Monday, May 21, 2007

The Interview Process - What type of screening questions to ask

Picking up where we left off, you should be at the point where you've gotten some resumes in, reviewed them, and have engaged a (hopefully) non-technical person to screen the candidates with a short phone call. My recommendation is to keep the list of questions short, make sure the screener has the answers and that you've sat down with him/her and explained the criteria and a process for collecting and recording information.

For example…

1) Name as many FSMO roles as you can.
2) How many layers are in the OSI model, name as many as you can.
3) What is the difference between RAID1 and RAID5?
4) What ports do the following services run on? SMTP, HTTP, HTTPS, Remote Desktop…
5) How do you determine the IP configuration on a server or workstation?
6) In what order are group policies applied in?
7) Name some patch-management solutions you've worked with.

Alright, I can already hear it… FSMO roles aren’t changed that often in the SMB-space. Or, the OSI model is [insert one of a dozen different complaints] , or… whatever. You see, with these questions I’m just trying to get the screener to gauge the background of the candidates. If someone can’t remember 1 of the FSMO roles on the spot, well maybe that’s one thing. But if they completely miss questions 1, 2, and 6, and can't name any of 7... well, you get the idea.

Remember what you’re looking for – reasonable answers to as many questions as you can get, without overwhelming your candidate or the screener. Keep in mind that these questions should screen out, as well as screen in the type of candidates that you're looking for.

Finally, having a screener should make your life easier - if it doesn't, then don't do it.