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5 System Administrator Interview Questions and Answers

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You are able to telnet to a port even when the HTTP monitor says it is down. In what way do you fix the problem?


When one is working in a position as a system administrator, it is essential to have the knowledge and talent to be able to handle performing the tasks provided. Therefore, when seeking out potential system administrators, one should inquire about the capability of the applicant to use quantifiable expertise. When you ask about resolving this issue, it reveals the amount of information that an applicant has pertaining to this position. What to look for in an answer:

  • Creative ways to solve difficulties
  • Ability to communicate and find the issue
  • Desire to discover the reason behind problems


"If the website is working, I would explore monitor issues, because it could be various problems. Knowing the issue can prevent complications later on."


You attempt solving an issue like multiple users not being able to log on, but you cannot fix the problem. How do you proceed?


Two characteristics that a system administrator needs to possess are not being frightened of not succeeding and willing to try out different new solutions. This willingness to be flexible and to be brave is important because a person's first try at solving an issue is often not a successful one. The person you are interviewing should use thoughtful techniques to solve the issue. What to look for in an answer:

  • Strategizing rather than attempting without a method
  • Knowing more than one trial may be needed
  • Applicant's understanding of the process


"Previous encounters showed me first tries don't often succeed, so I have multiple plans of action. If my initial plan of action doesn't work, I proceed to my back-up plan."


Can you provide a few characteristics that would allow you to be a substantial system administrator?


When a candidate provides you an answer to the characteristics that he or she would bring to the system administrator position, they are giving you a valuable understanding of themselves. The information that you can learn from asking this question includes how aware they are of themselves and also if the candidate's beliefs are similar to the ones that your workplace values. What to look for in an answer:

  • Provides a response that is compatible with your expectations of the job
  • At least one interpersonal skill
  • Characteristics that suit your workplace's environment


"I analyze and am eager to discover the source of a complication to prevent harm to the company. I use communication to provide credible information."


Why would you not want to reconstruct a DC that has not had its information stored for seven months?


Asking candidates about the reconstruction of information on a DC can help you to determine if he or she has knowledge that qualifies them for the system administrator's position. Having modern education about the various workings and advances of different technology can be beneficial as a system administrator. Also, your candidate for the system administrator's position should know about DCs or domain controllers and understand the technology behind them. What to look for in an answer:

  • Utilizes words that are specific to the job
  • Refers to lingering objects
  • Candidate is educated about the importance of 180 days


"When files are not backed up for more than 180 days before restoring them, you can run into lingering objects and unpredictable information."


Can you describe the experience and expertise you have in the technology field?


As a system administrator, one must possess a large variety of background knowledge and credentials. You should also seek to employ someone that is capable of completing the specific task your company desires. The answer that a potential system administrator provides can also allow him or her to give further information and expand upon the previous experience in technology that was provided in his or her resume. What to look for in an answer:

  • What makes the candidate suitable for your expectations
  • Candidate can state why there are gaps
  • Certifications a candidate holds


"I possess a computer science bachelors, CompTIA Certification, and PC and server knowledge. I locate technological problems, and I am familiar with a number of software programs and able to work with customers."

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