Interview Guide – Help Desk and Technical Support

Help Desk and Technical Support positions straddle a need for technical skills coupled with customer service skills. Whether supporting internal or external clients, being tech savvy and having strong interpersonal skills are a must.

Remember that every technical environment is different. Some Help Desk professionals take five calls a day but solve problems from start to finish. Others may receive 100 calls a day but the issue is referred elsewhere for resolution. Asking the right interview questions is the key to ensuring a candidate will thrive in your surroundings. Pick from the questions herein that make sense for your environment.


Interview Questions

Initial Questions
  1. How many years of experience do you have in a helpdesk environment?
  2. Were you supporting customers of another firm, customers of the same firm, or were you internal support to the company’s direct employees?
  3. Were you the sole person responsible for Help Desk / Technical Support or were you a part of a team? If so, how big was the team?
  4. Have you provided remote access support or repairs?
  5. What was your average resolution time for customer support?
  6. How do you prioritize clients’ requests? How would you deal with two high priority requests simultaneously?
  7. Were you required to submit reports or summaries?
  8. Have you ever informed management about recurring incidences? How would you go about reporting the issue? What were the outcomes?
  9. What client approach was expected of you even with demanding and difficult customers? Have you ever had to pass a difficult customer on to a superior? If so, what was the outcome?
  10. What hardware or software certifications have you completed (A+, MTA, MCSA, MCSE, CCNA, CCNP, etc)?
  11. What type of issues arose that you needed to research in your last position? How did you conduct your research?
  12. Were you ever required to work outside of regular business hours? Please elaborate.
  13. Describe a technical issue that was not an easy fix. What did you do to understand and resolve the issue?
Help Desk Tier 1
  1. What customer issues were addressed at a Tier 1 level?
  2. How was information recorded or tracked? What type of reporting systems have you used?
  3. When troubleshooting, what types of procedures were you expected to use (screenshots, step by step documentation, etc.)?
  4. How did you provide client support (phone, email, remote assistance, in person, or other)?
  5. How have you handled a language barrier in trying to solve a problem over the phone?
  6. Has a user ever complained about how you handled their issue, and if so, what was your response and how was it dealt with?
  7. Have you configured hardware? If so, please explain.
  8. What commercial (COTS) desktop or web applications have you supported?
  9. Have you supported proprietary desktop and / or web applications? If so, what type? What resources were available to help you troubleshoot them?
  10. What symptoms did you analyze most frequently? What was the most common issue that you could resolve?
  11. What type of issues did you encounter that were more complex and needed to be escalated?
  12. What types of products have you supported (software, hardware, mobile phones, phones, printers, modems, webcams, etc.)?
  13. Were you responsible for:
    • Username and password issues
    • Installing, uninstalling or reinstalling software
    • Network and connectivity issues
    • Printer or scanner-related issues
    • File server shares or permissions
    • User creation or decommissioning
    • Hardware support
    • Email configuration and support
    • Office productivity software support
    • Desktop imaging
    • Mobile device support
    • Phone and headset-related issues
    • Antivirus / firewall software configuration
CASE SCENARIO: You have received a call from a user stating that he types in a password at the Windows Login prompt and keeps getting an error message stating that "The Password is Incorrect". Walk me through your troubleshooting process.
Help Desk Tier 2
  1. What experience was needed for you to become a Level 2 Help Desk Technician?
  2. Have you provided onsite support to resolve issues pertaining to: software, hardware, mobile phones, phones, printers, etc.?
  3. Which vendor’s networking equipment are you most familiar with (Cisco, Juniper, HP, etc.)?
  4. If you could not resolve an issue, what steps did you take to reach a successful solution?
  5. What types of advanced troubleshooting were required most often and were most of these issues escalated from Tier 1?
  6. Did you do diagnostic testing as part of monitoring systems?
  7. Have you supported or configured servers? Do you have experience with mirroring or backup systems?
  8. How does VOIP (voice over IP) work?
  9. Were you required to run System Diagnostic Reports as part of monitoring systems?
  10. Have you worked on an exchange server, SMTP, or other email system? Which ones?
  11. Have you used a disk imaging and deployment software?
  12. Have you supported network connectivity issues (LAN, Wifi, VPN, firewalls)?
  13. Did you work with Secure File Transfer System (SFTS) or Secure File Transfer Protocol (SFTP)?
CASE SCENARIO: A new print server is installed. You attach a printer and install the drivers but when you try to print, the page comes out garbled or doesn’t print correctly. What could be the problem?
Help Desk Tier 3 : High - End Support
  1. What expertise have you acquired to achieve the expert level support role?
  2. How did you go about resolving problems? What issues did you need to research?
  3. In the event you could not find a solution, what were you expected to do?
  4. Did you have access to developers that could help with an in-depth analysis?
  5. Were you supervising Tier 1 and 2 tech support team members?
  6. Have you created (official or unofficial) documentation or procedures to increase productivity of your team or step-by-step information for assisting clients?
  7. Were you in a position to do site-specific enhancements with costs to fix an issue?
  8. Did you participate in user training sessions?
  9. Were you able to participate in projects for preventive steps or measures for previously known issues?
  10. Have you used a deployment software such as SCCM/SMS?
  11. Were you required to run System Diagnostic Reports as part of monitoring systems?
  12. Do you have experience with network configuration and maintenance (VLANs, Routing, Wifi, VPN, firewalls)? Which vendor’s networking equipment are you most familiar with? (Cisco, Juniper, HP, etc.)
  13. Are you an LRA or have supported encryption / authentication certificates? (LRA = Local Registration Authority, someone who processes/verifies requests for digital certificates)
  14. What is a VOIP gateway?
  15. Have you set up or configured servers? Do you have experience with mirroring or backup systems?
  16. Did you work with vendors or manufacturers to troubleshoot issues that could not be resolved any other way?
  17. What certifications have you completed?
CASE SCENARIO: Your network is experiencing periods of slow response and you are asked to find a solution. What troubleshooting techniques would you use? Hardware or software solutions are okay and budget is not an issue.