In a report published in 2019, the statement was made that 85 percent of small companies rely on IT to improve their business. They said it helps them remain competitive and improves business performance.
These days virtually every business will rely on technology to some degree. And that includes companies that do not have in-house expertise. In those cases, an IT Support person can be a vital asset.
So, let’s take an in-depth look at the IT Support Interview Questions that are likely to be asked so that you can ace your future interviews.
What Do IT Support People Do?
IT Support is sometimes referred to by its original name of Technical Support. When you see that as the job description, it means the same thing. Their principal task is to help people (either customers or employees) solve technical queries.
This can be a job involving in-house problems or as an external resource for customers. Responsibilities may include the following:
- Updating hardware and software.
- Training staff and customers how to operate office computers and software.
- Preparing reports on malfunctions or computer errors.
- Routine operational maintenance.
- Providing solutions for front-end user computer and software problems.
The Skills Required
- Be able to think creatively to solve problems.
- Be well trained in the use of existing software.
- Pursue a continuing education program to keep up to date with new developments.
- Have a sharp eye for detail.
- Show good customer relations skills.
- Be patient with users.
The Qualifications Required
These days you usually need a relevant Bachelor’s degree for an entry-level position. However, internal promotion from another related department is also possible.
Let’s Look At The Questions
I have outlined the Role, the Skills required, and the Qualifications you will be likely to need. So what questions are you likely to be asked at an interview? And perhaps more importantly, how should you answer them?
They are likely to be arranged into two areas. One may follow the other in the interviewers’ questioning, but not necessarily. Some interviewers may jump around a little bit to try and ensure you can think quickly and accurately. These areas are Personal, Technical, What you know about the company interviewing you, and The Future.
Let’s look at them individually:
This will be a general background question and answer session. It is designed principally for three reasons.
- To open the interview and try and make you feel at ease.
- Gain some further information about your background.
- Check how clear and precise your replies are.
Tell me about yourself
A very common question that can be put in a number of ways. One of the early questions is to get you to relax and start talking about yourself. Don’t get carried away. One or Two minutes is fine.
You can talk about home life, education, family, hobbies, work history, etc., but keep it light. They will be listening to the content. But also to see how you articulate and communicate when you are talking about a familiar subject.
How did you hear about this position?
Another ‘throw-away’ question just to break the ice and get you talking. Although it is likely, they will be interested to know. Companies like to know which media sources produce results. There are some others that may be asked, of course, but it won’t take long before they move along to the reason you are here.
At this point, the interviewer needs to gain some information about what you know. They won’t expect you to know the company’s internal procedures, of course. But they will expect you to demonstrate an understanding of the interaction between hardware, software, and the user.
If you are being interviewed by someone from a Personnel Or Human Resources department, their knowledge could be vague. It may simply be a question sheet with an answer you will be expected to give.
Calling in someone from IT to interview you
But they may call in a technical person from the department to do this section. If they do, you can expect a tougher grilling. Some questions are likely once again to be easy, others not so. They may ask questions like these:
Do you understand BIOS?
A simple enough question for anyone who understands anything about computers. Making sure you understand the function of the ‘basic input and output system.’ You may be asked to expand upon the interactions and relationships between the hardware and the operating system.
RAM or ROM
This is a question that would have been a question asked a few years ago. But it still comes up these days, even though the difference between Random Access Memory and Read-Only memory is understood by most 12-year-olds today. This is probably not going to be included, but I’ll mention it anyway, just in case.
The components of a laptop or desktop computer
This may be included just to test a basic understanding of what is involved and what makes the computer functional and operational. The answer will include references to the processor, the motherboard, and the RAM. Extras might include a graphics card and a sound card. The obvious components are the keyboard, any disk drives, and don’t forget the power supply.
Once they have gone through some basic conceptual questions, it might get a little more specific to the role of Technical Support. They may ask:
What are device drivers for?
A basic question, but you will need to know that they are software that is required to run certain hardware components. Some may be loaded externally.
What are the latest computer processors?
Not even going to bother to insert those. They change by the minute. Just try and be aware of what the latest processors were on the morning of your interview. They won’t be using them, of course, but it will demonstrate you are up to speed on what is going on in the industry.
They may ask you a basic question just to ascertain if you are familiar with processors at all. This could be why an 8085 processor is called an 8-bit processor, and how does it differ from the 8086? The answer is that the Arithmetic Logical Unit, ALU, of the 8085 is 8-bit. The ALU of the 8086 is 16-bit. Simple questions, but it is these things they will expect you to know without too much thought.
Which operating systems are you familiar with??
This is one of those questions that some people will recommend you find out. I am not sure why other than to let the interviewer know you did a little research. It won’t be possible for you to say you are familiar with their systems if you aren’t.
If you are asked, just mention the systems you are familiar with and the comment that ‘I understand you use’…etc. If you have seen it or know anything about it, then mention it. But do not try and pretend you are ‘au fait’ with it.
What is BSOD?
This also used to be a question that was commonly asked, mainly in an attempt to lighten the mood. But also to ascertain that you understand, if you know what it is, and how to deal with it. When a computer recognizes it has a serious internal problem, it will freeze completely. You will just see a blank blue screen.
As a computer person, you will know that you can restart or reboot in safe mode, and this will solve the problem of the BSOD, the Blue Screen of Death.
If a customer says their computer is running slow
There will be some standard checks to consider, and you would be expected to know and consider these:
- How long does it take to startup?
- Is it running slow on just one application or all of them?
- System check for Viruses, Malware, or Spyware.
- Check available space on the hard disk.
What procedures would you follow to solve a customer’s problem?
This, of course, would depend on the problem, as previously mentioned. But this is a common question at interviews.
Your answer will give the interviewer an understanding if you appreciate the basic procedures to follow. This, of course, bearing in mind each company will probably have its own procedures set to follow.
Tell me about your experience in IT support
This will almost certainly come up at some stage and is your chance to swing the interview your way. Assuming you have had some experience, you can talk about them and some technical problems you have handled.
It will be important to mention customer relations and offer a calm answer to the problem. Don’t be afraid to talk about the more complex problems, but never denigrate the simple solution the user missed.
Do You Know About The Products And The Company?
You won’t be expected to know everything but some basic knowledge and understanding of what they do is important.
What do you know about our company?
This question is quite likely to come up. The interviewer will want to know why you are interested in working for their company. What has attracted you to them? It is obviously a good idea to have done some homework on the company regarding products and services etc. Also if they are a well-known company with a big reputation, you can mention that.
Try and be as specific as you can. They will be impressed to know that you have invested some time in finding out about them.
How will you benefit from this role?
They may ask you how you see the work and what challenges it will offer you. It is a fairly standard sort of question to be asked. The best way to answer is that you are looking forward to expanding your skills base with the new challenges this position would bring.
This allows you to talk about your own future whilst also including the benefits your abilities will bring to the company.
How does this job fit in with your plans for the future?
Once again, a fairly standard question. But it has a serious side to it, so don’t be flippant with your answer. It is likely the company isn’t looking for a ‘journeyman’ employee. They will be looking for signs of stability from you. You can discuss how you hope to be able to grow in the job and within the framework of the company.
A good position to take is that you see yourself as a representative of the company. In that role, it places a lot of responsibility on your shoulders which is something you enjoy.
Where do you see yourself in three to five years?
Don’t get tripped up in this one. Talking about management and climbing the ladder can be beneficial, but it can sometimes work against you. Maybe the best answer to give is to just keep it simple and non-specific. For example, by that time, you hope to have established a reputation as an efficient, knowledgeable company person.
In some cases, you might be dealing with the company’s clients. Some of them may be valued customers. They have to see you are technically adept, but you also have to have the right personality.
Keep the customer satisfied
IT Support isn’t just about knob-twiddling and jargon. It is about keeping the customers satisfied. And they can sometimes be customers who are what you might call ‘IT challenged.’ We aren’t all the sort that automatically know what is wrong. Therefore personality can play a big part, especially with potentially irate customers or colleagues who need whatever is wrong fixed and quick.
Looking Professional and giving a composed attitude is certainly going to help. The Tassia Luxury Leather Executive Case Attache Briefcase might be useful in helping you look the part. And if you’re making notes, a nice pen will give you a professional image; I recommend the Parker IM Fountain Pen.
And turning up at a client’s address soaked to the skin won’t help, so get yourself the Lilyxin Premium Automatic Compact Umbrella Windproof.
Looking To Train In Computers?
That’s great! We found some insightful guides online to help with your studies. For computer programmers, we’ve got the Python Programming: An Introduction to Computer Science, Code: The Hidden Language of Computer Hardware and Software, and The Art of Computer Programming to start with.
As well as Computer Programming: The Most Complete Crash Course, Computer Programming for Absolute Beginners, and Computer Programming: Learn Any Programming Language in 2 Hours, all available online in 2021.
If designing algorithms is your specialty, we recommend reading The Algorithm Design Manual, the Computer Vision: Algorithms and Applications, Data Structures and Algorithm Analysis in C++, Practical Discrete Mathematics: Discover math principles that fuel algorithms for computer science and the Algorithmics of Matching Under Preferences.
Computational thinking is another crucial specialty in the IT world. So, take a look at the Introduction to Computation and Programming Using Python, the Introduction to wxMaxima for Scientific Computations, Thinking as Computation: A First Course, and of course, Computational Design Thinking, also available online today.
But that’s not all; we also came across Data Management: a gentle introduction: Balancing Theory and Practice, the DAMA-DMBOK: Data Management Body of Knowledge, the Clinical Analytics and Data Management for the DNP, and lastly, Data Management: Databases and Organizations which we found very helpful.
Technical Support plays a vital role in a company, especially these days where people rely on computers for just about everything. Quite simply, when something goes wrong, and it will be your job to fix it.
For those people able to do that, there is a great future because there will always be computers. And just sometimes, things won’t work as they should. That is where the IT Support person earns their money and fulfills a vital role.
All the very best with your future Interviews!