it comes to filling a network manager role, recruiters and interviewers want to
hire someone with a balance of expert technical skills and strong communication
skills. A top-notch candidate has a solid understanding of firewalls, routing
protocols, SNMP, load balance and network design.
hardest candidates to find are those with a combination of technical, verbal
and written communication skills," says Sandy Lambert, CISSP-ISSMP,
managing director of recruiter Lambert and Associates. "It’s easier to
find somebody who is technical than it is to find somebody who understands
technology and can communicate it."
interviewers want to find out how network managers "deal with people,
problems and technology," adds Ilya Talman, president of Roy Talman and
Associates Inc., a Chicago-based search firm specializing in IT.
following are a list of commonly asked interview questions:
Give me an
example of the most challenging project you worked on when you were the leader.
answer this question effectively, you’ve got to describe a project where you used
both technology and managerial skills. Hone in on the number of people managed
and the complexity of the project. Interviewers are also looking to see if you
have experience managing a network similar in size and complexity to theirs. Which
leads to another common question: What are the
sizes of the networks you’ve previously dealt with?
Show me how
you would implement a particular network.
question can be tailored toward a specific position or contract job, says
Vasanthan Dasan, CTO and vice president of engineering
for the Armada Group, a staffing firm in Silicon Valley.
Candidates must articulate, and sometimes show, how they’d plan and create a network.
In one instance, Dasan’s question for a was, "We need to design a caching network
for a client that produces mapping software for customers worldwide. How would
you go about implementing this network?"
"From the way they think and understand networks, I get a
sense of whether they can do the job or not," Dasan says. "I may also
ask them to write that down into a statement of work that includes how long it
will take, what they will deliver and how they will implement it."
Here’s an example of a network.
Where and how would you put security controls into it?
managers are increasingly being asked to handle network security issues. When
Lambert worked at Citibank, she would present a diagram of its network and ask candidates
to draw and explain a security strategy. Similar questions are, "What other tools have you used to increase the security of
a network?" and "What were you specifically responsible for to ensure
firewalls and protect the network?"
Tell me about
a mission-critical, 24/7 network you worked on.
"Many Network manager positions have to deal with a 24/7
environment," observes Craig Kapper, senior regional vice president for
Robert Half International. "Ultimately we want candidates who can minimize
downtime in a 24/7 environment." A follow-up question could be, "What
type of redundancies did you implement for failover if the network goes down?"
some of the duties in your current or previous job that were satisfying to you?
Some people love to be involved with all the details of a project
from start to finish. Others prefer supervising workers and allocating project
details. "If they liked all the details at their previous position, then
they may not work as a network manager, because the network manager has to
oversee everything," Lambert says. Your answer also
reveals your work habits, and gives clues on whether you know know how to
Explain your hardware
are looking to understand not only your hardware experience and strengths, but
how you’ve leveraged hardware in the past.
experience with VPN, network authenticity management, encryption and integrity
With more people wanting to access company information remotely
and from different devices, network managers are often asked questions
regarding remote access, Kapper says.
Some other questions you may be asked:
experience implementing VoIP or wireless.
What is PKI? Describe 802.11.
How did you map and prepare a two- to three-year strategic roadmap
for a network?
How did you negotiate with vendors?
How do you control network traffic?
— Chandler Harris