Network Engineer Interview Questions

best network engineer interview questions

We are living in a digital era, and as each day goes by, more companies are shifting towards the remote work model. Because of this, there is a high demand for network engineers who help companies have secure, effective, and functional networks.

But hiring a network engineer is not only about having someone on the team who can create or maintain a network.

A network engineer is responsible for setting up, developing, and maintaining computer networks within an organization. They also offer support to users, clients, customers, and troubleshoot any types of problems that may appear. One of their main objectives is to ensure the integrity of high availability network infrastructure

Here’s how to interview network engineer candidates to find the right ones for your company.

Network Engineer Roles and Responsibilities

If you’re wondering what skills should a network engineer have? Or what their main roles and responsibilities are? Have as an example one of our recent job descriptions of a network engineer that can help you create have a wider panorama of this position.

network engineer job description

Note: This network engineer job description contains the basic skills and responsibilities a network engineer should have. It doesn’t include other fundamental aspects such as the soft skills and abilities necessary for a candidate to perform successfully.

Senior Network Engineer Interview Questions 

You can’t arrange interviews with a senior network engineer and not have a clue of what their role will be or of what questions to ask. It sounds obvious, but believe it or not, companies leave this type of task in the hands of their HR team that has no clue about IT.

To avoid this mistake, the best way is to know what you’re asking. That way, you can’t be fooled by a candidate, and you will also make sure they are the right type of person for your company. 

But if you are not sure what the best network engineer interview questions are, we created a cheat sheet.

Need a network engineer?

Technical Questions

These questions are great to test a network engineer’s knowledge about basic but crucial concepts. They also will help you know if a candidate has good or bad communication abilities depending on how well they can explain the concepts.

1.   Can you explain what a router is and what are the criteria for the best path selection?

A router is a layer three network device that is used to establish communication among different networks. It has four main roles that are: Inter-network communication, best path selection, packet forwarding, and packet filtering.

Regarding the best path selection, there are three primary parameters:

1.   Longest prefix match

2.   Minimum AD (administrative distance)

3.   Lowest metric value

2.   What is a backbone network?

A backbone network is a part of a computer network that interconnects networks, providing a path for the exchange of information between different LANs or subnetworks.

A backbone manages the bandwidth and multiple channels. It also can tie together diverse networks in the same building, different buildings, and even in wide areas. Normally, the backbone’s capacity is greater than the networks connected to it.

3.   What are some common software problems that cause a network to have defects?

There are different causes that lead to network defects, but the most common ones are regarding protocol mismatch, security issues, application conflicts, client-server problems, user policy, and errors in configuration.

4.   Define LAN and WAN

LAN stands for Local Area Network and it refers to the connection that exists between computers and other network devices located in a small physical location.

WAN, on the other hand, stands for Wide Area Network and refers to a telecommunications network (or computer network) that extends over a large geographical distance.

5.   What are different ways of making a network secure?

There are many ways of securing a network such as:

  • Set up and configure firewall protection.
  • Install an anti-virus program on all computers (and keep it updated).
  • Create a VPN (Virtual Private Network).
  • Install user authentication.

Performance Questions

This set of questions will help you understand more about how a candidate works, their work experience, and their development throughout the years in their careers. 

1.   What is the largest network you’ve ever worked with?

With this question, you will be able to see how the candidates process works. If they use determined method, such as STAR (situation, task, action, and result) or if they needed guidance in that specific project. This will help you get a hint on how a candidate is able to describe their way of working, solving problems and getting results.

2.   What is your experience coordinating development teams with other stakeholders while deploying network resources?

Usually, network engineers work simultaneously with other departments and teams in the company, therefore, is fundamental to make sure that they have the right communication skills, ability to coordinate and work with different areas.

3.   What is your troubleshooting process when you aren’t getting the expected performance?

If your network engineer is configurating your company’s network and suddenly they encounter problems or errors, you want to make sure they know how to handle them. This question gives you a glance at how the candidate approaches and solves a complex problem. For example, they might give you the answer by explaining their methodological troubleshooting process.

4.   If a customer gets angry at you or isn’t satisfied with your service how would you handle it?

If you’re looking to hire a senior network engineer likely they will be in charge of several important tasks and need to respond to clients/company’s demand. With this question, you will understand more about how the candidate behaves in uncomfortable situations, or in situations that require them to act fast. You will see if a candidate knows how to listen to your clients/company’s priorities, or if a candidate knows how to ask for help if it’s the case.

5.   How do you stay on top of the industry?

As we are living in a digital world, there are constantly so many changes that network engineers need to be on top of the industry to perform successfully. With this question what you want to find out is how they continue their learning process, whether by Googling things up or by attending conferences and participating in open-source projects. 

What to Keep in Mind when Deciding to Hire a Network Engineer

When hiring a network engineer, you have several aspects to keep in mind. Firstly, you need to make sure they can fulfill your expectations by having the necessary skills. But, besides the hard skills, you will also want to work with someone who understands the way your team and your company work.

You can set up a strong HR team to help you look for your ideal candidate. Or, if you want to speed this process, feel free to reach out. As a remote working recruitment agency specialized in tech staffing, we know all the benefits that hiring remote employees brings to the table, and therefore, we are devoted to helping companies experience those benefits as well.

We can help you hire a talented remote network engineer who, besides having the skills needed, will also adapt easily to your company and culture.  

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Ihor

Ihor

Ihor leads the team at the core of what makes DistantJob successful – our incredible recruitment team! With over 8 years of experience as an IT recruitment professional, Ihor’s experience covers the whole breadth of the staffing and recruitment lifecycle – from sourcing and recruiting top-notch developers himself, to leading teams of recruiters.