6 Common Network Engineer Interview Questions & Answers
In the computer technology industry, there are usually more applicants for jobs than there are available positions. For this tough field, it’s even more imperative that you do whatever you can to put your name at the top of the hiring manager’s list for consideration. After putting together a top resume and writing a great cover letter, you then have to impress the company at the interview. You can make the best impression if you understand what kinds of network engineer interview questions may be asked, and if you know how to answer.
After getting through the typical interview questions and formalities about what kind of person you are, what your career goals may be and why you want to work there, you then need to demonstrate a solid record of success and understanding of the industry. Here are a few sample questions that may come up in your network engineer interview.
6 Network Engineer Interview Questions & Answers
Why have you decided to go into this field and work as a network engineer?
I’ve always been a good problem solver, and that is a major aspect of this job. I enjoy the difficult challenges you find in this work and the creative solutions that sometimes need to be developed. I’ve always been fascinated with technology as well, so this gives me constant access to the tools that I feel comfortable with and enjoy.
What are some of your troubleshooting methods for a difficult problem within the network?
I usually start with the basics in a top-down approach when there are network issues. First, I use the ping utility, and if that doesn’t solve the issue, the next process is traceroute. I typically investigate the IP configuration as well. In some cases, there is a DNS problem, so I also use the nslookup tool when all else fails. Sometimes the netstat utility can determine more information about a problem host. If I still am having issues determining the problem, I continue to check and double check various utilities, such as route, pathping, speedtest, the IP network calculator and the Tera Term program.
Part of this type of work means you must deal with employees who don't have understanding of computer technology. How do you explain network issues to those without tech skills?
Whenever there is an issue, I do my best to explain the problem and my possible solutions in layman’s terms. I find that drawing diagrams is extremely helpful in this process. I also tend to use metaphors and analogies when describing the different tasks that the network must undertake and the utility programs that help in these processes. Those who I have helped often have remarked how they finally understand everything after talking with me.
Working in network administration sometimes means you're working alone on a project. How do you deal with working in a team environment and different lines of advice being thrown at you?
I have experience working in a team setting as a network engineer, and I don’t have a problem working collaboratively. My experience has been positive with different ideas and different ways to approach problems. If someone in the team wants to try a solution that I may not have thought of, I think that is great. Bringing together different perspectives can be helpful in streamlining our process.
What have you done when everything you've tried doesn't work and the network is still not operational?
There are a few times when I’ve been stumped troubleshooting some unique network problems. Luckily, I know there are plenty of different resources available that can help give me ideas about what to investigate next. The easiest thing to do first is to Google the problem and see if there is anything online that may prove effective. Next, I go to various product manuals to review. If that doesn’t work, I go back to the basic command sequences and try a different approach. Once I’ve tried everything, then I need to go to my supervisor and explain that I’m at an impasse. I detail every possible solution I’ve worked with to help the team figure out the right answer.
What are the biggest challenges in this type of work?
I think the biggest challenge of today that network engineers face is the increasing importance of network security. Designing a system that is secure but also up to the performance standards is the greatest task of today’s system administrators.