We had our interviews yesterday, with a basic 'put a pc together', find the IP address and insert new RAM. Not a difficult test for a senior IT Tech role. But for me it was how the candidate approached the task. Would they ask if they were unsure? How would they set up the PC? Would it be tidy?
This proves more about the person and how they deal with issues. You can always train a person new technical skills but not their personal skills.
Resurrecting this thread and keeping in current just to say I thought that the cable was an old IEEE 1284 printer cable (purely because I'm old!) as long as it has a 36 pin centronics connector on the other end!
However, I have just discovered there are many other flavours...
25 pin D-SUB male connector diagram and applications pinouts and connections @ pinouts.ru
But also, how weird is it that just today I have had to use one!!!
Yesterday, I tried to get some info off a USB stick that had the end snapped off. As I was fiddling* with it (*technical term), the connectors slipped and the power and data pins crossed and I may at one point even have had the +5 and ground the wrong way round :doh: sure there was a puff of smoke... Anyhow, later on my (USB) printer was showing offline, but still on and seemingly fine....
Anybody like to guess why none of the USB ports work on my PC anymore? :(
Anyway, luckily my printer had the 36 pin port and my PC had the old 25 pin parallel port! I had kept a couple of these cables (because I am an IT hoarder) so I hooked up the 'old' printer cable and away I printed :)
Needless to say I didn't get any data of the USB stick and gave the user a 'mumbled' reminder about having her work backed up....
I guess as others have said, tests or questions relative to to level of job role applied for are fine, but also to test general problem solving skills. Also in a School IT department maybe more than in a Business/Corporate environment, how they will fit in is possibly equally as important. I had no hands on technical problems to solve, purely because nobody interviewing me had the technical know how to set them up or check I had completed them correctly (but I was also doing the job for an outsourced IT firm before I was taken on by the School). However there were some written scenario based questions such as, "The Head cannot print, but as you are going to fix it you are called by a teacher who cannot connect her laptop to the IWB for a lesson she is about to give, what do you do?" Those answers are all about priorities and such as others have mentioned (you all answered fix the Heads printer, right? :p ).