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Educational IT Jobs Thread, Network Manager Interview in United Kingdom (UK) Specific Forums; Well in the end, it was all for nothing. I had to contact the school and I got a response ...
  1. #31

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    Well in the end, it was all for nothing. I had to contact the school and I got a response back through e-mail saying I had been unsuccesful. I reckon if I was a betting man I'd say the internal applicant got it, if so that is 3/4 NM interviews that have ended this way.

    Seriously what is the point of advertising if to just waste people's time? it seems that it is impossible to get a NM position unless you are promoted from within.

  2. #32

    sonofsanta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ahunter View Post
    Well in the end, it was all for nothing. I had to contact the school and I got a response back through e-mail saying I had been unsuccesful. I reckon if I was a betting man I'd say the internal applicant got it, if so that is 3/4 NM interviews that have ended this way.

    Seriously what is the point of advertising if to just waste people's time? it seems that it is impossible to get a NM position unless you are promoted from within.
    An answer you will hate: they are required by law to advertise.

    Edit to add: commiserations, but don't be put off - it's not impossible. I managed it, although I fear that was more luck than judgement.

  3. #33

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    As far as I was aware, there is only a legal obligation to advertise roles internally, i'd be keen to see the evidence if I am wrong

  4. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by ahunter View Post
    Seriously what is the point of advertising if to just waste people's time? it seems that it is impossible to get a NM position unless you are promoted from within.
    Just a thought here but in the interest of keeping your chin up.... I was internally promoted to network manager 4 years ago (was kind of advertised but not really so no ones time wasted as far as I know) and am leaving my position now as have found a similar position in the town where I live (kind of, when I grow it bigger). Drops my travel time from 80 minute round trip to 6 minutes. My current NM position is being given to my technician (same internal promotion, sort of, so no time waste for external applicants again). The job I am going to is a one man on deck position so has to be ICT Tech instead of NM. The fellow doing it now is retiring so no int promo in this case. We are expanding the support umbrella to include the primary schools in our area and possibly hiring a tech in future when the workload grows. Obviously, we will be charging the primary schools for this instead of them paying other support companies so my salary may go up as well as they come on board. Selling it to them is partly my job as well. I am taking a pay and position drop to facilitate this but the savings in travel cost make it better. Thing is, be sure to look at positions that have scope to grow into the NM job you are looking for moreso than where you are.... May increase the potential target jobs for you if you make a sidewards step. Then grow it yourself. I am taking a bit of a leap of faith on this one but I have lived, loved and worked in 3 countries now and I'm still cranking along. What doesn't kill you just makes you stronger... Believe it.... I am a one legged tri national and I never give up... Never.... Oh, also ask them if the job has internal applicants before you apply - they might tell you the truth and then you can decide whether to apply or not.... Keep that chin up and never, never give up trying....!

  5. #35

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    Roles do not have to be advertised externally if there are suitable internal candidates. I believe that if you have an internal ICT Tech for example that you want to promote then you should do it without advertising, this is perfectly legal. The job should be advertised externally if there are no suitable matches internally.

    @johnj1710 it sounds like we went for the same position. It wasn't at Weaverham High School was it?

  6. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by ahunter View Post
    Roles do not have to be advertised externally if there are suitable internal candidates. I believe that if you have an internal ICT Tech for example that you want to promote then you should do it without advertising, this is perfectly legal. The job should be advertised externally if there are no suitable matches internally.

    @johnj1710 it sounds like we went for the same position. It wasn't at Weaverham High School was it?
    Absolute agree... If internal candidates are suitable, I would never advertise.... No, wasn't Weaverham... I am not the one..... But keep trying....

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    Lol sounded familiar as their NM is retiring too. I've currently got an application in now for another NM position but looking at their current IT staff they have a Systems Manager and a Senior ICT Technician so I'm beginning to contemplate withdrawing my application.

    Still totally gutted though about this one as it seems like a really nice school.

  8. #38

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    Quote Originally Posted by ahunter View Post
    Seriously what is the point of advertising if to just waste people's time? it seems that it is impossible to get a NM position unless you are promoted from within.
    I've been involved in interviewing where we knew we had a good internal candidate but you still advertise because there might be someone better outside. I can definitely remember 2 occasions when this happened. On one occasion we did make an internal appointment; on the other an external candidate got the job (he was miles better than the internal candidates)

    Recruitment isn't an exact science and there are all sorts of things a panel will consider even if they try to be systematic and not be biassed in favour of the person they know.

    Don't give up - one day you will go for an interview and even if there's a good internal candidate the panel will see that you're actually a better bet!

  9. #39

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    Quote Originally Posted by ahunter View Post
    Lol sounded familiar as their NM is retiring too. I've currently got an application in now for another NM position but looking at their current IT staff they have a Systems Manager and a Senior ICT Technician so I'm beginning to contemplate withdrawing my application.

    Still totally gutted though about this one as it seems like a really nice school.
    I know it's hard but keep at it. I have gone up against internal candidates and won on more than one occasion. I think it depends on the role but sometimes they want to see what's out there before giving it the internal candidate and if you come across as fesh blood with new ideas etc it might work out in your favour. 1st hand experience tells me it sometimes goes to the external guy so don't withdraw your application - this could be the lucky one!

  10. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by ahunter View Post
    Lol sounded familiar as their NM is retiring too. I've currently got an application in now for another NM position but looking at their current IT staff they have a Systems Manager and a Senior ICT Technician so I'm beginning to contemplate withdrawing my application..
    I really hope you don't withdraw your application.

    Bear in mind that they are looking for a Network 'Manager', and I can tell you from my own experience it is very different role to being a technician. A high level of IT knowledge and experience is desirable, however a manager needs a totally different skills set.

    They have to take strategic overview of the IT infrastructure within a school, and how it supports the curriculum. Prioritise and get the most from the IT budget. Obtain quotes and/or bids for new equipment and software. Manage the IT technicians, setting priorities and ensuring SLAs are met and writing annual appraisals. Project managing the installation and/or upgrading of software and equipment. The network manager is ultimately responsible for the networks’ integrity and security.

    I am not trying to scare you, but to make you aware that the playing field is probably very level, and in fact you could just as easily have an advantage, if you can show you can bring new ideas and best practice from you previous school.

    When you prepare for the interview, reflect on what a network manager actually does and prepare answers accordingly (the job/person specification will help). During the interview think and act like a manager and not as a very experienced technician.

  11. #41

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    I think I probably did my best in the circumstances. I wasn't given a tour of the school so all I had to go off was the JD. I was asked questions such as "How would you develop our VLE?" and "How would you develop our WIFI" I asked them as much as I could to gain the information to answer the question but it was extremely vague. How can I suggest how to develop their VLE if I haven't seen it and don't know what features they currently have etc? they asked me about coverage for a wireless system and I again I was stumped as I didn't even see the site so couldn't relate to anything

  12. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by ahunter View Post
    I think I probably did my best in the circumstances. I wasn't given a tour of the school so all I had to go off was the JD. I was asked questions such as "How would you develop our VLE?" and "How would you develop our WIFI" I asked them as much as I could to gain the information to answer the question but it was extremely vague. How can I suggest how to develop their VLE if I haven't seen it and don't know what features they currently have etc? they asked me about coverage for a wireless system and I again I was stumped as I didn't even see the site so couldn't relate to anything
    Could you have answered these questions if you had seen the school? What was there current WIFI setup? Did you ask them? What is the best WIFI setup for any school in your opinion? Is there one where you are now? How would you make it bullet proof? Do they have a current VLE that you could have asked to see (prior to the interview)? Did you research the school over the internet and see if there was a link to the VLE from the school web site (you wouldn't be able to log on to it but you might have found out what it was)? With a position you really want, phone the school prior to putting in your application in the first place. Ask them if you can come to the school and be shown around to allow you to properly prepare for the process. If they won't show you around prior to (or can't) - warning bell!

    Yes, absolutely all said here is correct. I too have beaten internal applicants (and been beaten by them). Also promoted from within. It's about your skills, knowledge and confidence. I am a big believer in promoting staff to more senior positions from within, but only if those internal applicants show passion, have been loyal and positive for some time, and have the skills, ability, knowledge, and also show the capacity to grow past the job they are applying for. Believe me, this type of internal applicant is not as common as you think. Let's all make this very, very clear.... DO NOT WITHDRAW YOUR APPLICATION! At the very least, you may learn something from any interview process that helps you get what you're after on the next one. It seems to me that you are successful at getting interviews so that is one big success right there. Now, you just need more interview practice at a higher octane level to bring you into line. A couple of points here that helped me secure positions:

    - If you are asked a question at an interview that you are really not sure how to answer, write it down as soon as you can. Then research this topic until you are absolutely certain of answering it confidently. This will certainly increase your knowledge. I missed a job I interviewed for on an e-safety question. Next interview, they didn't bring this up but I did. In my questions after I asked them about there current e-safety position and was able to flex knowledge in this area.

    - Start acting like a Network Manager now. Do you have a NM where you are. If not, who is performing this function at your current place of employment? Ask them if you can take on some of their tasks or shadow them occassionally. Make your ambitions known. Bring yourself to the foreground (if relationships where you are can take this of course). If they won't or can't, should you be working for them anyway? I mean, you're leaving anyway aren't you... Just a matter of time!

    - Take Seanvin's analysis of the NM position above apart - bit by bit. It is a very good one. Do you believe that you can perform all these functions? If not, learn how. Talk to us about the bits you are unsure of. Enroll in courses or studies that will help here as well. Current studies show a strong self belief. Especially if you have to pay for them instead of your workplace. And put this on your application (ie Supervisor Skills for New Managers 101 - self funded).

    - Try to speak in the interview like you already have the job. Not an easy one but done properly it won't sound strange. Get someone you trust to ask you the questions you expect to get at the interview (2 or 3 people would be even better - mock panel). Even under the pressure from trusted friends the pressure will get to you and you can practice it out until you (and they) have honed you into a confidence machine!

    And when you are sure you are ready - it's then just a numbers game. You will probably end up like many of us who prepare until we are sure we are ready and end up with 2 possibilities at once and don't know which one to say yes to.....

    Keep that chin up!

  13. #43

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    I probably could have answered the Wi-Fi question a little better if I had been given a tour of the site. At my current school we have a managed solution and at my previous school we didn't so I have gained a lot of experience in how "not" to do things. I did research the school on the Internet and was very thorough in reading the JD. The VLE was Frog. I have no previous knowledge but I was involved with the setup of a Moodle VLE, in the interview the school seemed keen to have someone involved at the technical and curriculum level with the VLE. This is something I haven't done previously but I know what is expected from a VLE and what functionality it should have.

    The original interview time conflicted with a MS exam so I had to arrange for a later time which may have gone against me but I did state my reasons.I did ask them if I could come to the school prior to interview to have a look around. I received no response until the morning of the day of the interview explaining that the current NM was away on holiday and the head was at a conference and it was now too late.

    I do believe I can perform all the tasks of a NM. At my previous school I worked there for 4 years and for 2 and a half of those I was Senior ICT Tech with an acting up role of NM. Although I did not perform all the tasks of a NM as the SLT liked to deal with policies and such on their own.

    I'm currently a Senior ICT Technician and I made a good impression by taking the time to visit the school prior to interview. The original interview time conflicted with my current employer at the time so I rang and asked if I could interview later but have the tour as a separate visit. This was granted and I had a chance to speak with my boss (NM) and see the facilities, within 20 mins of finishing the interview (which I thought went badly at the time) I was offered the job. I thought this tactic might have worked for this interview but obviously I wasn't allowed to visit prior to interview.
    Last edited by ahunter; 22nd March 2011 at 11:27 AM.

  14. #44
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    It really doesn't seem like you have a problem to be honest. Just need the luck on the day and that sparky little connection with one or two of the people on the panel that will come if you keep trying. It's like trying to sell your house. There is always a buyer for every house. Just a matter of the price and the time it takes to find the new owner. You will get the job you are after. Just a matter of tunacity and the panel that leans your way on the day. Are you actually happy where you are now and just ambitious to move up or are you actually unhappy where you are and a bit demoralised for various resons (sorry in advance if you have already mentioned this previously)? I always find it tough to get out of a place that has me down. Seems to shine through at interviews if you don't give extra effort to getting your mind right before hand. How many interviews have you sat through in your life? Are you being a little hard on yourself? I have sat through about 20 in three different countries. I won 8 and lost about 12. I now know that every one I miss brings me a little closer to the next one I get. And "oh what a feeling" when it doesn't come easy.

  15. #45


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    Lets also not forget that sometimes there is a better candidate. You might have had all the criteria required but if you were up against someone with the same experience & quals as you but interviewed better you are probably going to lose out. As you are getting interviews it shows you have the skills required to do the job, however is someone else interviews better than you they are more likely to be offered the job. Unfortunately with todays job market there are better and better candidates all applying for the same jobs.

    Do you ever ask for feedback from your interviews? As suggested above, it can provide areas you could work on for the future? It also helps identify when the job has already been earmarked for someone, in which case you have to just chalk it down as experience
    Last edited by penfold; 22nd March 2011 at 11:47 AM.



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