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Posted on 2004-09-08
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I've never done anything like this before, but was thinking this might be a good opportunity to get feedback from a networking perspective.

I've been shortlisted, and now have an interview coming up tomorrow for a "do-it-all" network/desktop/server/telephone troubleshooting position.  

They have just sent me this job description, and I wanted to get some feedback. Here's what I know :
 - they have been contracting out support up until now
 - 3 LAN's, 100+ computers
 - 200+ staff
 - staff has very little IT knowledge (the person who wrote this description may not have much IT knowledge - but i'm not sure)

Bit about me: I have 10+ years IT experience (mostly helpdesk-type experience), strong web-development and client/server scripting, strong people/training skills, high aptitude for all things IT. I have at least SOME experience in all areas mentioned below.

If you were preparing for this interview, what questions would you be asking ?

Thanks in advace for your thoughts & comments ...

[direct post from the word doc - identifying info removed]
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ICT Technician Job Description

1. Job Summary
The purpose of an Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Technician at [xyz company] is to provide maintenance, management and administration support functions of the following network & systems:

1.      All Local Area Networks (LANs) including all computers & all peripherals
2.      All telephone systems (wireline & wireless) including telephones
3.      All remote control systems and other technology related equipment/systems
4.      All Security & Fire Alarm systems

The maintenance, management and administration support functions are to be provided for all [xyz company] offices and facilities and property (i.e. administration & various office etc.).  

2. Duties and Responsibilities

2.1 General

-      To attend classes, seminars and reviews professional literature to enhance knowledge and to stay abreast with trends and new technical developments related to tasks as defined below.
-      Be sensitivity to the different levels of staff expertise
-      To dedicate his time during working hours completely to the tasks as defined below
-      To follow general office practices & regulations and to conduct yourself in a business like manner during working hours.
-      Display a positive attitude during working hours


2.2 Maintenance (Hardware & Software)

2.2.1 For all Network & Systems

-      To respond promptly to any reported hardware or software problems.  As appropriate, to take the action as required rectifying the reported problem, either remotely or via site visits.
-      It is the technician's responsibility to determine when a technical problem has exceeded his capability.  These problems must then be immediately escalated to the office or department manager as appropriate.
-      As applicable, ensure the operational continuity, disaster recovery plans, data back up routines & security goals, as defined, are met by the users.  If these goals are in peril, it is the responsibility of the technician to bring it to the attention of the office or department manager.
-      Proactively respond to all alerts and indications of potential problems immediately
-      Ensure all regularly scheduled maintenance & testing tasks as defined by the office or department manager are completed on time. In the event there is not ample time allotted, it is the responsibility of the technician to bring it to the attention of the appropriate manager.
-      Train & instruct staff to follow operating procedures & controls as defined
-      Be familiar with the network infrastructure (cable and patch panel, router, hub, Internet access, etc.)
-      Follow supplier’s recommended maintenance procedures
-      Ensure that any misuse of the system, including the use of unauthorized software or hardware, is brought immediately to the attention of the office or department manager.
-      Enter all reported trouble and problem solutions in the computerized trouble reporting, tracking and history system.
-      Liaise with external support agencies to resolve faults quickly, when and if necessary.
-      Liaise with external suppliers for the repair of equipment under warranty or maintenance contract.

      2.2.2 Computer System (LAN, Workstations, Printers, Scanners etc.)

-      Monitor the LAN traffic & performance (i.e. Server utilization, Cache hits, Disk capacity, etc.) for possible congestions & operational problems.
-            Liaise with the designated person responsible for electrical standards & safety to ensure that all electrical outlets used for LAN and computer hardware meet/comply with the requirements.
-      Assist the School’s IT Coordinator in the deployment of computer hardware around the school

      2.2.3 Telephone Systems (Wireline & Wireless)

-      Monitor the telephone traffic (i.e. trunk, link usage & number of busy signals) to avoid any trunk and system congestions
-      Train users, as necessary, in the proper use of the telephone system

      2.2.4 Remote Control      

-      Monitor the telephone lines and the associated equipment (i.e. auto dialer, recorded message according equipment etc.) to ensure uninterrupted operation.

      2.3  Updates &Additions (All Systems)
 
            2.3.1 Software
-      Test and install all new software
-       Make new software available to appropriate users
-      Ensure the Anti-Virus & Fire-Wall software is installed, kept up to date and working properly, where required
-      Set up and maintain user e-mail accounts

2.3.2  Hardware

-      Test new LAN (i.e. hubs, switches, routers, servers, etc.) & computer (workstation, printers, scanners etc.) equipment on arrival and install in accordance with vendor's specifications.
-      Ensure that all installations are needed and meet industry standards.


      2.4 Network Management (All Systems)

2.4.1 For all Networks & Systems

-      Maintain the computerized Trouble Reporting, Tracking and History system (TRTHS) and ensure all reported trouble and problem solutions are entered in it.
-      Use the TRTHS to identify trouble trends, chronic problems & network congestions  
-      Set-up routine system maintenance & testing schedule in co-ordination with the appropriate office or department manager, to ensure reliable, efficient & uninterrupted network/system operation.
-      Make recommendations to the office or department manager, as necessary, to maintain or improve the operational quality & the integrity of the network/systems
-      Ensure that the Disaster Recovery Strategy Plan, Redundancy Strategies (if applicable) & the Data Back-Up Schedule are up-to-date and functioning.
-      Ensure the hardware & software documentation & drawings are correct & reflect current network configurations.
-      Ensure that only authorized staff does programming functions
-      Check the network back up logs where appropriate
-      Set up, maintain and remove user network accounts where appropriate

2.4.2  Computer System (LAN, workstations, printers, scanners etc.)

-      Ensure that the IP Address Scope is current
-      Ensure that the Security Strategies (i.e. unauthorized & abuse of access, unauthorized modification & functions etc.) are implemented and up-to-date.
-      Ensure that the Access Controls (i.e. identification and password) are implemented & current and that no unauthorized people (i.e. former employees) have access to them.
-      Ensure the software licensee agreements are observed & current
-      Participates in long and short range technology planning.


2.5  Administration

2.5.1  For all Networks & Systems

-      Maintain inventory (software & hardware) and service records
-      Keep suppliers warranty records current
-      Check for correctness and authorize all bill payments & invoices from suppliers & service providers

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Question by:Gitcho
5 Comments
 
LVL 23

Accepted Solution

by:
rhandels earned 72 total points
ID: 12011550
Hi,

I've done some interviews for new candidates at our work and this might sound corny, but i'm more interested in the person that's sitting there than the knowledge he has. Knowledge can be taught, personallity not. It also heavilly depends on who is siiting there, who's taking the job interview with you. If it's someone who is quite technical, you could get a lot of networking in general questions, like TCP/IP and DNS and stuff.

But, fore as far as i can see it, they are looking for someone who is tidy and punctial in his work (don't know how to put it, the word...). I don't beleive you need to be very technical...

Nut just a small note. I'm a network admin now for 4 years and let me tell you that it's not worlds best job. Indeed, it is my hobby, but still. If you are on a helpdesk, and you don't know what to do, you can ask someone to help you. In these companies you are on your own...
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LVL 10

Expert Comment

by:jayca
ID: 12011770
Be prepared to answer your experience to each one of the items listed in the job description.
Example: So Mr Gitcho, one of the job requirements is training field staff who typically assist in supporting end users, what is your experience with that?

Answer: Yes sir, in my previous employment, I was the training resource for X,Y,and Z and I am very comfortable training people.  I generally approach training fromo the end user perspective and always want support staff to keep them in mind.  Too often I sit through training courses where the content is way over the head of the general audience and it is very apparent on the faces of the attendees.  That being said, I like a more basic approach.  First going through the basics of the product to levelset people.  Then I like to drill into the top 10 issues I have seen over the years.  I then like to spend time in troubleshooting techniques.
  I would also have a document "cheat sheet" as a handout at the end of training, outlining what we discussed and listing resources for escalating issues including my contact information.  I also followup the training with a soft copy of the document as well, so they can pass it out as needed without having to recreate the content.

(Something along the lines of that for every question they ask)  Do not babble on, but speak enough in their own language that they are confident you could handle the situation.

Rules to think about:
-Do not be loud.
-Be confident but not arrogant.  An employer wants someone who can handle situations and not be micromanaged.
-Get lots of sleep the night before.
-Express the importance of your own training and say it would be great to have the ability to improve your skillset to benefit the company in the long run.
-Avoid any time commitments.  If they ask for you to commit to 2 years, be respectful but honest. "I would absolutely give a gentlemans agreement to a 1 year commitment, but to be honest with you, I cannot in good faith commit to anything longer than that.  It would be like me asking the company to promise me employment for 2-3 years."
-Be relaxed, get lots of sex the night before.
-BEFORE the interview starts, ask the interviewer their position so you know how to respond to them.  If it is an IT person, you can jump into geekspeak.  If it is an office manager, you should talk more along the lines of how you can impact their users and give them a stable, reliable technical environment.
-Eye contact when shaking hands.  Firm, but not supergrip.
-Do not stare, it makes people uncomfortable.
-Be prepared with some funny stories from your old support jobs (comes in handy with the IT guys)
-prepare and go over these things until the night before and take the night off...do NOT stress out over it, or it will surely show.
-MOST IMPORTANTLY- If you do not knnow an answer, do not make something up.  Feel free to think outloud and if you cannot come to a clear conclusion, it is acceptable to say "I think.." or "I am not 100% sure, but I would say..".
-I have known IT rock stars who made something up on the spot, and 1 slip up and they were immediately thrown out of the running for the position.  People that do that are a liability and end up costing the company money.
-Take a pen and pad with you, write down all unanswered questions.
-SECRET WEAPON:  I ALWAYS email the people back with answers to questions I could not answer at that time.  I would prpeface the email with "I apologize for not coming up with the answer on the spot, but I could not get the question out of my head, so I did some research, and the answers I would submit to you are..." So many times I have been told I was the only person to do that, and it made a huge impression.
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Assisted Solution

by:bradjamc
bradjamc earned 72 total points
ID: 12018399
You stated that this is their first time to hire a technician. Their questions most likely won't be too technical. I've worked in positions like that before and the key was communication. It is most likely a personality interview to see if you can fit into the environment, and expect for it to be conducted by a pannel or several one on ones.

Too many times technicians speek alot of jargon, which ends up being anoying to those envolved.  If you can you explain to managment what needs to be done to accomplish what they want they want done  and talk to the users on a level that they can understand, you should be fine. One thing I've done in the past which has impressed managment is replace the word user in your vocabulary with customer, that way they know you are trying to service their needs.

Remember, contractors have advantages and disadvantage. You can pick and choose which expertice you need on a per project basis (network administrator or desktop tech.) But you loose the one on one relationship you have with an employee. If they are taking the leap to full-time, chances are that's what they miss, and they're willing to pay for it.
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