Friday, July 8, 2011

Interview Questions for Desktop Support

General Questions
Q. What desktop operating systems are you familiar with?
A. Before you answer this question, you should have some background information on what operating systems are used within the organization you are interviewing with. Undoubtedly, you will be asked to elaborate on your skill set with each of these operating systems so it’s best to tailor your elaboration to the operating systems that are relevant to the hiring manager. This being said, don’t leave out mentioning experience in other operating systems. You never know whether the company may be evaluating the migration to a different OS.
Q. Have you used imaging software before? How do you find these tools useful?
A. Automation tools are an important part of your job as a desktop support technician. Elaborate on the tools that you’ve used. Hiring managers want to assess your in-depth knowledge and experience with using these tools. This means talking about how you use their various feature sets. (If you have an opinion, you probably know the product pretty well.)
Q. What are the pitfalls of using imaging software?
A. This question is meant to assess how well you know these products. For example, discussing the importance of testing the image demonstrates that you use these tools on a regular basis.
Q. Have you used any software distribution tools? If so, which ones and how were they used?
A. Like imaging software, software distribution tools are an important part of your job. Hiring managers are looking for knowledge that these tools exist and how they can be used to support your organization.
Q. What do you like most about desktop support?
A. Hiring managers are looking for what motivates you. Hopefully your answer will match the characteristics of the job: being busy, working with different people, and the challenges of learning new operating systems and configurations.
Q. What do you like least about desktop support?
A. The hiring manager is testing whether you will fit in with the existing team. An appropriate answer here would be not being able to resolve a problem in a timely manner for reasons outside your control, such as hardware failure. Stick to things outside of your control for the best response.
Q. When solving a desktop problem, do you prefer to work with the end-user, your peers, or on your own?
A. This is another question to determine your fit within the organization. Hiring managers understand that to be successful as a support technician you will have to work in a team environment. This means working with other employees, vendors, and end-users on a constant basis.
Q. Can you describe a situation where you have had to deal with a difficult person? How did you handle it? Would you do anything differently?
A. Desktop support can be very demanding some days. End-users only see their own priority needs and often are not interested in other demands on your time. This question explores how you deal with a difficult end-user by understanding their problem, assessing priorities, and communicating a timeframe for resolution. Often good communication can help both sides come to an agreement. Make sure you have an example with a successful outcome.
Q. How would you say you are able to handle stress?
A. Hiring managers are looking to see what coping techniques you can draw on to deal with stress. Sometimes from the answer, they can also determine whether you are prone to stress. When responding, some techniques for handling stress that you may want to talk about include continually evaluating what’s on your plate and prioritizing, communicating with your manager on what your priorities are, and making sure that you take a break to reenergize, particularly at lunch time.
Q. What do you see yourself doing two or three years from now?
A. Hiring managers want you to stick around. They realize that you will not be in this position forever, and they want to make sure there’s a desire to move up within the organization as well as the right fit. They ask this question to see whether there’s a growth path for you possible within the organization. As a desktop technician, natural growth paths are team leads, quality assurance, engineering positions, and entry-level development. Be honest about where you want to be in two to three years, and ask the interviewer whether they see your career path as a possibility.
Q. How do you learn new technologies?
A. Learning is an inherent part of the job. Hiring managers are looking for someone who enjoys learning technology on their own and who has the foresight to look for training opportunities. Besides the traditional books and manuals, don’t forget to include user groups, eLearning subscriptions, and IT professional sites such as CramSession.
Q. How do you prioritize tasks and manage your time?
A. What hiring managers want to know is whether you have time-management skills. Everyone manages their time differently, but think about how you handle e-mail, when you check voice mail, how you respond to pages, when you research and document, and how you pick up new trouble tickets.
Q. Imagine the following situation: you receive three simultaneous calls from three vicepresidents who need assistance immediately. How do you manage these conflicting priorities?
A. Obviously this is a trick question. What the hiring manager is trying to assess is how you set expectations with each of the individuals, knowing very well that you won’t be able to assist all of them at the same time. They are also looking for how you will prioritize each of these incidents, including seeking assistance from peers and supervisors in order to meet user expectations. Don’t allow the “tyranny of the urgent” to divert you from managementestablished support priorities.
Q. How would you handle a user who continually misdiagnoses their PC issues?
A. By asking this question, the hiring manager is assessing your customer service skills. In this situation, you may want to discuss that the key is to not offend the user and turn them off to your support services. In handling this situation, you would pay particular attention to ways you can build trust with the user and lead them to the right resolution to their problem.
These components may include:
  • Acknowledging the user’s diagnosis
  • Asking the user to reproduce the problem
  • Finding a solution that works
Q. How do you handle setting up new employees?
A. This question is used by the hiring manager to assess your knowledge of common practices within the IT department, such as setting up new users. Obviously, the IT department plays a critical role in the productivity of the new employee. The role of the desktop technician is to help ease the new employee into the resources available to them and get them up to speed quickly. In responding to this question, you may want to talk about some of the tools you’ve used in
the past to help users acquaint themselves with their new environment. Some tools that help are:
  • A new-user welcome letter that is customized to the specific user with all their relevant information including telephone extension, how to access voice mail, and how to log in. It might also include a FAQ on getting help.
  • A “Getting to Know Your Helpdesk” document that provides an orientation to helpdesk service, such as how to contact the helpdesk, its hours of operation, what is and what is not supported by the helpdesk, and answers to common new-user questions.

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