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Educational IT Jobs Thread, 4 hour job interview! in United Kingdom (UK) Specific Forums; I've got an interview next week for network tech for the local council. The job is only 2 days a ...
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    witch's Avatar
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    4 hour job interview!

    I've got an interview next week for network tech for the local council. The job is only 2 days a week and pretty lowly but apparently the interview will take AT LEAST 4 hours!
    This includes a task unrelated to the job which will test my ability to take in and process info - something to do with troubleshooting a paint production line? Has anyone else encountered such a thing?
    There will also be a task that DOES relate to the job (phew) as well as 2 in depth interviews with a panel
    Sounds a bit OTT to me
    Any advice gratefully received

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    john's Avatar
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    Im sure you will give it your best shot at what ever task is thrown at you, just like any IT Tech would All in all Good Luck

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    Ric_'s Avatar
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    Harsh... 4 hours! The only thing I can think of is that the process lasts 4 hours with multiple applicants being present and participating in tests/interviews consecutively (therefore your part is much shorter) - it's only two days a week after all!

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    4 hours does sound way over the top!

    What we've done in the past is to bring in candidates in batches of (say) 4 to test them and then when we've done all that we interview those who can work out how to plug in the computer :-)

    This whole process can take several hours even though each candidate is only "busy" for perhaps 90 minutes.

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    witch's Avatar
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    Well I hope that I won't be doing a 4 hour mammoth task!
    So, has no one come across this 'problem solving' bit?
    And, finally, what questions would you expect to be asked of a network tech (which I'm not, really) rather than an IT support tech (which I am!)
    Thanks

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    StewartKnight's Avatar
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    I had an all day interview once...

    physcometric evaluations, problem solving tasks, group tasks... the fully monty!

    Flunked it at the last hurdle, my VME programming skills weren't up to scratch.
    So they gave me a job in another division!

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    KarlGoddard's Avatar
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    surely the 4 hours includes the part where all the candidates sit about while each of you have your panel interview?

    My interview here was a 3 hour job... site tour, chat, test then panel interview. I was third in line and had to wait an hour for my panel interview.

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    plexer's Avatar
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    The last system administrator job I went for at another school was an all day affair.

    Turn up for 8:30.
    Attend staff briefing.
    Attend assembly.
    Tour of school.
    Written task.
    Group Task.
    Talk with teaching staff.
    Talk with ict support staff.
    Coach a member of staff on a software package.
    Interview with panel including head and lea advisor.

    Left at about 4:30.

    Basically came second so didn't get the job.

    If it's a position you really want then prepare yourself and go for it.

    Ben

  9. #9
    kerrymoralee9280
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    I had an interview once for a primary school with all the tech questions. I was chuffed with them because I thought this is going to be really in the thick of it, just what I want. Questions about DNS, DHCP, ghosting - the whole lot.

    Got offered the job and took it - they had me teaching about 75% of my time, rest of it I was bored stiff as had nothing to do.

    In the summer, we had a server fail - was the best time of my life.

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    localzuk's Avatar
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    Seems a bit OTT to me. My interview lasted 20 minutes at most. It involved a basic interview that seemed to focus on my attitude, and whether I was gonna run off with 12 year old girls. There was a brief 'how do you add a user in Active Directory' test and a few questions about computing but that was it.

    Not really what I expected.

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    ICT_GUY's Avatar
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    Two from the daily WTF

    Design me a House (by David J)

    Like most sane people, I absolutely despise the whole Job Interview 2.0 thing. Now, I'm usually good at sniffing these types of companies out before wasting their time and mine with an interview, but recently I got caught up in one when looking for a Java position at a mid-sized consulting company.

    After twenty minutes or so, I tried to gracefully exit with a "thank you for your time," but the manager didn't seem to get it. Ten minutes later, I tried again, but he was just too caught up in his brilliant questions to hear what I was saying. As the hour mark approached, I started to get more and more frustrated.

    "Design me a house," the interviewer cheerfully demanded.

    "Ugh," I groaned, "what do you want your house to look like?"

    "But aren't you going to ask how many floors it should have," he glibly responded.

    "Fine. How many floors do you want?"

    "Two!," he shouted, "no, three! I mean, one! Err... no, I want six, maybe sev--"

    "You get one floor," I interrupted. "That's how David Constructions work. One floor, that's it."

    "Ahh," he smirked, "but that's not a very flexible design now, is it?"

    "There's always Ryan Homes. They actually have, you know, building architects and what not. I'm, well, just a Java programmer."

    After a confused silence, the interviewer responded, "soooo, on my house, I'd like some rooms - can you sketch those on the whiteboard?"

    I grudgingly got up and walked to the whiteboard. It was the sixth time that day.

    "I like rooms," he perked up, "lots and lots of rooms."

    "What," I grumbled, "like, six or something?"

    "Maybe," he nodded, "but what if I want to add more later? Or combine them."

    "I don't know," I sighed, "hire a dry wall guy?"

    "Ewww," he flinched, "that sounds expensive! I'd like to do it on my own. Can you design a--"

    "Look," I interrupted, "I don't mean to be rude, but you haven't asked a single question about programming."

    The interviewer scoffed, "you've got a lot to learn about developing good software if you don't see the relavence here."

    Thankfully, the interview ended shortly thereafter. And while they never did extend me an offer, they did end up going out of business later that year. Aparently, they had issues delivering software to their clients.



    How Can You Expect This?! (from K.D.)

    I was interviewing candidates for a Unix system administrator position. One of the "broad" questions I tended to ask was purely intended to get insight into the candidate's problem-solving abilities, but also a way to see what tools and techniques they might suggest (rather than the old "here's a list of tools, have you ever used them?" type of questions, since invariably every candidate would insist they had used them all).

    This particular candidate happened to be one of those where I was strongly leaning towards a "no" decision at the onset but continued with the interview just to maintain decorum, due to the way the interview started. When he came into my office, he stood in the center, sized up the room very carefully, then picked up the chair I had indicated and spent several minutes carefully placing it precisely in the center of the seating area. Precisely. This required perhaps half a dozen adjustments to its position, and several circuits of the chair to view it from all perspectives and ensure that it was placed correctly. Once he was satisfied, he sat down... and I opened my mouth to speak, then paused as I watched him go through the same sort of several-minute adjustment process to ensure that his pant legs were perfectly straight on his leg and that the crease down the middle was lined up exactly right down the center of each leg.

    Okay, I thought, we've established that he's a bit OCD. But maybe that could be a good thing? I'll continue with the interview.

    I explained the current team structure -- at the time we had a rather small team and far too many servers to support. This was about 12 years ago, and the mid-range server administration area had just been formed, and things were, to say the least, chaotic. The servers could be practically any flavor of hardware and manufacturer, various operating systems, various versions, and a myriad of different applications running on them, sometimes installed by users and then dumped upon us to keep them running. Generally, every administrator could be called upon to respond to a problem on any machine. I had explained that we had started documenting the purpose and configuration of every server on an internal document server, some initial stabs at naming standards, etc., but that largely it was a free-for-all when a problem call came in. I believe in being up-front about the environment a person is applying to join.

    I explained all this, and then opened up with my "wide-open" question. "So, Frank, let's say you receive a call from a user in the marketing area, and he says that their mailing is not going out. Walk me through some things you might do with this call, to determine the nature of the problem, and what things you might check to resolve the problem."

    There are clearly no right answers, but some of the answers which have been provided by candidates in the past ranged from elementary housekeeping things like getting contact information and asking the user specifics about the problem, referring to the documentation to determine which server supported the marketing department, all the way through the candidate assuming that they can identify the machine in question and moving right into problem resolution, handily dropping references to checking various system logs, pinging routers, checking mail configurations, DNS settings, etc.

    Not Frank. He sat for two minutes in total frozen silence. Then he burst forth with "what server is this? I don't even have an account on the servers in your company! How can you expect me to log on if I don't even know where the server is and no one has given me any accounts yet? If I had an account, I could log on. But I can't. You haven't given me an account yet. I don't have an account. I know I don't have an account on that server. I don't know what server that is. How can I log on? How can you expect this?"

    I tried to calm him down, tried to explain the concept of a hypothetical question, but he just grew more agitated... but the crease in his pants legs remained perfectly aligned with the middle of his leg the entire time.

  12. #12

    Ric_'s Avatar
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    @ICT_GUY: That second one is truly genius! Much rep going out to you for causing me to LMAO.

  13. #13
    ICT_GUY's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ric_ View Post
    @ICT_GUY: That second one is truly genius! Much rep going out to you for causing me to LMAO.
    The trouble is I know of at least one techie not too far away from this level of OCD.

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    chrbb's Avatar
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    How did the interview go? Get the job?

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    witch's Avatar
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    Nah - they were looking for more network knowledge than I have got currently. If it had been purely PC support I would have been OK
    The interview was Ok - the problem solving exercise was about spray paint cans - they gave you lots of info about what could go wrong and then some scenarios - you had to sort out what the problem was. I got 27 out of 31 right!

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