I was getting a phonecall about once a week, about the scanner or it's software. As he lived about 72 miles away from me, and I don't drive, my patience started to grow a bit thin.
In the end, he found a cheap usb combo fax/scanner/printer, which I think I only had one phonecall about!
I thought the point of doing these tasks as apart of the interview process was to test the canidate(s) in question to ensure they have the adequate skills to do the job they may be employed to do. Seems silly to test them on things that they
1. May never have to do in the job role thus not relevant to the job
2. Testing them on things that may be relevant for a higher position ie senior Tech. As they may not have that knowledge and they are not applying for the senior role ?
If the job entails building / repairing and imaging desktops & laptops and password resets , assisting with ms office / printing issues / software installs etc then asking questions about how dns works , routing etc may be the wrong questions as the job has nothing to do with getting servers back online or configuring Cisco routers etc at least not at an IT tech level unless I am missing something??
Edit - bad examples above but you get my point
I thought the point or aim was to test that they can diagnose faults such as why a pc does not boot ie missing ram or ram not seated correctly or the mains switch not being turned on and other faults ie network ( Ethernet ) cable not inserted or seated correctly so not getting a network connection and hence not applying GPO's and cant do anything on the network, etc etc
Last edited by mac_shinobi; 7th March 2013 at 01:09 PM.
Norphy (7th March 2013)
Hi I went through a few tests, I can share a couple with you.
1. That was nearly 7 years ago and the tasks were:
(a) To enable Control Panel and the C: drive.
(b) The computer has a static IP address to set it to DHCP.
(c) no network connection
Unfortunately I cocked up the test as I got nervous because I was still inexperienced and didn't play with Group Policies even though I was managing RM CC3 (which has some elements of GPO) and had a vanilla admin network (but not allowed to set group policies). Also wasn't prepared in the interview so didn't get it. Of course this is the first ever time I did hands-on task for a job interview.
2. 1 1/2 years ago, I went for a NM role for a secondary school. Here were the tasks:
(a) computer wasn't turning on
(b) cannot log on
(c) sound wasn't working
(a) Funny thing was the computer wasn't turning on because of the fuse was missing from the power lead! Unfortunately, we resolve much complicated problems than that that we overlook the obvious.
(b) network cable unplugged
(c) sound disabled in device manager
Luckily there were 2 more people also overlooked the fuse! Of course my interview was not good so missed out on this job too.
So my tip is "never overlook the obvious". It's easy to say but when you're doing the practical test and you've only got about 10-15 mins, your mind goes blank and therefore common sense goes out of the window.
We had a nice questionnaire full of general school IT problems like dual screen issues, cable issues etc. the sort of everyday stuff you get as a techy. Also further questions in the one to one interview thrown in for good measure. The written questionnaire was on a laptop and one interviewee complained about me not providing a mouse as he kept touching the trackpad and jumping all over the place on the document by accident and was his excuse for not completing the questionnaire. He seemed experienced initially. He also wanted to tidy my server room and showed me photos of server rooms he had tidied.
As to the cable question. I immediately thought parallel, but in all my years I've never needed to attach one to a server unless it was for printing, or a printer switch etc..
Questions for techs ... It depends I guess at what level they will be starting and what they'll expect to be able to do. If you are advertising the role and asking for a year or two of experience, then I'd expect to quiz them a fair bit and may well have a practical test. We hired a tech at my last place who we expected to be going out to our primary schools we also supported and be doing stuff on their servers. So we had them do a practical test in the interview which started off with some simple troubleshooting on a laptop (checking the proxy, network settings etc...) then it moved on to slightly more complicated tasks, remoting onto a virtual server and asking them to do more and more difficult tasks. None of it was rock hard stuff, but in a pressure situation like that, even simple things can seem complicated.
The funny part was when we had a paper MCSE try some of the tasks and he was utterly useless. We cut short the practical as he was that bad ...
What we have used in the past
1. here is a laptop, projector and a memory stick with a powerpoint on, set it up for an assembly - basic wiring up of a device and simple troubleshooting (enable external output on the laptop)
2. Here is a broken computer, fix it and logon with these credentials
The computer was broken in a number of ways, as they solved each problem they encountered another - things like mouse and keyboard in wrong sockets, power cables unplugged at both ends, hdd unplugged leads loose in monitor, ram loose, keyboard set to foreign layout.
With this one your looking for a logical approach to problem solving, rather than they get it all up and running in the time limit
hope this is useful
You : There is a Mr Wait at reception for you, can you go and get him from reception ?
Tech : ok
You : wait 30 seconds ...... and they've failed the test
Wouldn't it be funny if there really was a Mr Wait in reception!
But seriously, anything that tests common sense, person skills and good reasoning, I would value those over a massive technical knowledge any day.
mac_shinobi (7th March 2013)
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