35 Network Security Specialist Interview Questions

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published November 21, 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

If you enjoy working for data and computers, you might be interested in the role of a network security specialist. Network security specialists are responsible for installing and maintaining the hardware and software that ensures an organization's network security. Learning more about how to answer different types of questions when interviewing for this position can improve the chances of the recruiter selecting you for the role. In this article, we discuss general, background, and in-depth questions that may arise during network security specialist interviews, and explore common questions and sample answers to help you prepare for your own interview.

10 general network security specialist interview questions

Here's a list of general network security specialist interview questions an employer may ask you:

  1. How did you hear about this job?

  2. What can you tell us about yourself?

  3. How would you describe your career so far?

  4. Where do you see your career in ten years?

  5. What do you think your main professional strength is?

  6. What do you think your main professional fault is?

  7. What's your ideal professional situation?

  8. What motivates you to constantly improve as a professional?

  9. What are some of your passions and hobbies?

  10. What do you think sets you apart from other candidates for this role?

Related: Systems Network Administrator vs. Network Administrator

10 questions about experience and background

These questions are about the candidate's general professional background and specific experience in network security-related roles:

  1. What's the biggest professional challenge that you had to overcome and how did you do it?

  2. Can you describe your experience in network security?

  3. How did you improve your tech proficiency over the past year?

  4. What do you consider to be the biggest professional achievement in your career so far?

  5. Do you have any preferences regarding working by yourself or within a team environment?

  6. Can you tell me about a time when you made a serious mistake at work and how you resolved it?

  7. What can you tell me about your previous manager?

  8. What would you say are the most and least attractive parts of working in network security, based on your experience?

  9. What would your career path be if you weren't working in network security?

  10. What do you think about our company's recruitment process so far?

Related: What Are Network Topologies? (With Importance and Types)

10 in-depth interview questions

These are some specific questions about the role, which typically requires a solid knowledge base and technical background:

  1. What are the factors that you analyze when determining a client's network security requirements?

  2. How do you monitor networks to prevent any potential backdoors that provide unauthorized remote access?

  3. Can you tell us about the concept of encryption and how it affects information security?

  4. What do you think are the best ways to protect a network against a brute-force login attack?

  5. What's the salting process and why is it important?

  6. What do you think are the most effective physical security controls to install in the workplace?

  7. Can you describe what subnets are and what their best uses are in a network security environment?

  8. What are your usual practices for backing up your clients' data and recovering corrupt data?

  9. Which do you prefer as a security measure between HTTPS or SSL and why?

  10. What are the actions you take when faced with a CSRF?

Related: 7 Online Beginner Cyber Security Courses (With Tips)

5 interview questions with sample answers

These are some questions related to a network security specialist role, plus some sample answers that you can use when trying to formulate your own answers:

1. Can you tell us about different kinds of intrusion detection systems?

The recruiter may ask this question as a way to determine what you know about intrusion detection systems. They also want to see how you can apply that knowledge when working as a network security specialist. You can give a straightforward answer by defining each type of intrusion detection system. You can also emphasize the fact that you have practical experience in using them while being prepared to give examples.

Example answer: “There are three main kinds of intrusion detection systems. Host-based intrusion detection systems analyze the activity of individual computers within a network. Network-based intrusion detection systems analyze the traffic between individual computers and their common network. Hybrid intrusion detection systems are a mix of the previous two. Throughout my career, I've used all three of these systems."

Related: What Are Cybersecurity Jobs? (With Examples of Common Roles)

2. Can you describe a situation at one of your previous jobs when you successfully implemented a solution to improve network security?

Working as a network security specialist usually requires advanced problem-solving skills. The recruiter is likely to want to assess your ability to evaluate a security issue and find an effective way to resolve it. When answering this question, you can use the STAR interview response technique, which consists of the following:

  • Situation: Describe the context in which you implemented a solution to improve network security.

  • Task: Discuss what you had to do to resolve the issue.

  • Action: Tell the recruiter the actions you took.

  • Result: Showcase the results of your actions.

Example answer: "In one of my previous network security specialist roles, one of our company's clients was facing constant cyber-attacks. My goal was to find the security vulnerability and come up with an effective way to prevent future attacks. I analyzed their network security protocols and discovered that their website server's firewall was outdated. I implemented an updated firewall program and the number of cyber-attacks was reduced to zero as a result."

Related: A Complete Guide to Network Performance Monitoring (NPM)

3. How would you implement network security practices and protocols for a client that allows employees to connect their personal devices to the organization's network?

Connecting outside devices to a network can be a major security vulnerability, as they may contain malicious software. The general purpose of this question is to test your problem-solving skills and your ability to adapt to external risks and vulnerabilities. You can answer by mentioning the extra security measures you can put in place to prevent any unwanted software from accessing the network.

Example answer:I would implement multiple systems to reduce the risk of network corruption. First of all, this means asking each user to install anti-virus software and apps that prevent any unwanted downloads on their personal devices. I would also work on the network to limit potential data breaches by dividing it into multiple self-contained sub-networks."

Related: What Is a Network Firewall? (With Key Terms and Benefits)

4. What do you consider the most important aspect of network security?

This question aims to assess the candidate's personal preferences and what they're likely to prioritize when performing their tasks. It also provides information regarding your general style and approach as a network security specialist. You can mention one or more specific aspects of the field and provide arguments for why you consider them to be important.

Example answer: “In my view, the most important part of this domain is educating individual users on being aware of potential security threats. Regardless of my ability to prevent cyber-attacks, uneducated users are very likely to provide opportunities for malicious actions. I believe that prevention education is a crucial aspect of cyber security and can significantly reduce the chances of a cyber-attack occurring."

Related: How to Become a Network Engineer (With Job Roles and Salary)

5. How do you educate colleagues and clients on the best prevention practices to avoid security issues?

Being able to instruct others, particularly non-technical individuals, on how to protect their personal devices and their hiring organization's network is a major aspect of a network security specialist's role. Besides wanting to test your specific knowledge, the recruiter may also ask this question to see how you may communicate with other parties.

Example answer: “I'd start by creating an information database that the people using a network can access to learn basic practices, like avoiding clicking on unknown links or setting strong passwords. I would also collaborate with the organization's HR department to introduce network security practices into each new employee's onboarding process. Lastly, I would make myself available for anyone with any security-related questions and requirements."

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