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Network Administrator Interview Questions

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  1. Can you describe a firewall and how it should be used? See answer
  2. Can you tell me about a time you had trouble diagnosing a network error? What did you do? See answer
  3. What types of networks do you have the most experience working with as a network administrator?
  4. What monitoring tools and approaches do you prefer as a network administrator?
  5. Are you familiar with workgroups or domains? If so, How do they strengthen networks?
  6. What types of authentication do you use for network access? How do you make your decisions?
  7. Can you tell me what an intranet is? How about an extranet? What role do they play in company networking systems?
  8. What education or professional experiences do you have that qualifies you for a network administrator role?
  9. If most company employees worked remotely, what types of features would you include in a networking system?
  10. Have you ever performed an audit for company networks? If so, what were your criteria for evaluation and what conclusions did you make?
  11. How would you rate your verbal communication skills? Do you feel comfortable giving presentations on network updates?
  12. Do you know what a crossover cable is? If so, when would you use one and what examples can you provide from your previous experiences?
  13. What would you do to make a shared folder on a remote computer accessible to company employees?
  14. What methods do you use to perform system maintenance? How often should you perform system maintenance?
  15. What is a default gateway and what happens when it is left empty?
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6 Network Administrator Interview Questions and Answers


What types of networks do have the most experience working with as a network administrator?


Network architecture can change dramatically depending on the type of network. Expertise in handling a LAN does not necessarily translate to VPN. The answer to this question can tell you whether or not the candidate has experience with your network type and will be a good network administrator for your systems. What to look for in an answer:

  • Knowledge of different types of networks
  • Interest and experience setting up and maintaining the network structure you use
  • Their opinions about the different types of networks available

“Local Area Networks (LANs) offer excellent flexibility for businesses operating in a single location with multiple device types. However, for businesses with a larger physical footprint or multiple locations both at home and abroad, a Virtual Private Network (VPN) is often the better solution and one that I am well versed in handling.”


What monitoring tools and approaches do you prefer?


This question gives job seekers an opportunity to discuss their previous work experience. By delving into the tools they commonly use and asking them to pick out their favorites, you can find out whether or not their skill set will be a good fit with your network architecture and get a look at their rationale. Even if they don’t have a lot of specific experience, an answer that demonstrates an understanding of the pros and cons of different monitoring tools can help with your hiring decision. What to look for in an answer:

  • How many tools the applicant knows
  • An understanding of the different types of tools
  • Experience with cloud-based and locally installed network monitoring

“My favorite tools include Logic Monitor, Lab Tech and Idera. Logic Monitor includes both APM and network monitoring, while Lab Tech offers both network monitoring and infrastructure management. Idera does it all, but you can’t customize your dashboard for faster access to your most used features.”


Can you describe a firewall and how it should be used?


Firewalls are one of the most basic tools in a network administrators box. They deny traffic from one device to another based on a set criteria. A firewall might disallow contact with a website based on its security certifications or isolate a device that only needs access to a limited list of web addresses. What to look for in an answer:

  • Security is essential in a business setting and firewalls are one element to passive security
  • Applicant should demonstrate an understanding of how firewalls work and when to deploy them

“Firewalls act as barriers between devices. They come in hardware and software variants, and they’ve gotten a lot better over the years. When firewalls first started to limit network traffic there were all sorts of problems, but they’ve gotten better and network administrators like myself have gotten better at customizing them to meet business needs.”


Are you more familiar with workgroups or domains?


Workgroups require management at the individual system level. Each system is its own controller, deciding what to share with other users that are part of the group. Domains have a more server-to-client setup, where a centralized authentication server sets the communication rules. What to look for in an answer:

  • Applicant has experience working with domains
  • Familiarity with server setup and maintenance
  • Experience upgrading a workgroup to a domain

“Workgroups are a lot like P2P networks. I’ve used them in my personal life for gaming and other hobbies, but at work I’ve always found domains to be a better solution. By centralizing security and access control, you minimize your risks against all sorts of attacks.”


What type of authentication do you use for network access?


Two-factor authentication is becoming the norm. That means you’ll need two out of three possible security measures to gain access. Typically, this means something you know, something you have and/or something you are. For example, you might need a password and token or a password and biometric scan (fingerprint ID is most common) or a token and a biometric scan. An applicant’s answer to this question can show whether or not they are up to date on some of the latest security protocols. What to look for in an answer:

  • Knowledge of different types of authentication
  • An understanding of different security protocols
  • Experience working with two-factor authentication

“Two-factor authentication is substantially more secure than single factor authentication. For sensitive information, I would definitely recommend an upgrade if you don’t already use two-factor authentication. Biometrics are often the easiest for users, provided you already have the hardware. If not, a token is a great way to add security without spending a lot on hardware.”


Can you tell me about a time you had trouble diagnosing a network error? What did you do?


Network administrators are responsible for monitoring network systems and troubleshooting issues to maintain daily business operations. At any time, network administrators may receive requests from employees to help them fix network errors so they can continue their job duties. This question allows interviewers to determine a candidate's resourcefulness and ability to find solutions to different network problems. A candidate's answer should emphasize:

  • Understanding of diagnostic methods
  • Investigative nature
  • Ability to ask for help
Here is one example of a quality candidate answer:

"If I were having trouble diagnosing a network error, I would make sure to run through all of the potential causes before asking for help. This includes checking to see if it has something to do with the internet connection, potential security breaches, a broken or missing cable or IP address conflicts. If I still couldn't find the root of the problem, I would contact the network engineer or a member of the IT department to get their expertise."

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