Interview Questions for Desktop Support

Interview Questions for Desktop Support Technician/Analyst

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.

Technical Questions

Q. What questions would you ask to help isolate a user’s problem?
A. This question is used by the hiring manger to assess your problem-solving abilities. The following represent some of the common questions that you would ask the end-user to help diagnose a situation:

  • When did the problem first start?
  • Has the system ever worked properly?
  • What was the last thing done to the system prior to the failure?
  • Is the issue intermittent or ongoing/constant?
  • Are there any error messages? If so, what are the specific error messages?
  • Has any new hardware been added to the system?
  • Has any new software been added to the system, including downloads from the Internet?
  • Has anything changed with the system (for example, has it been moved) since the issue presented itself?
  • Has anyone else had access to the system?
  • Are there any environmental factors that could be causing the issue?
  • Have you done any troubleshooting on the system on your own?
  • Have you checked all the cables/connections for a tight fit?

Q. What are the main differences between the following operating systems?
A. Unfortunately, most companies have not been able to standardize the operating systems used by users. It’s always critical that you know more than just the current version because there will always be a user who has a problem with an older version. By asking this question, the hiring manager is actually testing your knowledge of different operating systems that you may need to support. The following provides a concise summary of some of the major differences.

Windows 2000 and XP

Overall, XP is a minor update with Windows 2000 designed to get Windows 2000 technology into the hands of consumers. The major changes include the following:

  • Device driver rollback
  • Remote control (single-user terminal services)
  • New Start menu, control panel, and user interface elements
  • Fast user switching
  • Encrypted file system support for redirected folders
  • Better support for roaming wireless networking
  • Enhanced policies
  • Credential Manager
  • Personal firewall

Q. What are typical virus sources and how do you prevent virus attacks?
A. This is virus protection 101 just to ensure that you understand the basics of protecting against viruses. Possible virus sources include e-mail attachments, Internet downloads, and infected floppy disks. To prevent virus infections:

  • Use anti-virus software.
  • Perform regular updates to the virus software definition files and scan engines. Verify updates have succeeded.
  • Perform regularly scheduled virus checks.
  • Configure software to check all files, not just program files.
  • Educate users on virus attacks, their consequences, and how to prevent them.
  • Know where all software came from.
  • Do regular backups.
  • Develop reporting mechanisms to inform server administrators of observed desktop infections and how these could impact the server environment (such as deletions or corruption of files on public shares, hidden payload files that might have been uploaded to servers, and so on).

Q. What are some of the guidelines you would recommend for implementing security at the user level?

A. Security is a major part of the desktop technician’s day-to-day responsibilities. As the closest point of contact to the end-users, technicians need to be savvy on the different methods for enforcing security. Some of the top techniques are included below.

Anti-virus software:

  • Ensure that all users install and regularly use anti-virus software on their PCs.
  • Instruct users to immediately notify the helpdesk when they suspect they’ve contracted a virus.

Password security:

  • Instruct users not to give out their passwords.
  • Instruct users not to write down their passwords.
  • Instruct users to make sure their password cannot be easily guessed by using a combination of alphanumeric characters, including special characters (~ ! @ # $ % ^ & * ( ) + = [ ] { } / ? < > , ; : \ | ` ’ ” .).
  • Instruct users to change their password if they think there is even a slight chance someone knows it.
  • Instruct users to ensure their password is at least eight characters long.
  • Instruct users not to use a variation of their user ID.
  • Regularly change passwords on Administrator accounts on PCs (NT, Windows 2000 and XP)

Desktop security:

  • Instruct users not to leave their workstation logged in overnight.
  • Instruct users to enable screen savers that automatically lock their PC when there is no activity on it for more than five minutes.

81 thoughts on “Interview Questions for Desktop Support”

  1. Hi
    Nikhil you are great
    thanks for the sharing knowlege
    give me more desktop releted question and Ans

    regards
    pramod

  2. 1) What is Active Directory?
    A central component of the Windows platform, Active Directory directory service provides the means to manage the identities and relationships that make up network environments. For example we can create, manage and administrator users, computers and printers in the network from active directory.
    2) What is DNS? Why it is used? What is “forward lookup” and “reverse lookup” in DNS? What are A records and mx records?
    DNS is domain naming service and is used for resolving names to IP address and IP addresses to names. The computer understands only numbers while we can easily remember names. So to make it easier for us what we do is we assign names to computers and websites. When we use these names (Like yahoo.com) the computer uses DNS to convert to IP address (number) and it executes our request.
    Forward lookup: Converting names to IP address is called forward lookup.
    Reverse lookup: Resolving IP address to names is called reverse lookup.
    ‘A’ record: Its called host record and it has the mapping of a name to IP address. This is the record in DNS with the help of which DNS can find out the IP address of a name.
    ‘MX’ Record: its called mail exchanger record. Its the record needed to locate the mail servers in the network. This record is also found in DNS.
    3) What id DHCP? Why it is used? What are scopes and super scopes?
    DHCP: Dynamic host configuration protocol. Its used to allocate IP addresses to large number of PCs in a network environment. This makes the IP management very easy.
    Scope: Scope contains IP address like subnet mask, gateway IP, DNS server IP and exclusion range which a client can use to communicate with the other PCs in the network.
    Superscope: When we combine two or more scopes together its called super scope.
    4) What are the types of LAN cables used? What is a cross cable?
    Types of LAN cables that are in use are “Cat 5” and “Cat 6”. “Cat 5” can support 100 Mbps of speed and “CAT 6” can support 1Gbps of speed.
    Cross cable: Its used to connect same type of devices without using a switch/hub so that they can communicate.
    5) What is the difference between a normal LAN cable and cross cable? What could be the maximum length of the LAN cable?
    The way the paired wires are connected to the connector (RJ45) is different
    in cross cable and normal LAN cable.
    The theoretical length is 100 meters but after 80 meters you may see drop in speed due to loss of signal.
    6) What would you use to connect two computers without using switches?
    Cross cable.
    7) What is IPCONFIG command? Why it is used?
    IPCONFIG command is used to display the IP information assigned to a computer. From the output we can find out the IP address, DNS IP address, gateway IP address assigned to that computer.
    8) What is APIPA IP address? Or what IP address is assigned to the computer when the DHCP server is not available?
    When DHCP server is not available the Windows client computer assigns an automatic IP address to itself so that it can communicate with the network computers. This ip address is called APIPA. ITs in the range of 169.254.X.X.
    APIPA stands for Automatic private IP addressing. Its in the range of 169.254.X.X.
    9) What is a DOMAIN? What is the difference between a domain and a workgroup?
    Domain is created when we install Active Directory. It’s a security boundary which is used to manage computers inside the boundary. Domain can be used to centrally administrator computers and we can govern them using common policies called group policies.
    We can’t do the same with workgroup.
    11) What is a PST file and what is the difference between a PST file and OST file? What file is used by outlook express?
    PST file is used to store the mails locally when using outlook 2000 or 2003. OST file is used when we use outlook in cached exchanged mode. Outlook express used odb file.
    12) What is BSOD? What do you do when you get blue screen in a computer? How do you troubleshoot it?
    BSOD stands for blue screen of Death. when there is a hardware or OS fault due to which the windows OS can run it give a blue screen with a code. Best way to resolve it is to boot the computer is “Last known good configuration”.

    13) What is RIS? What is Imaging/ghosting?
    RIS stands for remote installation services. You save the installed image on a windows server and then we use RIS to install the configured on in the new hardware. We can use it to deploy both server and client OS. Imaging or ghosting also does the same job of capturing an installed image and then install it on a new hardware when there is a need. We go for RIS or imaging/ghosting because installing OS every time using a CD can be a very time consuming task. So to save that time we can go for RIS/Ghosting/imaging.
    14) What is VPN and how to configure it?
    VPN stands for Virtual private network. VPN is used to connect to the corporate network to access the resources like mail and files in the LAN. VPN can be configured using the steps mentioned in the KB: How to configure a VPN connection to your corporate network in Windows XP Professional
    15) Your computer slowly drops out of network. A reboot of the computer
    fixes the problem. What to do to resolve this issue?
    Update the network card driver.
    16) Your system is infected with Virus? How to recover the data?
    Install another system. Install the OS with the lates patches, Antivirus with latest updates. Connect the infected HDD as secondary drive in the system. Once done scan and clean the secondary HDD. Once done copy the files to the new system.
    18) What is the difference between a switch and a hub?
    Switch sends the traffic to the port to which its meant for. Hub sends the traffic to all the ports.
    19) What is a router? Why we use it?
    Router is a switch which uses routing protocols to process and send the traffic. It also receives the traffic and sends it across but it uses the routing protocols to do so.
    20) What are manageable and non manageable switches?
    Switches which can be administered are called manageable switches. For example we can create VLAN for on such switch. On no manageable switches we can’t do so.

    by Nikhil.

  3. Thanks . here some another questions

    (Q) Are you comfortable if you need to take back 2 back phone calls?

    (A) Yes. If you are asked the reason, then responds positively.

    (Q) Tell me about your tech support experience?

    (A) Give a detailed view of your previous work.

    (Q) What percentage of calls were you able to answer without escalation?

    (A) Here don`t tell big number; depending upon your capacity.

    (Q) What is the percentage of your cases needed more than 2 calls to clear the same issue?

    (A) Clear the issue is your main task; you need to do this in one call.

    (Q) What would you do when angry customer calls you?

    (A) Depending upon the situation I will solve the issue, if the customer has some serious problem then I will try solving it.

    (Q)Can you deliver a training class if necessary?

    (A) Yes

    (Q) Where do you see yourself in future?

    (A) Probably in a good position.

  4. Thanks, I was going to say that it would be GREAT if somebody actually asked me ANY of these questions instead of a bunch of idiotic Microsoft Test questions like the Definition of DHCP. Then they act like I’m out of line because I tell them, I don’t know off hand, I can look it up in 1 second on Google.
    Maybe you’d like to know how to Configure DHCP? or set a static IP? or how to Troubleshoot connection issues that might Involve DHCP? Like DUH! WTF gives a runny shit what DHCP “means”? Just fix it I’m a VP! and a VIP! I didn’t ask you for a Definition! I have a meeting in 5 min. and I can’t get to my presentation! LOL
    Often there will be one off the wall question, most times as a result of something the Last guy didn’t know. Keep an eye out for that, it could make or break the whole deal, and It will usually be one of those “what would you do if” type of things.
    Anyway, thanks

    1. Exactly right… I once missed out on a really good job opportunity in web admin (which I would’ve been ideal for) just because I couldn’t think off the top of my head… ‘how many websafe colours there were’… the correct answer was 216… I said 212 or something? Who cares!!!

  5. Nice set of questions to reheareseI’m prepping for a desktop support interview. I added the following technical information to my interview questions.

    HTML – Hypertext Markup Language
    CGI Common Gateway Interface-
    URL – Uniform Resource Locator
    MIME- Multipurpose Internet Mail Extension
    HTTP – Hypertext transfer Protocol
    FTP – File Transfer Protocol
    Telnet – provides a command interface on a remote host. Replaced by SSH
    Shortcut or alias – small files that points to the original
    IP address – Internet Protocol address is a numeric number assigned to each item on a network
    DNS – Domain Name Server: Assigns a human identifiable identifier lke a domain to a an IP address
    Windows NT Domain – security priniciplas that share a central database. Users get accounts, usernames, shares in active directory.
    Windows NT Share – allows nusers to access a shared folder across the network as if the drive were on their own local computer
    Postscript – a page description language. Produces graphics independent of device for printing for example.
    Database (field, record, table)
    ISP : Internet service Provider. Dial up, DSL, broadband, wireless, cable modem, fiber to premises, and ISDN
    http Content Header : defines operating parameters of HTTP transaction. Colon separated, name value pairs in clear text strings.
    web proxy server: acts as an intermediary between clients requesting resources from other servers based on filtering rules.
    What do these items have in common, what are they examples of?
    (Ethernet, ATM, Token Ring, FDDI) – network topologies (physical)
    (TCP/IP, AppleTalk, NetBEUI, IPX/SPX) – how they all talk to each other

    (Java, C++, Perl, Visual Basic) – programming languages
    (JPEG, GIF, TIFF) – image file formats

  6. Awesome resource. I just had an interview for an IT Help Desk position and I COMPLETELY forgot to talk about all the various imaging and re-imaging that we did on nearly a daily basis. I have a follow-up telephone interview next week and I will DEFINITELY have this resource handy while on the phone. Thanks!

  7. Nice set of questions to reheareseI’m prepping for a desktop support interview. I added the following technical information to my interview questions.

    HTML – Hypertext Markup Language
    CGI Common Gateway Interface-
    URL – Uniform Resource Locator
    MIME- Multipurpose Internet Mail Extension
    HTTP – Hypertext transfer Protocol
    FTP – File Transfer Protocol
    Telnet – provides a command interface on a remote host. Replaced by SSH
    Shortcut or alias – small files that points to the original
    IP address – Internet Protocol address is a numeric number assigned to each item on a network
    DNS – Domain Name Server: Assigns a human identifiable identifier lke a domain to a an IP address
    Windows NT Domain – security priniciplas that share a central database. Users get accounts, usernames, shares in active directory.
    Windows NT Share – allows nusers to access a shared folder across the network as if the drive were on their own local computer
    Postscript – a page description language. Produces graphics independent of device for printing for example.
    Database (field, record, table)
    ISP : Internet service Provider. Dial up, DSL, broadband, wireless, cable modem, fiber to premises, and ISDN
    http Content Header : defines operating parameters of HTTP transaction. Colon separated, name value pairs in clear text strings.
    web proxy server: acts as an intermediary between clients requesting resources from other servers based on filtering rules.
    What do these items have in common, what are they examples of?
    (Ethernet, ATM, Token Ring, FDDI) – network topologies (physical)
    (TCP/IP, AppleTalk, NetBEUI, IPX/SPX) – how they all talk to each other

    (Java, C++, Perl, Visual Basic) – programming languages
    (JPEG, GIF, TIFF) – image file formats

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