002-08-22
kudos:4
reply to tubbynet

said by tubbynet:

said by aryoba:

So tubbynet See Profile, don't jump the gun too soon. Those people might not lie to you, it could be a simple issue of misunderstanding

don't be naive, aryoba See Profile ;-P. i may be young, full of piss and vinegar, and a prick -- but i have been around the block to know that much.
this is why i give them a chance to explain.
architect has many definitions. however -- if i see a resume that says "architected, designed, and implemented a full nexus-centric datacenter comprised of nexus 7000, 5000, and 2000-series devices" -- i expect you to be able to do one of the above. don't lie to me -- and i'll be forgiving.

q.

I used to work with people that "architected, designed, and implemented a full nexus-centric datacenter comprised of nexus 7000, 5000, and 2000-series devices", yet they did not know much of the hardware specs, features, and limitation. The reason was that the projects they did were never big or deep enough to involve such hardware specs, features, and limitation intimately. So like I said, it could a simple misunderstanding

aryoba
Premium,MVM
join:2002-08-22
kudos:4
reply to tubbynet

said by tubbynet:

said by TomS_:

I want to interview with you, tubby.

TomS_ See Profile, you could school me. i've read a few of your posts (mostly on [j-nsp]) and while i've dealt with mpls/l3vpn/l2vpn/vpls in the datacenter or "enterprise as sp" environments -- i haven't had to design/architect a full sp-level iptv or multi-access network.
most of my experience is in the enterprise and datacenter space.

Most of SP networks I've seen in large/global network scale do not involve Nexus platforms. They still rely on CRS model (Cisco) and T series (Juniper) that were built to last, or at least long enough not involve Nexus

aryoba
Premium,MVM
join:2002-08-22
kudos:4
reply to battleop

said by battleop:

I would do the same. I can already do "everything" we need so I'm looking for people with some experience so they can at least understand my language. Someone with a home lab is a plus in my book because that tells me the candidate is willing to learn. Plus that means your are probably willing to learn to do things my way.

There are actually interviewers who prefer candidates that have their own home lab, even though they did not pursue any certification, due to the same consideration. So showing off your home lab setup on resume can be a good thing


battleop

join:2005-09-28
00000
reply to aryoba

All I really want to know is that the candidate will make an attempt to seek out the solution before coming to me. It's not really any different than when someone comes here to find out how to do something without putting any effort into finding the solution on their own.
--
I do not, have not, and will not work for AT&T/Comcast/Verizon/Charter or similar sized company.


HELLFIRE
Premium
join:2009-11-25
kudos:17
reply to hellohello

@aryoba
Good man knows his limitation... and I'm not s**thot to sit on the other side of the table (yet)

Tho I can't help being fascinated about the kind of environment you're describing that's (as you say)
"rely on CRS model (Cisco) and T series (Juniper) that were built to last." I sometimes wonder what it's
like to be in that kind of environment.

said by battleop:

"How would you go about finding the solution to a problem you don't know how to solve?"

Isn't the abbreviated version "If I don't know, I'll ask?"

Regards


tubbynet
reminds me of the danse russe
Premium,MVM
join:2008-01-16
Chandler, AZ
kudos:1
reply to aryoba

said by aryoba:

Most of SP networks I've seen in large/global network scale do not involve Nexus platforms. They still rely on CRS model (Cisco) and T series (Juniper) that were built to last, or at least long enough not involve Nexus

at the access-level -- yes. these devices provide the core routing infrastructure for the customers. combined with the mx-series or asr1k/asr9k at the edge -- this would comprise the majority of new sp-level networks today.
however -- many providers are offering infrastructure or platform as a service. in this instance -- things like outsourced firewalls, loadbalancing, etc -- is being moved into the provider cloud. these "clouds" are made up of cisco ucs (or hp blade chassis) usually, running some sort of virtualised layer4-7 services in a datacenter. these "clouds" are then connected via nexus infrastructure.

this isn't the "core competency" of the sp -- but its a trend to bring value-add to the market.

q.
--
"...if I in my north room dance naked, grotesquely before my mirror waving my shirt round my head and singing softly to myself..."


tubbynet
reminds me of the danse russe
Premium,MVM
join:2008-01-16
Chandler, AZ
kudos:1

1 recommendation

reply to aryoba

said by aryoba:

I used to work with people that "architected, designed, and implemented a full nexus-centric datacenter comprised of nexus 7000, 5000, and 2000-series devices", yet they did not know much of the hardware specs, features, and limitation. The reason was that the projects they did were never big or deep enough to involve such hardware specs, features, and limitation intimately. So like I said, it could a simple misunderstanding

not to pick nits (which i am keen to do) -- but here's my breakdown. again -- i ask for clarification during the interview and give them question prompts so that we're on the same page. i am *very* good about clarifying verbiage to ensure consistency of dialogue.

architect -- we need a datacenter-class switch capable of delivering a port density of 40gbe to each "row". mcec may be used and is preferred.

design -- we need a nexus 7000 pair running vpc to each nexus 5000 pair in the row. access will be delivered using fex of varying types. the spanning tree placement should reside on "a", with hsrp following suit. dual-active forwarding makes this a consistency choice.

implement -- *bang a bunch of shit into a keyboard to keep the top two levels happy*

operate -- *bang a bunch of shit into a keyboard to make sure that everyone is operating and no one is yelling at me*

;-P

if you "implement" and can't tell me how to implement what you've said you've implemented -- you're bullshitting me and i'm going to call you out.

q.
--
"...if I in my north room dance naked, grotesquely before my mirror waving my shirt round my head and singing softly to myself..."

aryoba
Premium,MVM
join:2002-08-22
kudos:4
reply to tubbynet

said by tubbynet:

said by aryoba:

Most of SP networks I've seen in large/global network scale do not involve Nexus platforms. They still rely on CRS model (Cisco) and T series (Juniper) that were built to last, or at least long enough not involve Nexus

at the access-level -- yes. these devices provide the core routing infrastructure for the customers. combined with the mx-series or asr1k/asr9k at the edge -- this would comprise the majority of new sp-level networks today.
however -- many providers are offering infrastructure or platform as a service. in this instance -- things like outsourced firewalls, loadbalancing, etc -- is being moved into the provider cloud. these "clouds" are made up of cisco ucs (or hp blade chassis) usually, running some sort of virtualised layer4-7 services in a datacenter. these "clouds" are then connected via nexus infrastructure.

this isn't the "core competency" of the sp -- but its a trend to bring value-add to the market.

q.

This reminds me of one of my previous workplace that hosted the CRS series, T model, and some customer-facing equipment like Cisco Nexus 7009, Juniper SRX5800, and F5 Big-IP 4000 series in one datacenter building

aryoba
Premium,MVM
join:2002-08-22
kudos:4
reply to HELLFIRE

said by HELLFIRE:

@aryoba
Good man knows his limitation... and I'm not s**thot to sit on the other side of the table (yet)

Tho I can't help being fascinated about the kind of environment you're describing that's (as you say) "rely on CRS model (Cisco) and T series (Juniper) that were built to last." I sometimes wonder what it's like to be in that kind of environment.

Assuming you have physical access to one of those datacenter, at first you may be amazed of those noise coming from thousands of fans; of those flickering lights from thousands of LED (not to mention physically touch at least 10 CRS boxes that each is about 7-foot tall ). After a while, you'll get used to it and see them as "just another datacenter"

When you don't have the physical access but do have logical access (i.e. ssh into them); after a while, they are just another screen showing some "show" command

In the meantime, you can always check the broadband photo forum to have at least ideas of how those gears look like
»Photos of Broadband gear

cramer
Premium
join:2007-04-10
Raleigh, NC
kudos:8

said by aryoba:

... after a while, they are just another screen showing some "show" command

Indeed. I was rather unimpressed the first time I accessed a Cisco 12k. If I didn't know I was logged into a 7ft tall router, I might've thought I was logged into a 2501.


tubbynet
reminds me of the danse russe
Premium,MVM
join:2008-01-16
Chandler, AZ
kudos:1

said by cramer:

said by aryoba:

... after a while, they are just another screen showing some "show" command

Indeed. I was rather unimpressed the first time I accessed a Cisco 12k. If I didn't know I was logged into a 7ft tall router, I might've thought I was logged into a 2501.

'monolithic' 12k.
on the newer prp's and engine 5 (i believe its only engine 5 lc's -- maybe 3's support it as well) -- you can run iox on the 12k. this makes it a completely different beast.

q.
--
"...if I in my north room dance naked, grotesquely before my mirror waving my shirt round my head and singing softly to myself..."

HELLFIRE
Premium
join:2009-11-25
kudos:17
reply to cramer

Spent some time in an IBM datacenter at the last location we were at. It was always a treat to have to do the
monthly "check your badge access" walk... I LOVED drooling over the equipment, even though I didn't support it,
didn't have remote access to it, and had no idea what half of it did. Wish I got pictures while were still at
that location...

Regards



rolande
Certifiable
Premium,Mod
join:2002-05-24
Dallas, TX
kudos:5
Reviews:
·ViaTalk
reply to tubbynet

said by tubbynet:

architect -- we need a datacenter-class switch capable of delivering a port density of 40gbe to each "row". mcec may be used and is preferred.

Define "datacenter-class switch". That is all relative to the particular experience and environments the candidate was involved in. Your evaluation of the responses should always be relative to the particular candidates experience. Again, when you've had enough opportunity to make judgements on engineers and their ability over the course of your career, your bullshit radar becomes highly tuned and sensitive.

What I've found as a key differentiator between a decent and a great engineer is their ability to translate between IT solutions/decisions and business value. Architects and design engineers who can not articulate the business impact and value of IT solutions and service offerings, usually do more to hurt IT organizations and their respective business than help them. I have the luxury of performing a fair number of interviews for engineering candidates on the west coast. I have found that the vast majority are what I call "startup jockeys". They are a jack of all trades, dabble in everything, have no real subject matter expertise, and think very tactically. Those candidates are perfect in a small startup company that doesn't have the cash flow for a large dedicated IT staff. But, when you get into the large established businesses, these types of candidates are much less effective, usually require more management oversight, and generally will not be as happy in more specifically defined roles. I actually had a candidate tell me he deployed IS-IS in a particular online service provider's data center because he was interested in it and thought it would be a cool thing to do. When I pressed him for the decision making process that led to this choice, he could not demonstrate any business value. The decision was simply for technology's sake. Huge red flag.

My suggestion for anyone in this field is to not sit in the corner and just be a Network geek. Take an interest in the actual business of the company you are working for and understand the culture of it and what makes it tick. When you start asking questions and learning these things, you will actually get engaged in being a business partner rather than just a contracted errand boy. You may discover that you have zero interest in what your company does, except to make their IT work well. My advice, in that case, is to get out and go find a company to work for that you at least have some mild interest in their industry and market. When you are interested and have an understanding of the business you are in, you begin to understand where the value is in IT decisions that you are making. This makes you a valuable business partner and contributor that people in your company want to work with and keep around.
--
Scott, CCIE #14618 Routing & Switching
»rolande.wordpress.com/


tubbynet
reminds me of the danse russe
Premium,MVM
join:2008-01-16
Chandler, AZ
kudos:1

said by rolande:

Define "datacenter-class switch". That is all relative to the particular experience and environments the candidate was involved in. Your evaluation of the responses should always be relative to the particular candidates experience. Again, when you've had enough opportunity to make judgements on engineers and their ability over the course of your career, your bullshit radar becomes highly tuned and sensitive.

absolutely.
however -- "datacenter-class" is (as you say) ambiguous and abstract. there are various reasonings behind each choice. if you're a "cisco" guy -- you might say "nexus" -- but more than giving a product line -- you should state why this switch would fit the needs (redundancy, uptime, feature-sets, operational ease-of-use, etc). my "one-line" example was used to illustrate the differences between the lines of thinking.

q.
--
"...if I in my north room dance naked, grotesquely before my mirror waving my shirt round my head and singing softly to myself..."

aryoba
Premium,MVM
join:2002-08-22
kudos:4
reply to rolande

said by rolande:

My suggestion for anyone in this field is to not sit in the corner and just be a Network geek. Take an interest in the actual business of the company you are working for and understand the culture of it and what makes it tick. When you start asking questions and learning these things, you will actually get engaged in being a business partner rather than just a contracted errand boy. You may discover that you have zero interest in what your company does, except to make their IT work well. My advice, in that case, is to get out and go find a company to work for that you at least have some mild interest in their industry and market. When you are interested and have an understanding of the business you are in, you begin to understand where the value is in IT decisions that you are making. This makes you a valuable business partner and contributor that people in your company want to work with and keep around.

I agree that when you are aiming higher position, you should see yourself as business partner to business units and at least try to come up with sound suggestions to minimize risk or increase performance. However not all business units are that open to IT people. There are some companies that the CEO, CFO (even the CIO or CTO) see IT people as their tool in their belt, that IT people will only be used or engaged when it is considered necessary. In other words, these chief executives expect IT people to only be passive and may rise their eyebrows when IT people become actively suggesting (seen as "out of place" or "meddling").

Different companies may have standard that will never entertain out-of-the-box ideas. Other companies may have some higher ups with string-pulling power, that their ideas are always welcome regardless of the business impact