Systems administrator Interview Questions

When you interview for a systems administrator position, it is likely that interviewers will ask you questions that allow them to learn how you multitask and deal with problems. Expect to give specific examples about how you dealt with certain situations, and highlight your communication, troubleshooting and technical skills.

5,078 Systems Administrator interview questions shared by candidates

Top Systems Administrator Interview Questions & How To Answer

Here are three top systems administrator interview questions and tips on how to answer them:

Question No. 1: If your company's website is down, how do you resolve the issue?

How to answer: This open-ended question allows you to discuss your technical skills. Discuss how you identify the problem, troubleshoot the situation and work out why it happened. Your ability to stay calm and focused while you investigate the issue is also important.

Question No. 2: How do you prioritise your tasks?

How to answer: As a systems administrator, you are constantly monitoring the company's computer systems' performance and providing technical support to employees. Highlight your organisational skills and ability to multitask. Give specific examples of how different tasks require more attention than others.

Question No. 3: Talk about a time when you initially failed to solve a system issue.

How to answer: As a systems administrator, it is vital to be able to overcome your inability to fix a problem and troubleshoot it. Focus on how you found a strategy that works instead of trying out different fixes until you solved the issue. Mention if the issue reached your professional limitations and you needed to use your communication skills to consult with others for assistance.

Top Interview Questions

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W. L. Gore & Associates
Systems Administrator was asked...December 16, 2013

The interview questions were pretty average. Each person had questions written down but they didn't seem to be form questions. Average interview questions. The questions were not very technical

5 Answers

Your first impressions and interview questions aren't the norm for this company. Interviewing is usually very long, technical, huge variety of questions from different functional areas. You will hear a lot about the "unique culture" there but it's changed a lot over the years. Just be careful if you're offered the "commitment" and make sure to get all your questions answered. Good Luck! Less

Looking for full time employment

Want a change in my career

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what is third field in /etc/shadow file?

5 Answers

it is use for user passwd...for login

It use for password user login

modified passwd date

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Why are manhole covers round?

5 Answers

The answer they are undoubtedly looking for is because manholes are also round thus need round covers. It doesn't ask why they were designed to be round from an inventive stand point and makes no mention of why the holes themselves are round, just the covers. Its a test of your ability to use logic and reason and make sure that if they hired you that you would have a firm understanding of the "big picture". Thats my take on this anyway... Less

My guess is if you need to put it back or take it off you can roll it around rather than carry it or drag it Less

They aren't. In my house, there are 3, and they are all square or rectangular. I have been in a mine where the (round) manholes weren't covered with anything at all which was rather unsafe, and another where they were covered with a lattice to prevent things or people from falling into them. I haven't seen any round manhole cover yet. But I'm not a native English speaker and may not be getting the pun, someone please enlighten me what this stupid question means. Less

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Rackspace Technology

When does DNS use TCP instead of UDP

4 Answers

DNS use TCP for zone transfer.

Maximum UDP packet size is 512 bytes (or 4096, with the extension of DNS protocol). When the request is larger then a max. UDP size, DNS will switch to TCP. Less


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Rackspace Technology

Why do you want to switch from your current job to a customer support role?

4 Answers

Be honest. If you don't know why you did it then you are just going to come across as a floater. If you struggle with this type of question ask yourself this: What are the Con's of my current job / career path? What are the Pro's of my target job / carrer path? Why did I apply for this job? Why did I apply to this company? This structure will clarify things within yourself and hopefully spawn a few branching thoughts. When answering: Be confident of your decision; be prepared for rebuke and counter-questions. These are designed to test your resolve; your thought process and your competence. The real question here is much different - Who am I hiring. Consider this. Less

Hi and thanks for your comment. I totally agree and I would have been prepared for the question hadn't it been that I was brought in for a interview in a "Linux System Administrator" position, which promptly changed into a "Support Engineer" role. I still wanted the job though. Less

I want a career not a job

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Which one is the bit of the Sticky Bit?

4 Answers

The octal value is 1. i.e. chmod 1644. The "1" is for sticky

2 is for sticky bit 2644 for files; 2755 for directory.

I answered 10.. the recruiter said... are you sure? yes... it was the 1st... remember the permissions are a 12 bit structure divided into 4 sections of three bits. Less

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Expedia Group

How would you restart IIS running on Windows Server

4 Answers

1) open run and type iisrestart 2) open services.msc and restart the IIS server 3) reboot the server Less

I'd bring up the services window on that server and right click and select restart or stop and then start. Less

Ohhh, the perfect question for testing the real skill of a sys admin. The answer is most definitely "enter-pssession ; cmd.exe net stop w3svc && net start w3svc" However, the real answer is "Ensure the IIS server is out of the load balancer and completely drained. Run the commands above. Ensure it is ready to accept HTTP(s) connections and the code is warmed up. Throw back into the load balancer pool." Less

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Rackspace Technology

User has lost root password, how do you reset?

4 Answers

Boot in single mode by typing E on the selected the kernel in grub then add S or single or 1 to the end of line eg. then B to boot the selected kernel. once in the single-user mode disable SElinux with below command eg: setenforce 0 now using passwd command "With SElinux Off as Selinux will not let you change it" eg: [root@centos images]# passwd Changing password for user root. New password: your-password BAD PASSWORD: it is based on a dictionary word BAD PASSWORD: is too simple Retype new password: your-password passwd: all authentication tokens updated successfully. Less

Actually the easiest way to do this is to single the box in run-level 1 then use the standard passwd tools to update the hash. That's far simpler than using a live cd and editing the shadow file. This a network based kvm. is an operation that can be done at the DC or over ipmi or Less

init 1, change root password... I missed this one.

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Rackspace Technology

Can you write the code to generate the Fibonacci sequence?

4 Answers

#!/usr/bin/perl $p = 0; $n = 1; $t = 0; for ($i = 0; $i < 50; $i++) { printf "%d ", $p; $t = $p + $n; $p = $n; $n = $t; } Less

HI, Thank you so much for posting this. I am going to have interview with Rack space for Linux system administrator Position. Can you please provide some question that has been asked by them so it will help me prepare for the interview. Thanks, Vishal Less

My impulse is to use a temporary value holder as well, but I've seen a more elegant solution (in python). It's so pretty... l = 0 n = 1 print l for i in range(100): print n n = n + l l = n - l Less

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COSTI Immigrant Services

What is the first thing to do for the security of IT Room.

3 Answers

I would also secure my Server, Network Switches & Firewall in a locked cabinet. Less

And install CCTV surveillance cameras

First step for security of the IT room is to always lock the access doors, preferably with key cards to ensure a log of every entry and activies Less

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