Top Systems Administrator Interview Questions with Example Answers [2022]

Prepare for your Systems Administrator interview by going through these most asked Systems Administrator interview questions. Additionally, get access to sample answers and interviewer's expectations.

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  • Question: What is group policy and what are they used for?
  • Question Overview: This question tests candidates' knowledge of Windows.

    Sample Answer: Group policies are a way to configure multiple computers at once. For example, you can set a policy that automatically installs the latest updates on all computers in the company.

      What the interviewer is looking for:
    • - A correct definition
    • - An explanation of how group policies are used
    • - A mention of security

  • Question: What is a hash table?
  • Question Overview: This question tests candidates' knowledge of basic computer science concepts.

    Sample Answer: A hash table is a data structure that stores information in a way that allows for fast retrieval. It's used in databases and other applications that need to store and retrieve large amounts of data.

      What the interviewer is looking for:
    • - A correct definition
    • - A mention of hash collisions
    • - A mention of the use of hash tables in databases

  • Question: Would you be open to relocation for this position?
  • Question Overview: This question gives you insight into candidates' willingness to relocate.

    Sample Answer: I would be open to relocation. I have a lot of experience with computers and would be able to learn the new systems quickly.

      What the interviewer is looking for:
    • - A yes or no answer
    • - A willingness to relocate
    • - A willingness to travel occasionally
    • - A willingness to travel regularly

  • Question: What is your experience with troubleshooting hardware and software in a domain environment?
  • Question Overview: This question gets to candidates' hard skills.

    Sample Answer: I've worked with Active Directory since it was first released. I've used the tools Microsoft provides, such as ADSI Edit, to troubleshoot problems. I've also used third-party tools such as the Quest AD Management Shell. I always document what I've done and why.

      What the interviewer is looking for:
    • - A mention of specific tools
    • - A walk through the process
    • - A mention of the importance of documentation

  • Question: What do you know about our company?
  • Question Overview: This question is a great way to see how much research candidates have done on your company.

    Sample Answer: I know that you're the leading provider of cloud-based storage solutions. I also know that you have offices in New York and Chicago. I've read about your CEO, John Smith, and I'm excited to meet him.

      What the interviewer is looking for:
    • - A mention of a specific product or service
    • - A mention of a specific department or location
    • - A mention of a specific person

  • Question: How do you deal with difficult customers?
  • Question Overview: This question gets to candidates' soft skills. It's important for systems administrators to be able to deal with customers in a professional manner.

    Sample Answer: I always make sure to listen to customers and understand their needs. I also make sure to be polite and professional. I've learned that it's important to keep a calm demeanor and not let my emotions get the best of me.

      What the interviewer is looking for:
    • - Acknowledgement of the importance of customer service
    • - Acknowledgement of the importance of being polite
    • - Acknowledgement of the importance of listening

  • Question: How would you define group policy user rights?
  • Question Overview: Technical skills are important in systems administrator jobs, and this question tests candidates' knowledge of a specific technology.

    Sample Answer: Group policy user rights are the permissions that determine what users can do with their computers. The most important ones are "Back up files and directories," "Restore files and directories," and "Take ownership of files or other objects."

      What the interviewer is looking for:
    • - A definition that matches the one in your documentation
    • - A mention of the user rights that are most important to your business
    • - A list of the user rights that are most important to your business

  • Question: Example: How do you grow logical volumes in a Linux LVM environment?
  • Question Overview: This question tests candidates' knowledge of Linux and their ability to think on their feet.

    Sample Answer: I would use the lvresize command to grow logical volumes. The syntax is lvresize -L +size VG/LV.

      What the interviewer is looking for:
    • - A correct answer
    • - A mention of the command's syntax
    • - A walk through the process

  • Question: What will you contribute to the team?
  • Question Overview: This question lets you assess candidates' soft skills.

    Sample Answer: I'm a team player who's always willing to help others. I'm also a good communicator, able to explain technical issues in layman's terms.

      What the interviewer is looking for:
    • - A mix of technical and soft skills
    • - A mention of teamwork
    • - A mention of customer service

  • Question: What was the biggest challenge you faced at your last job?
  • Question Overview: This question helps you learn how candidates deal with challenges.

    Sample Answer: The biggest challenge I faced at my last job was when our server crashed. I had to work with my boss to find a solution. We ended up getting a new server and transferring data over.

      What the interviewer is looking for:
    • - A problem that was a challenge
    • - A solution that worked
    • - A solution that didn't work
    • - A mention of teamwork

  • Question: How do you investigate and solve security issues?
  • Question Overview: This question gets to candidates' technical skills, as well as their ability to work with others.

    Sample Answer: I always start by gathering information about the issue. I review logs and run tools such as nmap and Nessus to see what's going on. Then I contact the appropriate people and ask them for information. I also try to get a feel for the situation by talking to people who were affected.

      What the interviewer is looking for:
    • - Technical skills
    • - Communication skills
    • - Ability to work with others

  • Question: When can you join us?
  • Question Overview: Hiring a systems administrator is a long-term commitment, so it's important to hire someone who can start as soon as possible.

    Sample Answer: I can start on June 1st. I'm currently working on my master's degree in computer science, but I'll be done by then. I've been working on my own projects in the meantime, and I'm eager to get started.

      What the interviewer is looking for:
    • - A specific date
    • - A willingness to start immediately
    • - A good reason for why the candidate can't start sooner

  • Question: What are the ports for httpd and https?
  • Question Overview: This question tests candidates' knowledge of basic networking.

    Sample Answer: The ports for httpd are 80 and 443. The ports for https are 443 and 80.

      What the interviewer is looking for:
    • - Correct answers
    • - A mention of ports for https
    • - A mention of ports for http

  • Question: How do you interact with your team members?
  • Question Overview: This question is a good way to gauge candidates' teamwork skills.

    Sample Answer: I'm very open to suggestions from my team members. I like to ask for their opinions and ideas, and I'm always willing to help them with their tasks.

      What the interviewer is looking for:
    • - A mention of communication
    • - A mention of being a team player
    • - A mention of leadership

  • Question: What kind of experience do you have?
  • Question Overview: This question is similar to the previous one, but it focuses on candidates' work experience.

    Sample Answer: I've worked in both small and large environments. I've worked on a team that developed a website for a local business, and I've also worked on a team that managed a network of over 100 computers. I've also worked with clients to fix their computers remotely.

      What the interviewer is looking for:
    • - A range of experience
    • - A mention of a specific project
    • - A walk through the pro

  • Question: How well do you understand domain services and specifically PKI?
  • Question Overview: This question tests candidates' knowledge of the concepts behind domain services.

    Sample Answer: I have a solid understanding of PKI and how it works. I also know that AD DS is the directory service that is used to manage Windows domains. I've used AD DS to create and manage groups, users, and computers.

      What the interviewer is looking for:
    • - Lingo or jargon
    • - Knowledge of PKI
    • - Knowledge of AD DS
    • - Knowledge of DNS

  • Question: Tell me about a time when you were successful at work.
  • Question Overview: This question is a great way to gauge candidates' ability to communicate their accomplishments.

    Sample Answer: I was able to help my team identify a problem with our network and fix it. I was able to do this because I was curious and did some research. I also was able to communicate my findings to my team.

      What the interviewer is looking for:
    • - A story that shows the candidate's ability to work with others
    • - A story that shows the candidate's ability to work independently
    • - A story that shows the cand

  • Question: What do you think about the future of IT?
  • Question Overview: This question is a great way to gauge candidates' interest in the field and their ability to think critically.

    Sample Answer: I think the future of IT is bright. The Internet of Things will allow us to control our homes and offices with our smartphones. Cloud computing will make it easier for businesses to store data and share it with employees.

      What the interviewer is looking for:
    • - A prediction that matches your business
    • - A mention of the Internet of Things
    • - A mention of cloud computing
    • - A mention of mobile devices

  • Question: How will you create a cron job under a specified user?
  • Question Overview: This question tests candidates' knowledge of cron, which is a task scheduler.

    Sample Answer: I would use the crontab -u username command. This command creates a cron job under the specified user.

      What the interviewer is looking for:
    • - A correct command
    • - A mention of the user
    • - An explanation of the command's purpose