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System Administrator interview questions and answers

This sample of System Administrator interview questions includes examples of technical and situational questions to help you identify the best candidates for your company. System Administrators may also be called SysAdmins.

Christina Pavlou
Christina Pavlou

An experienced recruiter and HR professional who has transferred her expertise to insightful content to support others in HR.

system administrator job description

10 good system administrator interview questions

  1. An employee is working from home and has trouble joining a video call. How would you help them?
  2. Some employees are complaining about their Internet speed. What steps would you take to identify the problem?
  3. We would like to create simple manuals to help employees use our equipment properly. What instructions would you give to help your colleagues use a printer?
  4. How would you deal with a virus?
  5. What are your responsibilities during network infrastructure implementations?
  6. Describe the data backup and recovery process on a Mac.
  7. How do you install and configure a printer in Windows 10?
  8. How do you determine a server capacity?
  9. What are Forests, Trees, and Domains?
  10. How do you stay up-to-date with IT developments?

Here are 10 essential interview questions and sample answers to help identify the best candidates for this role.

1. An employee is working from home and has trouble joining a video call. How would you help them?

This question assesses the candidate’s ability to provide remote support and troubleshoot common issues.

Sample answer:

“I would first ask them to check their internet connection. If that’s not the issue, I’d guide them through the settings to ensure their microphone and camera are properly configured.”

2. Some employees are complaining about their Internet speed. What steps would you take to identify the problem?

This question evaluates the candidate’s troubleshooting skills and understanding of network performance.

Sample answer:

“I would start by running a network speed test to confirm the issue. Then, I’d check for any bandwidth-hogging applications or potential bottlenecks in the network.”

3. We would like to create simple manuals to help employees use our equipment properly. What instructions would you give to help your colleagues use a printer?

This question tests the candidate’s ability to communicate technical information in an easy-to-understand manner.

Sample answer:

“I would create a step-by-step guide that covers installing printer drivers, connecting to the network, and troubleshooting common issues like paper jams.”

4. How would you deal with a virus?

This question gauges the candidate’s understanding of cybersecurity and their ability to respond to threats.

Sample answer:

“I would isolate the infected machine from the network, run a thorough malware scan, and follow company protocols for further action.”

5. What are your responsibilities during network infrastructure implementations?

This question assesses the candidate’s experience and understanding of network setup and management.

Sample answer:

“My responsibilities include planning the network layout, configuring hardware, setting up firewalls, and ensuring data backup and recovery systems are in place.”

6. Describe the data backup and recovery process on a Mac.

This question tests the candidate’s knowledge of different operating systems and their backup and recovery processes.

Sample answer:

“On a Mac, I would use Time Machine for automated backups. The recovery process involves booting into the Recovery Mode and restoring from a Time Machine backup.”

7. How do you install and configure a printer in Windows 10?

This question evaluates the candidate’s familiarity with common tasks and operating systems.

Sample answer:

“I would go to ‘Settings,’ then ‘Devices,’ and click ‘Add a printer.’ After it’s added, I’d configure its settings according to the user’s needs.”

8. How do you determine a server capacity?

This question assesses the candidate’s understanding of server management and scalability.

Sample answer:

“I would analyze the current workload, future growth projections, and then calculate the required CPU, RAM, and storage resources.”

9. What are Forests, Trees, and Domains?

This question tests the candidate’s knowledge of advanced networking concepts.

Sample answer:

“Forests, Trees, and Domains are components of an Active Directory network. A forest is a collection of trees, and a tree is a collection of domains.”

10. How do you stay up-to-date with IT developments?

This question gauges the candidate’s commitment to continuous learning and staying current in the field.

Sample answer:

“I regularly read industry blogs, participate in webinars, and attend conferences to keep up with the latest trends and technologies.”

What does a good system administrator candidate look like?

A good system administrator should have a deep understanding of network management, cybersecurity, and server maintenance. They should also be proactive, possess excellent problem-solving skills, and be able to communicate effectively with non-technical staff.



System Administrator Interview Questions

System Administrators are responsible for the proper operation of the company’s IT systems, including hardware, software and network.

SysAdmins are usually the first point of contact, so candidates need to combine excellent troubleshooting skills with an ability to explain technical details to a non-technical audience. During your interviews, test candidates for their knowledge of IT system best practices.

For this role, future SysAdmins will deal with various issues (e.g. backing up and recovering data, upgrading servers and installing applications), so it’s best to choose candidates with broad technical backgrounds. Keep an eye out for system administrator candidates who are passionate about the IT field and enjoy continuous learning. Many of these questions work well for a windows system admin role.

Let’s summarize some of the questions and add a few more divided into specific types.

Operational and Situational questions

  • An employee is working from home and has trouble joining a video call. How would you help them?
  • Some employees are complaining about their Internet speed. What steps would you take to identify the problem?
  • We would like to create simple manuals to help employees to use our equipment properly. What instructions would you give to help your colleagues use a printer?
  • How would you deal with a virus?

Role-specific questions

  • What are your responsibilities during network infrastructure implementations?
  • Describe the data backup and recovery process on a Mac. How is the process different with a PC?
  • How do you install and configure a printer in Windows 10?
  • How do you determine a server capacity? Why and how often do you need to upgrade a server?
  • What are Forests, Trees, and Domains?

Behavioral questions

  • Some of your daily tasks can be repetitive. How do you stay motivated?
  • Describe a time when you used your knowledge of operating systems to optimize a network.
  • When you have to juggle different tasks at the same time, how do you prioritize work?
  • Recall a time when you didn’t know how to solve a problem. What did you do?
  • In general, when there’s a challenging project, do you like to work with a team or prefer to come up with a solution on your own?
  • How do you stay up-to-date with IT developments?

Frequently asked questions

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