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Need help with tech interview questions

by bmaciag / September 23, 2007 4:24 PM PDT

So I'm interviewing for a job that I have previously been denied for. They called me for a second interview after a number of months. I was previously denied for having a poor technical interview with them. I'm no idiot when it comes to hardware/software repair and diagnosis, but some of the questions were phrased in a way that I had not seen before. If you can, please try and help me formulate some answers for the following questions, and keep in mind that this is general phone tech support where no specific software is available to me to solve the issues:

1. List the first 5 steps you would take to diagnose a virus.
2. List the first 5 steps you would take to clear a computer of a virus.
3. If a customer claims that his Internet Explorer is crashing or freezing everytime he opens it, list the first 5 steps you would take to diagnose the problem.
4. What is the purpose of releasing and renewing an IP address? (I know what this does, but I'd like to find a stronger answer)

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by jackson dougless / September 23, 2007 7:10 PM PDT

Just like helping people with homework is a bad idea, so is helping people get jobs they may not be qualified for.

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I'd say you are looking into this far too much
by bmaciag / September 24, 2007 1:12 AM PDT
In reply to: Sorry

I don't have issues repairing PCs on the software or hardware end, but I do have issues answering questions like this without being prepared. They aren't your typical straightforward questions, and although I felt that I gave acceptable answers my last time around, they apparently didn't think so. Their interview process is a mess, and I was looking to get some answers through the eyes of other people. I've been a computer tech for many years, and I know my way around a PC. Listing the first five steps I would take to diagnose a machine would be like asking me the first five steps of my baseball swing. It will change based upon a number of things, unless the company has a process it forces you proceed with.

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Sign of a bad company.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / September 23, 2007 8:18 PM PDT

This is why we see such shoddy work at many repair places. They are letting the techs have free reign over the repair process. i.e. "out of control."

Good of bad, that group that is growing like a weed has the formula down pat when it comes to such issues and you follow the company's policy and process for each of the item (or question) above.

It's sad to see so many companies rely on the tech to create the process.

Why is that? Imagine if your auto repair was done by 15 million different procedures.


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What you need to do.
by MarkFlax Forum moderator / September 23, 2007 8:48 PM PDT

This is not similar to homework and asking such a question is not evidence that you may not be qualified for this job.

We can't do the work for you, but that is not what you need. What the panel will be looking for is not necessarily specific answers. In fact, if the panel ask you the questions you have listed, (they may not, the questions may be different), what they are looking for is your process. Those questions have a range of different answers, and if they ask 10 equally knowledgeable candidates, they are likely to get 10 different but equally acceptable answers.

The point is, it is your reaction to the questions that will help you, and how you tackle them. For instance, in answer to the first question;

"List the first 5 steps you would take to diagnose a virus", I would firstly say, (politely), that there is no set lists of steps, rather there might come a realization that there is "something amiss". Then I would go on to say I would look for behavior in the computer that is unexpected and unusual. What is that behavior?

I would then talk about 4 steps, (note I have already said the first step), that I would do. What would you do if you noted unexpected or unusual behavior? Would you check the Task Manager to see if there is any unusual process listed? Would you immediately scan with your anti-virus utility? Consider what you would do. List them down before the interview and talk to yourself about them, as if you were guiding someone else, a close friend or relative, etc. Practice on yourself before the interview.

It may be that the question is loaded. For example, if your 2nd step would be to scan, then do you need other steps if the scan finds anything? That might be a relevant answer in itself.

With question 2; "List the first 5 steps you would take to clear a computer of a virus". you may already have taken one of the steps. The two questions may be closely linked.

Then you move onto Customer Help. Very different from the first two questions where you are diagnosing something for yourself. With customer help you are the guide and you have to help the customer through what you might want to do to resolve the issue. Remember that you have to visualize the situation, so a description of it is vital. Is that the first step? Remember also that, although you may take the customer through 5 steps, you may not be able to resolve the issue. The panel are not looking for that. They are looking for what you would do.

An example. The customer asks a question you don't know the answer to straight away. It is OK to say that to a customer and promise to follow it up and phone them back. If you do phone them back then that is good customer service.

As to the last question you say you know what it does. If that's the case, then ask yourself why you, or anyone else, would need to do such a thing. If you were asking the question of someone else, what would you expect them to say?

Note, the questions may be different. There may not be any single answers and some of the answers may not point to a successful solution of any hypothetical situation. Don't be afraid to say to the panel, "I don't know", but if you have to say that, don't just stop there, say "I don't know, but........", but what would you next?

I hope that helps. Interviewing is all about technique and confidence, not necessarily about right answers.


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IT interview questions
by jerryvn01 / July 7, 2010 5:44 PM PDT
In reply to: What you need to do.


Thanks very much for this comment. It help me to think about my ideals.

Tks again and pls keep posting.

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Re:What you need to do.
by the042011 / August 26, 2012 6:22 AM PDT
In reply to: What you need to do.

Thanks for your comment. It's useful for our community.
Same material can be found at I hope it's useful for you and you like it. Please continue sharing more information at this topic.
Best rgs!

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I often have to...
by Papa Echo / July 7, 2010 10:38 PM PDT

... deal with phone support. Believe me - if you do not know the answers, a job in phone support is not for you, even if you are technically qualified in the sopport subject.

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by mrngorickets / May 28, 2011 5:42 PM PDT
In reply to: I often have to...

I agreed with you. Any way, your points of view make me
thinking about some thing for my project.

Pls try to keep posting. Tks and
best regards

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Re: Need help with tech interview qu
by the042011 / August 19, 2012 11:45 PM PDT

I am also very interested in this subject, but the reference is very limited. You can share documents as well as experience? Thanks!

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